Akyrtas – an impressive monument of the ancient palace complex of the VIII-IX centuries. Akyrtas is situated in 45 kilometres from Taraz, Zhambyl region. The monument consists of the ruins of a building, which was built of huge dark red stone blocks. The builders of this complex possessed surprising for its time engineering technologies.
Precise dating of the monument and its purpose is unknown. On this occasion there is much debate. Also still it was not succeeded to establish the builders of a construction. According to one of the versions of scientists, Akyrtas could be a Nestorian monastery with cells for the monks. Others insist that the monastery was Buddhist. Some scientists identify that Akyrtas with the medieval city Kasribas, once stood on the Great Silk Road. Nowadays among scientists are popular the version that Akyrtas was the Arabian palace, built in 714-715 years by order of the Arabian commander Ibn Muslim Kuteyby – the commander-in-chief of the united strength of Arabs in the battle of Atlakh in 751. According to this theory, the palace designated the border territories captured by the Arabs and was the residence of the commander. Also the assumption is considered that the monument was built by representatives of the developed nomadic culture.
Akyrtas is a quadrangular construction (205х185м), consisting of a massive blocks of red sandstone. Construction consists of four parts. In the centre of the construction is the main entrance with inner courtyard and with two reservoirs – hauz. The complex of Akyrtas, except the palace building, includes country estates, castle, park, quarry stone, clay pit. The first part of Akyrtas consists of undeveloped square plot and group of rooms, getting out of the courtyard. Three of them – are long corridor. The second part consists of 12 dwelling and 5 economic premises. Thirteen premises of the third part were grouped around the courtyard with a separate exit to the outside. Living rooms of the fourth part also arranged around the courtyard (25х34м). There are 18 living rooms, two ayvans and three narrow premises. Akyrtas was built of stone and clay, quarried in 400 meters from the building. The upper part of the blocks has a trough-shaped recession, the lower part –oval lugs. When overlay one block to another lug and recession come together, giving structural strength. The walls of Akyrtas have a thickness of from 3,5 to 5 meters. Basement height of the building is 4 m. It only confirms the assumption of grandiosity of the building complex. The complex is supplied with water from springs, located in 3-4 kilometers from it, thanks to a successful plumbing system design.
For the first time Akyrtas was investigated by M.S.Znamenskiy, who worked in the military expedition structure of M.G.Chernyaev in 1864, but the first evidence about him was left by Taoist monk Chan Chun in 1222. P.I.Lerkh made some measurements of separate blocks and gave a general description of the monument, comparing it with the evidences of Toaist monk. Serious scientific research was carried out by geologist D.L.Ivanov. He not only described the plan of construction and quarries but also gave the characteristics of wall blocks and also gave an assessment of the historical significance of Akyrtas. Monument was studied by scholars such as V.V.Bartold and a member of the archaeology fans club of Turkestan V.A.Kallaur.
Assumptions about the purpose of the monument on the basis of his researches were provided by the NAN academician K.M.Baypakov. Large-scale archaeological works were carried out in 1996 by leading Kazakhstani scientists together with French scientists. The discovery of the year, namely – discovered here a mosque, allowed to reject versions about Akyrtas as the brahmanical temple or a Nestorian monastery. The same circumstance convinced scientists that the building was built not earlier than the middle of the eighth century. In 1998-1999, next to the palace complex was found a small roadside caravanserai (the eighth century). To the south-west of the palace at a distance of 1 km were located in 50 m from each other the fortress with four towers at the corners and the castle of the ruler (the eighth-tenth centuries).
Currently, archaeological excavations are carried out in the territory of the complex. Further, within the State program “Cultural heritage" is planned to create a museum complex in the open air.