Your browser is out of date.
This site may not function properly in your current browser. Update Now
© G Kipling / Shutterstock

Ancient Kayalyk

These ruins of a medieval hammam are a fascinating part of Kazakhstan's cultural heritage.

The medieval city of Kayalyk was an important centre for merchants in the 11th century. At the time, imposing walls surrounded the city in a quadrangular shape, each corner indicating the cardinal points. Now, most of the site is in ruins and archaeologists are still conducting research and excavation. It was only in the 2000s that they managed to identify some of the specific remains of the settlement. Among these ruins, an ancient hammam has been identified and it is of particular significance.

Composed of seven different rooms, the hammam included several bathrooms with their own functions - some dedicated to warm waters, others for cold waters. Archaeologists have identified the presence of tepidarium which seemed to have been used for body care. The hammam allowed inhabitants of the ancient Kayalyk to bathe, relax, get a massage, and pray in the same building.

© pamir / Shutterstock
© pamir / Shutterstock

When visiting the ancient settlement of Kayalyk, it is remarkable to see the structure of the hammam and all its bathrooms amongst the other ruins. The importance of the medieval hammam has been overlooked in Kazakh history, but more recent studies and excavations have started to highlight the influence bathhouses had on medieval Kazakh culture. Visiting the ruins of Kayalyk hammam gives you a taste of how important they were during this era.