ONE DAY TOUR TO WILD CAMELS FARM (pastured in the steppe) + Zharkent mosque.
Camel riding and tasting shubat (camel milk)
A century ago the camel was a usual landscape element both in villages and cities, and was pictured in some local emblems as the main detail, and also was a character in many legends and fairy-tales, and the participant in ceremonies and events. For a nomad his good camel was a source of pride, like a fashionable car for people nowadays.
We may say with good reason that the camel was beside the human from the cradle to the grave. Pregnant Kazakh women never ate camel’s flesh, afraid to bear their foetus as long as she-camel does. And nomads believed that camel’s meat was… the holiest out of all kinds of meat.
One more typical feature of the Steppe was camels-catafalques. Big funeral caravans were often seen on the roads and paths during the pre-revolutionary period. The remnants of devotional (and wealthy) nomads were their loads carried from all the corners of the Steppe to Turkestan.
It is only the camel that really can, without tiring, go forward humping goods 2-3 centners (100-150kg) in weight, not drinking water or eating food for weeks and covering 40-50 kilometres every day. This unique animal eats almost everything. In terms of pantophagy it can be compared perhaps only to the rat.
The end of the camel era came with the arrival in the Steppe of the “iron horse”. When cars emerged, camels became an element of a fairy-tale antiquity.
Somehow, in the interior of the country, the people remembered that the camel is a proven means of transport, a reliable source of nourishment (healing shubat – camel milk!), and a verified provider of clothes. The “ships”, caught in the deserts and steppes, returned to their home harbours, and again, like thousands and thousands of years before, they are doing their usual work – helping people survive.
Architectural and Art Museum, located in the center of Zharkent, Almaty region. The mosque is an architectural monument of the XIX century. The world’s ONLY wooden mosque Zharkent was built without nails or cement.
In 1886, at one of the Muslim community meetings, it was decided to collect money for the construction of mosque and the well-known merchant Ualibay-Akhun was the main sponsor and organizer.
But none of the local masters did not dare to execute the order because of the basic requirement — not to use nails. An architectural monument was built by a Chinese architect Hawn Piquet in 1895.
He creatively used elements of Chinese architecture by giving some features of Buddhist temple to the mosque.
The main hall can accommodate about thousand worshipers, largely makes a large number of wood carvings and bright polychrome. Ornaments have floral motifs, but there are also images of birds, fishes, real and fantastic animals.
The total area of the mosque is 28 × 54 m, height-14.5 m, height of the minaret — 19 m. The minaret was surrounded by 52 columns. Entablature was decorated with wooden carvings. Columns were made of Tien-Shan spruces. Nails did not used during construction of columns and other wooden parts. The walls of the mosque were made of boards, and the roof was made of tin.
History of Zharkent mosque survived a lot over 116 years, but it was preserved. There was a powerful earthquake in 1910. Significant damage occurred in the portal of the mosque.
There was hurricane wind in Zharkent, 1965. However, well-established construction was preserved from that natural disaster.
The first serious study of the mosque was in 1969, and conducted engineering research and studying the features of construction and decoration. During restoration works in 1975-1978, it was decided to create unusual museum — «Zharkent mosque» architectural and art complex.
Annually, thousands of tourists visit «Zharkent mosque» architectural and art complex, and they admire it.
- 230$ transport
- 15$ per hour is camel riding
- 1,5$ per person entrance to the mosque
- abt. 10$ (+/-) lunch in a cafe (or you may take your lunchboxes with you)
08:00 picking you up and driving to Basshi village abt. 4 hours
12:30 - 13:30 lunch in a guesthouse
14:00 driving to camels
14:30 - 17:00 excursion to camels
17:00 back to Almaty