What is the mystery behind ancient Khanqah found in Kultobe settlement?
This year’s archaeological excavations in the ancient part of Turkistan led to an important discovery. Scientists have discovered an ancient Sufi abode - a structure called a khanqah. Specialists of Kazakh Research Institute of Culture are convinced that this is a unique architectural monument. Such objects were erected from 15th to 19th centuries. Archaeologists found not only rooms and ceremonial halls at the excavations, but also burials of servants.
“A khanqah, discovered in Kultobe is indeed one of the most interesting structures of antiquity, directly related to the Yasawi Order, as evidenced by indisputable facts: the location in the immediate vicinity of the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi (literally 300 meters away) and the orientation of those buried in the crypt with their heads to the north, towards the mausoleum. Everyone knows that the main difference between Sufism and orthodox Islam is the cult of holy graves. It predetermined the existence of numerous Central Asian and Eastern khanqahs in places where either the founder of the community or simply a highly revered member of the Sufi order is buried, and there are a lot of such sites in Central Asia,” said the project’s scientific supervisor Andrey Khazbulatov.
He also said that the construction of such structures, along with mosques and madrasahs, was considered a godly deed. Often, the initiators of the construction of khanqahs were the supreme rulers or their governors. The khanqah in Turkistan, found in the Kultobe settlement, consists of 10 rooms with heating stoves and small tandoors. In the southeastern part of the structure, there is a mausoleum with an underground crypt, where archaeologists found seven graves. All the buried were laid down in the direction to the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi. This suggests that they may belonged to the Yasawi order.
In the future, this site might become an open-air museum. At least such plans are set by the relevant ministry for the coming year. 27 hectares of Kultobe will first be thoroughly examined and then the restoration of all objects located on the territory of the settlement will be carried out.