Eight Kazakh historical and cultural monuments obtained a status of World Heritage Sites at once by the results of the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee, held from 15 to 25 of June, 2014 in Doha (Qatar).
The status of the cultural or natural UNESCO World Heritage Site emphasizes its outstanding value to humanity. This status also requires "the highest standards for their conservation, management and protection in favour of our descendants."
Monuments of Almaty region
Kayalyk Ancient Settlement (Antonovka): the medieval Kaylak, the biggest settlement of Ili valley, the capital of Karluk dzhabgu. It is located at the east outskirts of Koylyk (Antonovka) settlement, banks of Ashi-Bulak river, 190 km to the north-east from Taldykorgan city. The settlement dates to the VIII – end of XIII centuries.
Talgar Ancient Settlement (VIII-XIV centures): situated in the south outskirts of Talgar city, on the right bank of Talgar river, at the entrance of the gorge. Unique settlement -centre of crafts and trade. Talgar masters mastered the art of producing Damascus steel, the secret of making which is lost today. The settlement looks like a quadrangular area, surrounded by a wall with towers at the corners and along the perimeter.
Ancient settlement of Karamergen is situated in the South Pribalkhashie, 200 km to the north-east of Bakanas settlement, 3 km to north of falling of Ortasu dry bed into Shet-Bakanas. Karamergen is one of the main centers that controlled the trade routes leading through the narrow isthmus of Balkhash to Central Kazakhstan. The settlement dates back to IX-XIII centuries. Karamergen is located at a flat surface, bordered by a high sand ridge from one side, and by an ancient river bed from the other side. The height of its walls reaches three metres. Four round towers of 4.5 m height located at the corners.
Monuments of Zhambyl region
Aktobe Stepninskoye Settlement is situated at both sides of Aksu river, not far from its falling into Chu river, in the steppe zone of Zhetysu (Semirechye). The settlement dates back to the beginning of VI-XIII centuries. It is one of the largest medieval settlements of Southern Kazakhstan. The Citadel with palace complex, the base of the Minaret, country manors were excavated in the settlement. Viticulture and wine making were developed in the settlement.
Kulan Ancient Settlement (VI-XIII centuries) is a complex of monuments of different age, located in and around the village. The central ruins of the ancient settlement are in 1.5 kilometres north-east of the village. A citadel, shahristan, and unfortified rabad tracks on the east side can be traced in the topography of the settlement. The change of the ruling dynasties of the Western Turks and Turgish happened in this settlement.
Kostobe Ancient Settlement, VI-XII centuries. It is located to the east of Sarykemer settlement, on the right bank of Talas river. The central ruins of Kostobe is a rectangular elevated site (420 × 450 metres), surrounded by a perimeter of double wall with towers, a moat between the walls and the moat outside the wall. The archaeologists studied the unique sanctuary, which walls were decorated with rich carved terracotta.
Ornek Ancient Settlement (VIII-XII centuries) is situated 6 km south of Ornek settlement, at the banks of Altynsu and Shybyndy rivers, in the Sulutor gorge. The central part of the settlement is a quadrangular platform, oriented towards the cardinal points. 31 towers are located in the corners and around the perimeter of the walls. A medieval mosque was excavated by the archaeologists in the central part of Ornek. A vast area of the settlement preserved the evidence of rapidly developing agriculture.
Archeological Complex Akyrtas is situated at the foot of Kyrgyz Ala Tau. Architectural-archaeological complex of Akyrtas includes monuments from the V century BC to the XVI-XVIII centuries. The complex size is approximately 3 km from east to west and about 5 km from north to south. The archaeological complex Akyrtas includes a huge palace, designed by the Arab architects in the VIII century, the caravan-serais, burial places, fortified castle, pits and watch tower.
Previously, two cultural objects, mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi (2003), the petroglyphs within the archaeological landscape of Tamgaly (2004), and one natural object -Saryarka, steppes and lakes of Northern Kazakhstan (2008), were included into the UNESCO World Heritage list for Kazakhstan. It is planned to include another 18 cultural monuments to the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Along with this, two objects - the Katon-Karagay State National Natural Park and Akzhayik Biosphere Reserve, were approved as a Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO at the International Coordinating Council of the UNESCO Man and Biosphere.
Currently, there are 992 objects from 160 member states of the Convention for the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage in the list of UNESCO World Heritage.
The World Heritage Committee, responsible for the implementation of the Convention, comprises of representatives of 21 countries, elected by the Member States of the Convention for a term of up to six years. Since 2013, the only Republic of Kazakhstan is represented here among the Central Asia countries in the World Heritage Committee.