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© G Kipling / Shutterstock

The Ancient Kayalyk

This site is often an overlooked part of the medieval Kazakh culture.

The medieval city of Kayalyk used to be a center for merchants in the 11th century, now only ruins remain on the ancient site. In the past, imposing walls surrounded the city in a quadrangular shape, each corner indicating the cardinal points. Archaeologists are still conducting research and excavation on this site. It was only in the 2000s that they managed to identify some of the ruins present on the settlement. Among those ruins, an ancient hammam has been identified and it was of great interest to archeologists.

Composed of seven different rooms, the hammam included several bathrooms with their own functions, some of these were dedicated to warm waters, others for cold waters. Archeologists 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.

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 hammams were in medieval Kazakhstan.

© pamir / Shutterstock
© pamir / Shutterstock