In ancient times the territory of the modern Republic of Altai was inhabited by Altaian Scythian and Pazyryk tribes, who created in their time a well-known Scythian animal style. Some elements of the Scythian style décor may still be noted on the traditional clothes of the native Altaian in the present time. In general terms, the Altai represents the cradle of modern Turkic nations – a sacred Fatherland. This land is the place of origin of the first Old Turkic state formations – the kaganats, and of the first Turkic writing system – the Orhon-Yenussei Runic alphabet. All this became the basic of the phenomenon, which is nowadays called the “Altaian language group”, including the Turkic, Mongolian, Tungus, and Japan-Ryukyu varieties of languages. In Gorno-Altaisk, the capital of the Altai Republic, there is a whole exhibition on the second floor of the National Art Museum, containing the stone sculptures found in that region. On the sculptures, carved in black stone, one can clearly see the bowls, which the guards hold in their right arms, and the weapons, hanging on their hip belts. In the opinion of the scientists, these sculptures were set up in honour of eminent batyrs(hero) and princes. It is known, that in the Old Turkic language batyrs were called Er – hero, and military statesmen were called as Bek – Master.
Kosh-Agach is the district center of Kosh-Agach District of the Republic of Altai. It was founded in 1801. The general population is formed of Kazakhs, Altaians and Russians. However, on arrival at Kosh-Agach, you don’t even realise that you are in another country. At the entrance to the village the gates are decorated with an inscription in Kazakh: “Kosh keldynyz!” meaning “Welcome!” And in the village there are many Kazakh names on the shop-signs, for example “Saule”, “Aisaule”, “Astana”. Kosh-Agach is one of the largest Kazakh settlements in the Russian Federation. The population of Kosh-Agach is ten thousand. In 1993, an embalmed Pazyryk princess, who lived two and a half thousand years ago, was found on the territory of this district in the kurgan Ukok. Afterwards, this district became renowned in the whole world.
The Altai Mountains are known as the gold cradle of Turkic nations, and although this place is the centre of the borders of four states – Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China, the Kazakhs are the key population of all four areas of these mountains. These states have four different political systems – Kazakhstan is a Presidential Republic, Mongolia is a Parliamentary Republic, Russia is a Federation Republic, and China has a one-party system. It is a marvel that the Kazakhs, existing under the conditions of four different state structures, have not lost their native language and their native culture. When I was in China, Mongolia and in the Russian Altai, I understood one important thing, that the reasons for stability and the inviolability of the national essence through the ages are our traditions and social customs.