Cultural heritage of Central Asian Turks in written sources of the XIX century

This article analyzes the sources related to the cultural heritage of Central Asian Turks mainly from the 19th century. The main sources were collected and studied at the National Library of Uzbekistan, which is the most complete collection of materials on the cultural and historical heritage of Central Asian Turks. The most interesting information on the cultural heritage of Kazakhstan is available in the collection of documents and photographs like V.I. Mezhova's «Collection of Turkestan», A.L. Kuhn's «Album Turkestan» Archive Office of the Turkestan Governor-General; as well as a collection of «Turkestan region» of A.G. Serebrennikov. The collection of Turkestan is the written source of the cultural heritage of Central Asian Turks in the 19th century. Leafing through the pages of the collection the volume after volume, we can restore the entire life of the region in detail on the state of socio-economic development, the study of the productive forces, the rich resources to the study of the historical past, life, traditions, customs and character of the people who inhabited the region, the theatre of military events, conquests and liberation wars, as well as get acquainted with the research works.


The sixth priority Strategy of Kazakhstan in the 50 most competitive countries in the address to the nation, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.A. Nazarbayev outlined «We maintain and develop the centuries-old traditions, language and culture of the Kazakh people, while providing international and intercul- tural solidarity and progress of a single nation of Kazakhstan». To realize these goals, the results of which are in the public domain, foreign archives and scientific organizations were received thousands of archival documents concerning the history and culture of the country. Comprehensive study, the introduction in the educational process of archival documents of scientific and historical value, historical and cultural heritage — an important issue on the agenda. From this point of view in contemporary reinterpretation of the historical realities and values of these fundamental scientific works of the nineteenth century, As well as ensuring universal accessibility of information affects the goals set by the state program «Cultural heritage», «The people in the flow of history».

Conducted a preliminary review of our previous research shows that the main written sources of the XIX centuries, are the cultural heritage Central Asian Turks, which are given a unique full-text materials are stored in libraries and archives of the former Soviet Union, and abroad.

These collections are separated from each other by time and excellent on the tasks given an opportunity to examine various aspects of the cultural heritage in written sources in Central Asia. Comparison of these ensemble allows to reconstruct the specific situation of the Turkestan Region and traced through the history of the creation of the individual elements of the cultural heritage in the written sources of the period of Kazakhstan and the Central Asian republics as a whole.

Research and study of material relating to the cultural heritage of Kazakhstan in the written sources of the XIX century and stored in the libraries and archives of the former Soviet Union, are expected to be concidered based on the following three types of archives. This is — a collection of published materials, original documents and photos — «Turkestan Collection» by V.I. Mezhov and «Turkestan Album» by A.L. Kun; Archives Office of the Turkestan Governor-General; «Collection of Turkestan» by A.G. Serebrennikov.

Methodology and research methods

The main part of using methods based on the following methods and forms of scientific investigation: historiography, source, archive.

In the first case we are dealing with a vast project of cataloging the entire ensemble of rational knowledge about the region, created by representatives of Western and Russian «worlds». In the second — with the construction of representational-glossy export image edge efforts Russian Turkestan administration. In the third — with almost mono documental logical reflection of the military and the national government. Finally, in the last — with the historical reconstruction of the first stages conquest Central Asia. Compare them with each other, most specifically allows to reconstructing the specific situation in Turkestan and traced through the history of their creation separate elements of the system of that period.


A special place takes materials that are contained in the «Turkestan collection of scientific papers», in the system of contemporary historical, cultural and cognitive process. As you know, it is kept at the State Library of the Republic of Uzbekistan named after Navoi in Tashkent. «Turkestan collection of scientific papers» dates back from 1868, when with the request of the Governor-General of Turkestan K.P. von Kaufmann researcher and bibliographer V.I. Mezhov began to collect materials related to the history of Turkestan, which were published in the periodical press in the XIX century. Now, taking into account the volumes recorded in the «Systematic Index» which created by V.I. Mezhov and further O.V. Maslova in 1940, the total amount of materials in «Turkestan collection of scientific papers» is 594.

«Turkestan collection of scientific papers is a collection of essays and articles relating to Central Asia in general and in particular the Turkestan region» — a collection of a variety printed materials (books, magazine and newspaper articles, clippings from newspapers and magazines) on various topics relating to Central Asian possessions of the Russian Empire. Making the collection was started on the proposal of K.P. Kaufman, Governor-General of Turkestan, in order to inform the representatives of the Russian administration and the intellectual community on the situation in various areas of life recently attached edge. The emergence of «Turkestan collection of scientific papers» marks an important stage in a comprehensive study of Central Asia the period of its annexation to the Russian Empire.

