Culture, Art and Architecture
Kogam, new mosques, Kazakhs, embroidered clothes, government headquarters
The nomadic way of life did not lend itself to the construction of architectural monuments, and thus Central Asia’s ancient cultural centers, full of architectural grandeur, were located south of Kazakh lands. Southern Kazakhstan, however, is home to a number of important Islamic buildings, including the Arystanbab Mosque (built in the 12th century), located near the ancient city of Otrar and the villages of Talapty and Kogam; the Khoja Akhmed Yasavi Mausoleum (14th century), in the city of Turkistan; and the Aishi-Bibi Mausoleum (10th century), in the city of Taraz. Many new mosques have been built since independence. In the new capital, Astana, buildings were constructed or renovated specifically for the government’s move there in 1997; these include a modern complex in the city’s main square that serves as the government headquarters. The cities of Kazakhstan also contain examples of Russian architecture, such as the Zenkov Cathedral (built in 1904) in Almaty. The architecture of the Soviet period mostly took the form of drab, functional buildings.
Traditional Kazakh folk arts continue to be produced as an expression of cultural identity. Kazakhs are known for their handmade textiles, especially colorful felt and wool carpets. The carpets were traditionally used to decorate the floors and walls of yurts, and they were considered a sign of wealth. Kazakhs also make embroidered clothes and silver jewelry.
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