On Sunday, 30 August I went back to look for the rock carvings, the petroglyphs as they are called here, at Eshkiolmes where I had been two weeks ago coming back empty handed. Eshkiolmes about 280km north east of Almaty near the city of Taldykorgan. This time I went with an expert guide, Misha, from the archeology department in Almaty. When we eventually got the Eshkiolmes I realized that two
weeks back I had only narrowly missed the carvings. I had simply not climbed high enough.
This time I did not have to prepare the route on GPS as I could rely on the expert knowledge of Misha who’s also a
cartography expert. So off we went in good hands. You can find a copy of the actual route on Wikiloc
From this high ground one has a beautiful panorama view of the valley and Taldy-kurgan. Closer by in the fields below one could notice several small humps in the fields which are reckoned to be old burial places. I would never have noticed it or paid attention to it. But once explained by Misha it became obvious and easy to recognize many more.
From there we drove to Eshkiolmes, in all about 50km away. As we had been there just two weeks ago we didn’t need directions but we were in need of knowing where to look for the carvings. And this time we found them. Yet we had to climb high up. but it was worth it. The quality and quantity of carvings was very impressive. Again lost of deer and goats. but this time also a peculiar drawing of dancers with spears and animals around.
The views from high up were breathtaking. No surprise that these graffiti artists of old like to be high up there and got inspired to leave art behind based on what they observed and what they did in their lives.
Here too we stumbled onto burial places. As the terrain was different so was the make-up of the graves. The graves here were basically heaps of rock. Rocks which are abundantly available as they keep crumbling down from the hills. These otherwise unmarked graves have lied here undisturbed for many hundreds of years. Again, once aware of what to look for they become easily recognizable.
After checking our first grouping of petroglyphs we moved a few kilometers up along the Koksu river and the high hills with black faced rock to look for another grouping of carvings. The climb here was much steeper than in the first locations and more tricky as we had to climb up and down on lose rocks with the danger of creating an avalanche of rocks in the worst case or even simply twisting your ankle or tumbling down the steep side of the hills. But the climb up was worth it again for the richness in carvings spread over a wide area.
Last Updated: 31-08-2009
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