The main part of the «Turkestan collection of scientific papers» (Volume from 1 to 416) were prepared in St. Petersburg under the guidance of well-known Russian bibliographer Vladimir Mezhov from 1867 to 1887. Then the preparation of the new volumes of the collection were resumed only in 1907, in Tashkent. By 1910, under the guidance of bibliographer N.V. Dmitrov was issued 127 volumes (from 417 to 543), and in the 1911–1916 under the guidance of orientalist Alexander Semenov — more 48 (from 544 to 591). The last three volumes of «Turkestan collection of scientific papers» (from 592 to 594) were made under the guidance of bibliographer E.K. Betger in 1939. In addition, in different times was made several lists and indexes to content collection.

The history of the collection is linked with the history of the organization of the Public Library of Turkestan, which later became the National Library of Uzbekistan named after Alisher Navoi. Because Turkestan area was less known, but extremely interesting for many areas and ninety-days journey from the cultural center of Russia — St. Petersburg in 1867 and the need of systematic studies of this region for the most effective using of all opportunities, to find raw materials, which had been so interested Russian industry — all this put forward the task of collecting material relating to Turkestan and neighboring countries with them.

Literature of this region became quickly updated with new materials of scientists and researchers, and with the number of translated monographs. There were published works of N.M. Przhevalsky, I.V. Mushketov notes by P.P. Semenov and N.A. Severtsova — the researchers of the Tien Shan, the work of the N.A. Mayeva about Turkestan, etc. At the same time, there were a lot of articles in periodical editions, for the first time touching political and economic issues, history, ethnography and culture of Central Asia.

Every interested person who need to know about Turkestan, had to turn over a lot of newspapers, magazines and books. Searching materials and literature were hard in St. Petersburg than in Turkestan [1; 18].

In this regard, the Governor-General K.P. Kaufman addressed to the Minister of Education D.A. Tolstoy, to vice-president of the Imperial Academy of Sciences V.Y. Bunyakovsky, to director of the Imperial Public library I.D. Delyanov, to the President of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society P. Litke and the Chief of Staff F.L. Heydens in 16 August 1867, asking for donations of doublets scientific books for the newly organized Turkestan stackroom. The Department of Education has donated some Archaeological Commission publications (Collection of Russian Chronicles, historical acts, etc., in 25 volumes) to Tashkent. Imperial Novorossiysk University gave Tashkent library of doublets university library 87 titles of various books in Russian, French and German. The Council of the Imperial Moscow University sent 66 works on various branches of knowledge. Kharkov University in 1869 sent several works written by univer-

sity professors for academic degrees; for several years the university has sent its reports and protocols of its meetings. In a short time there was collected about 2200 volumes (1200 titles), which initiated of the creation of the Turkestan Public Library. Of course, such a large number of books was not enough. Useful information were published in newspaper and magazine articles. It was necessary to organize and save it as a valuable source for research work. This responsible work K.P. Kaufman instructed to known bibliographer Vladimir Izmailovich Mezhov.

The first place among the figures of Russian bibliography in the second half of the XIX century belongs to V.I. Mezhov. During his fourty years he had done as much as it was not possible to do anyone of bibliography of his time in Russia and abroad. Mezhov`s literary heritage is more than a hundred volumes of bibliographical works, present its literature on the many fields of knowledge that gives collectively bibliography history of Russia, its science and culture for a considerable period [2; 3].

No wonder that he was approached the administration of colonial Turkestan with a proposal to do drawing collection, covering all newspaper and magazine publications relating to Central Asian and neighboring countries, as well as scientific works on the same theme as the Russian and foreign authors. V.I. Mezhov willingly responded to the proposal. He wrote: «The acquisition of this region as Turkestan has great importance for Russia. It secured our eastern borders,... but it is especially important in trade, opening us Central Asian markets for our manufactured goods. It may be not far that time when our caravans will get to India and instead of our manufactured works they will bring us treasures of the East. Conducting the railway, in the near future, through our Central Asian possessions till India, there are many projects, even more will develop our trade. The British protect their commercial interests, vigilantly watching each reciprocating Russian, deeply to Central Asia... In their literatures they closely follow everything that is published by the Central Asian issue, make bibliographies, etc. Are we going to doze off at this time» [2; 7].

