Botay - Burabay the Open-Air Museum


Botay - Burabay the open-air museum occupies a space of 600 sq. m. It is a settlement of the Botay era. The settlement consists of 7 tents connected by underground passages. The location of the tents resembles the form of a tumar (amulet), designed to become a symbol of Burabay. Each tent is unique in its own way and characterizes the Eneolithic epoch with its features and laws.

The museum belongs to the unique complex of the world famous Botay culture, the total area of ​​which is 25,000 square meters. Botay culture is the matrix of the steppe civilization, which gave rise to equestrian transport era (IV millennium before Christ). It determined the vectors of modern development for the millennia ahead.

Representatives of the Botay culture preferred to live in tribal communities, each of which consisted of 40-50 people and constituted a single economic unit.

The basis for the Botay houses were meter-deep tents with domes built on top. Outwardly, they resemble a yurt. There were numerous niches for household and religious needs within the walls.

According to the structure, the tents of the Botay culture were divided into residential and economic.

The entrance tent served as a “hall” in which the Botays left armaments, household equipment.

In the workshop, the Botays processed wood, stone, and made ceramic dishes. Weaving was developed in the settlement. The raw materials were flax and hemp. Active economic and production activities stimulated primitive exchange and trade. The exchange was local and regional.

In the central part of the building was a fireplace, an indispensable attribute of the human housing. Above it is a smoke hole. The community was seated around the fireplace and solved important issues relating to hunting, farming, wars, defensive actions, etc.

In the center of the sleeping tent there was a fireplace that warmed the room at night. Botays slept on mats, hides, or made low plank beds along the wall opposite to the exit.

In the tent of the leader was the throne. The decorations reflect the earliest processes of domestication of the horse. Leaders lived separately from the whole society, thereby demonstrating their status. Thus, it can be argued that the elements of the ruling aristocracy originated 6 thousand years ago.

The uniqueness and significance of the Botay culture lies in the fact that horse was domesticated here for the first time in the world. Horse-koumiss tent for milking mares was located in a small distance from the main tents. The laboratory analysis of the ceramic vessels extracted from the earth indicates that already in that era people were able to make koumiss from mare’s milk.

In the decoration of the shaman’s tent there is a spiritual and sacred flavor. In the middle of the room are stairs looking to the sky. It was believed that the heavenly world is a tent, the Milky Way is a seam, and the stars are holes through which otherworldly light penetrates the Universe.

Botay-Burabay Museum was opened for the 20th anniversary of Astana near the picturesque Kokshetay mountains. For 3 months more than three thousand people visited the venue.