Petroglyphs within the Archaeological Landscape of Tamgaly is the best researched and documented site of rock art in Central Asia.

It provides insight into the culture of the traditional steppes civilisations of Central Asia. The site also includes ancient settlements, bural sites and sacred sites.

Altogether over 5,000 images have been recorded in 48 different complexes. Overall the petroglyphs (rock carvings) appear to cover a period from the second half of the second millennium BC right through to the beginning of the 20th century.


Community Reviews

Thomas Buechler - September 2015

Tamgaly is the most striking site of rock arts in Central Asia; it is located about 125 km northwest of Almaty, and can be reached only by private transportation. There is no public bus going there, or even going to the villages nearby. I organized it with Stantours, the driver/tourguide (ask for Marat) was very knowledgeable, and is doing this trip on a weekly basis during the tourist season in summer.It is probably a good idea to travel with other people to reduce costs. To rent a car is another option, but you wont have a guide to explain the site. The total number of rock drawings is about 5,000, mainly scenes of goats, horses, warriors, animal sacrifices, and images representing the worshipped sun and their gods; there is even an erotic scene, most probably the first pornographic rock art worldwide, as most of the petroglyphs were made in the Bronze age about 3000 years ago. There is also a scene of dancing men with a woman giving birth. Some stones do have graffitis, unfortunately, or rocks were destroyed by human beings, and carried away. Others show signs of cracks, caused maybe by extreme differences in temperature, frost weathering, or by earthquakes that often occur in this region. The rock engravings are signposted in 5 groups, and can be easily visited in 2 hours. A few steps away, there is also a burial ground of the Turkic period which shows both mass burial, probably of a family with children, and single chamber. Tamgaly was discovered by Anna Maksimova in 1957, and together with some other great archeologists, they researched the rock engravings in the years to come. The site is now guarded, some signboards have been put up with explanations, and it is possible to be accompanied by one of the guards for a few Euros tip.

Brian Searwar - November 2008

I visited the site at Tamgaly in October, 2005. There is very little security there and one spot looked as if someone had tried to cut one of the petroglyphs out of the rock-face. There was one soldier on guard at the site and that day we saw nobody else as we travelled to the site and returned to Almaty. It is fairly isolated. There was no description at the site except for a few old Russian signs. Things may have changed since then and I would like to know if it's a little more visitor-friendly. There was no entry fee and even my driver had trouble finding the place....he actually got lost a couple times along the way. The rock art is interesting but without a guidebook or a knowledgeable interpreter, it was hard to figure out what it all meant.

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Site Info

Full name: Petroglyphs within the Archaeological Landscape of Tamgaly

Site History


The site has 1 locations.

  • Tamgaly


The site has 10 connections.




Human Activity

  • Pastoralism testimonies to the husbandry, social organization and rituals of pastoral peoples (AB ev)

World Heritage Process