On the history of the collection Mezhov said this in one of his letters: «In 1867, K.P. Kaufman spoke to me through the I.S. Idarov with proposal for him to make bibliographies of books and articles relating to Central Asia in general and Turkestan region in particular. In a personal interview with him, I imagined that a list of titles at such distance from the capital city of Tashkent will have no practical meaning for him. Instead, I said him to make «Turkestan collection of scientific papers», which would include the best books and articles. He has agreed and for the first time, as an experiment, I sent him to Tashkent 10 volumes, for which he received a fee of 1,000 rubles. This unexpected and generous reward made me intensify my work and in the following years for the same fee I sent 20 to 30 volumes. Finally, in the coming years, for K.P. Kaufman, I arranged to give him every year from 40 to 50 volumes for 1000 rubles as compensation» [3; 6].

Being in St. Petersburg and having possibility to monitor books and periodical editions Mezhov acquired and collected everything concerning to Central Asia and neighboring countries with it. He collected works not only capital, but also the smallest minor notes: «... Library embodying all that has been written about the region should bring undoubted benefits. Maybe some of the articles included in the «Collection», and not only in capital, but even apparently insignificant may throw new light on administrative and economic issue. That`s why making «Turkestan collection», I did not neglect any article relating to Central Asia in general and in particularly Turkestan» [4; 18].

In the letter to Mezhov Kaufman wrote about the importance of establishing «Turkestan collection»: «...full confidence that it can bring substantial benefit to area which is given to your management, led me in the preparation of this great work. I hope that you will be quite satisfied with it. The composition of his includes not only some articles from magazines and newspapers, but the whole individual works in Central Asia in general and in particularly Turkestan region. This work I think is essential to this area as Turkestan, which far from the center... In addition, having in my collection, under the hands all that has been written about the Turkestan and Central Asia in recent years, you will be able to print to refute the various stories and often deliberate misrepresentation of those who wrote from hearsay or tried to see the subject through the prism of selfish species and small personal interests» [4; 18].

By the famous Uzbekistan bibliographer E.K. Betger, prototype of this colossal meeting, served as compiled by the ex-manager of the Exchequer S.A. Idarov for his own use «collection of articles relating to the Central Asian khanates and Kirghiz steppe», consisting of six volumes with 84 articles. Idarov made them in a systematic manner: V 1 dedicated Semirechye, V3 — Kirghiz steppes, V5 — Khiva, V 7 — the Aral Sea and the Syr Darya. These collections have a very importance and, in the Dmitrov`s words, «at that time make only material for familiarization with area» [4; 19].

Kaufman payed more attention to «Turkestan collection of scientific papers «and very dear to them, stressed its importance «for the benefit and development of knowledge of our Central Asia». He pointed out that the collection is an excellent material for those wishing to engage in the study of Central Asia. The first ten volumes initially Kaufman kept in his personal library. In 1876 they were transferred into Turkestan public library [4; 15].

Altogether during the governorship Kaufman published 250 volumes. In 1882 — 1889 years more 166 volumes was compiled with governors Cherniayev and Rosenbach. Thus, the total number of volumes was 416, which contained 4713 names in Russian, French, German, English, Italian, Spanish and Latin. The total amount of expenses for development of the Compendium was equal to 23169 rubles.

All collected for «Turkestan collection of scientific papers» materials are made as follows: newspaper articles were cut out, glued to the white papers, magazine articles and books were embroidered and separate sheets of paper pasted into the frame. Only the magazine and newspaper clippings in «Turkestan collection of scientific papers» were more than ten thousand. The treated material thus intertwined in the volume of the same type which were supplied printed front page. Mezhov picked up the book, magazine and newspaper articles as they published, observing the chronological sequence.

The large and diverse material «Turkestan collection of scientific papers» allow «systematic and alphabetical index of essays and articles in Russian and foreign languages», also composed by Mezhov. Alphabetical index are divided into three parts: the index of authors, translators and names found in the bibliography, area pointers and names, index of authors and subjects encountered in foreign bibliography.

