Ancient ruins of Mangystau

This is an ancient necropolis dated the X-XVI centuries. It is located between the villages of Shetpe and Shaiyr. A historical landmark that deserves special attention from tourists. If you are planning a trip to Fort Shevchenko or a tour to the Sultan-epe underground mosque, we recommend you to plan a visit and attend the monument of the history of the Mangistau people.

The name of the monument could be translated as "Holy City" of the dead. 130 monuments of the tenth-fifteenth centuries are counted on this site. A distinctive feature of the monuments is the small form of the gravestone with a relief.

The features of the masonry and decor make it possible to talk about the use of construction technologies and architectural techniques by the builders of the Kenty-Baba mausoleum, known and used in medieval Khorezm. An open-air mosque is located directly opposite the mausoleum.

According to legend, there used to be a city on the site of the holy place, and most likely it was its inhabitants who were buried at this place. There is also a theory that after a major battle and the death of a large number of men, they were buried here.

The necropolis of Kenty-Baba consists of three main mausoleums: two of them stand side by side, the third is practically destroyed. If you go up the stairs on the right, along a small passage, you can go upstairs, retire and pray.

The history of the holy place is inextricably linked with the divine services and religious holidays that were held here. To say goodbye to the souls of their relatives, people performed special rituals to say goodbye to the souls of nomads.

From ancient times to the present day, nomads, and now tourists and residents of the region, always stop at Kety-baba to rest, pray and show respect to the spirits of their ancestors.

The walls in the necropolis are very interesting to study not only for fans of the history of the Great Steppe, but also for all tourists visiting the region: historical inscriptions and images of animals, a Sufi open palm protecting from evil forces, and plant motifs.

Central mausoleum

The most ancient architectural element of the necropolis is the central mausoleum, constructed on the site of the saint's burial. Scientists were led to this idea, a pole installed inside, which is specially lined with stone and argali horns.

An interesting fact is that the mausoleum is decorated with pyramids of various sizes, and the mausoleum itself resembles an unfinished pyramid along the arch.

According to legend, the saint Kenty-baba, buried at this place, was the elder brother of Sultan-epe, a follower of Akhmet Yassaui.

According to historians, the triangular pyramid shape of the ornaments, this cultural monument intersects and echoes the cultural heritage of the Aztecs and the culture of Ancient Egypt.

In 2004, restoration work was carried out to preserve the historical appearance of the necropolis, strengthen structures and reduce the influence of factors destroying the monument.

On January 5, 2018, the monument was added to the State List of Historical and Cultural Monuments of Local Significance and entered the list of sacred objects under the project of regional significance "Sacred Geography of Kazakhstan" within the framework of the program "Look into the Future: Modernization of Public Consciousness".

How to get there

The most convenient way to get to the monument is by car or as part of a group of tourists by bus. In general, the journey will take about 4.5 - 5 hours.

Useful travel tips

• We recommend hiring a guide or travel agency for your first trip.

• If you are planning a long walk, we advise you to stock up on water and bring a hat.

• You will need sunglasses both for a trip to the Kenty Baba necropolis and if you decide to continue your journey to the rest of the monuments of the Mangystau steppe.

• It is recommended to visit the mosque in closed clothing and avoid short shorts and skirts, T-shirts and off-the-shoulder dresses.

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