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Mangistau is a land of ancient civilization, an archaeological park, an open air museum with 11 thousand historical monuments under the state protection, and a land of thousands rock drawings. The land of the unique religious buildings and mosques such as Becket - Ata, Shakpak - Ata, Shopan - Ata and Massat - Ata where comes a lot of pilgrims from Kazakhstan as well as from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, the Caucasus, Iran and Turkey.
Thousands of years ago the Great Silk Road had passed through the territory of Mangistau, from Khorezm and Khiva to Europe and the Middle East. On the Ustyurt plateau along this Road there were set up fortresses, caravanserais and settlements of artisans, farmers and hunters . The archaeological findings give the evidence of high living standards in these fortresses and settlements. The Migration Period and related numberless wars had interrupted the Silk Road through the Ustyurt and in the following centuries the devastating Mongol invasion had completely wiped out it from the face of the earth. For centuries Mangistau had remained inhabited and had not played an important role in the Eurasian relations. The dry winds and baking sun had made the life of nomads a constant struggle for survival.
Today they call Mangistau as a peninsula of treasures, a territory of historical monuments and a land of thousands of roads. These roads lead to the sea city, Aktau, which is the center of Mangistau Oblast of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The leading geologist who was the first president of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR, academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR, Satpayev K.I. after seeing the peninsula from the airplane told that it remembered a woman's profile covered with a "veil" of desert, and called it the "Sleeping Beauty".
It were the geologists who awaked the peninsula. In the beginning of the 1950s they found in the depths of Mangistau the richest deposits of uranium, rare elements, oil and gas. There were built new towns and cities: seaside Aktau, Zhanaozen rising above the steppe, and villages of oil and gas workers as Zhetybai, Kalamkas and Karazhanbas.
In Mangistau there are 5 museums, the archaeological and paleontological findings of which prove that the region once was a site of the ancient Eurasian civilizations. Local people carefully preserve the evidence of those early years. In Mangyshlak it goes together the past and the present.
Melodies, songs and kuis of Mangystau always differed by its originality and color. The seven folk singers-composers, the great akyn-zhyraus (bards) and many other national geniuses have left after themselves a rich heritage. These cultural traditions are continued in the work of our talented contemporaries.
In the 19th century the architectural art of Mangistau reached its peak. The original works of folk architects absorbed the experience of many years worked out by generations of artists. In this particular period there were built the richest mausoleums. Their graceful forms, splendor of rare ornaments, colorfully painted interior walls are admirable for the most demanding audience. In 1980 it was founded the Mangistau State Historical and Cultural Park. There are more than 12 thousand historical and cultural monuments in the oblast. 139 objects were taken under the state protection, 20 of which are the national heritage. More that 12000 monuments were scientifically studied and processed. They represent all the periods of culture and religion development of the Caspian nations.
One of the most revered and visited monuments of Mangistau is the rock mosque Becket-Ata in Oglandy (Southern Ustyurt). The mosque is located 100 km from Shopan-Ata. In the burial vault of the mosque is buried Becket-Ata. Becket Myrzagululy was a philosopher and an enlightener of the Kazakh people. In his youth he became famous as a brave and skillful warrior and a commander. In his mid-life while dreaming of peace and harmony for his homeland he turned to religion and became a follower of the Sufi Islam. In the areas of seasonal nomadic migrations he founded its own mosque-madrassas where he teached people of righteous living, organized education of children. During his life he built several underground rock mosques. They are located in the lower reaches of the river Emba, the Aral Sea coast, near the old well Beyneu and in the countryside Oglandy.