One of the most famous archaeological sites in Kazakhstan and Central Asia is the Issyk burial mound just 50km from Almaty. The mound was discovered in 1969 during excavations on the banks of the Issyk River.
The Golden Man, often referred to in academic circles as ‘Kazakhstan’s Tutankhamun’, was discovered in Issyk in 1969. The luxurious decoration the golden warrior’s burial revealed rich heritage and culture of the Steppe civilization.
The Issyk mound is one of the greatest archaeological sites of the Sak period, and one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. The Golden Man was a youth from the circle of Saka Tigrahaud rulers. He was dressed in armour richly decorated with gold, and gold-embroidered ceremonial clothing; his headdress contains about 150 golden ornaments. The Golden Man became the personification of courage of the defenders of the land on which the ancestors of today’s Kazakhs – Saks, Huns, Usuns, Kipchak – lived. Replicas of the Golden Man are exhibited in the museums in Almaty and Astana, as well as the UN headquarters in New York.