These signs, along with a reference to the corresponding «Turkestan collection of scientific papers» reference is made to the publication, which is placed in a particular material. This makes it possible to use the books included in the collection, not only in Tashkent, where it is stored. Mezhov in the preface to the first volume indicator wrote: «Actually, I was a pointer in such way that would be suitable not only for those who have the opportunity to have in hands this «Turkestan collection of scientific papers», but also for anyone interested in literature of Central Asia in general and in particularly the Turkestan region. With this aim, I put a link to each article title, being in «collection», a link of the periodical edition where it taken» [3; 4].

The content of «Turkestan collection» extremely rich and diverse. The pages of this kind of chronicle can find messages and descriptions relating to various aspects of life of our region in all its details. The conquest of Central Asian states, the device and the colonization of the region, its economy, the study of the productive forces, history and ethnography of the peoples of Central Asia — all found at the time reflected in the press, collected in «Turkestan collection of scientific papers». Researchers working on any topic of colonial Turkestan, it is not necessary to work long and painstaking investigation in the catalogs and card files, write dozens of sets of magazines and newspapers, to collect a lot of books, brochures, maps, guides, some of which could simply not be stored in separate editions. Enough, to refer to the book and all printed material will reveal to all interested in details of the theme.

Leafing through the pages of the collection volume after volume, we can restore the entire region life in all its details. There was established the Turkestan governor-generalship in 1867. Pages in St. Petersburg and Moscow newspapers are fulled with articles. Beginning device region, discussions on the draft regulations on the management of the region, the first steps of the administration, its relationship with the local people — all this are reflected in the first volumes of the collection.

With volume 5 of the Collection appeared plenty articles about trade, about the Central Asian markets, about the possibilities of the region. Engineer Tatarinov wrote in the «Gornyi Journal» article about coals in Karatau and possibilities of its development. In volume 14, we already found its report on the state mining department of coal business in Turkestan; volumes 16, 60 and 73 — Work about tatarinov`s copies. It is also possible to trace a number of other discoveries and researches.

Volumes 6 and 7, collected all material of the capture of Samarkand, Ura-Tube, the occurrence of deep Emirate. The conquest of the Khanate of Kokand was given exhaustively. In volume the 23 is given a great article from the «Military collection» of Kokand Khanate and several newspaper clippings from the historical and economic information, in the 30 volume is given «Military statistical collection» edited by N.N. Obruchev. Volume 114, we found the story of the «Military collection» for 1875, illuminating the entire history of the Kokand Khanate, until the events of 1875, and in Volume 117 the same «Military Collec- tion» is given in three articles Event in 1875 — military action against Kokand on official documents. Mezhov collected in one volume all the articles of the newspaper «Russian world» and «Russian Invalid», containing reports of military operations. And further, in volumes 125, 126, 148, 152 and 158 — a huge number of newspaper and magazine articles, and individual books on the same subject. Thus, «Turkestan collection» can certainly serve as a comprehensive source for anyone interested in the history of the conquest, the economy, trade and ethnology of Kokand. Similarly, covered all Khiva hikings, starting with hiking Yaik kazaks and ending 1873.

Material about the last hiking Mezhov collected and concentrated in volumes from 42 to 111 and arranged sequentially from Potto lecture «On the steppe hikings», read them in the Orenburg cadet school in 1872 and it is a preparation for the 1873 hiking. Then put all articles covering the campaign from the strategic, tactical, fortification, military, administrative, organizational and other parties. Then follow the clippings on the campaign itself, telegraph messages, reports. Magazines «Military Collection» and «Herald of Europe (Vestnik Evropy)» published articles of Sobolev, Kostenko, Ibragimova, Kolokoltseva and others, which also examines the Khiva campaign from different angles. The volume 88 of the collection concluded the book by US journalist Mc Gahan, direct participant of the campaign (published in America in 1875 and translated into Russian), fully summarizing the events in 1873. Subsequent years after Khiva campaign enriched with expeditions and researches. Some of these expeditions had the task of purely geographical research, and other collected material of natural-historical study of the region, to familiarize themselves with its productive forces. Produced topographic surveys, astronomical observations, gather statistics, etc. The results of all this work appeared in the press, first in periodical publications, in the form of individual messages, reports, and then in the voluminous writings, such as the Proceedings of the Aral-Caspian expedition, traveling Przewalsky, Mushketov`s geological works, travel and study Severtsev`s the mountainous country of the Tien Shan. The printed works Mayeva, Fedchenko etc., and all of this gathered by Mezhov to «Turke- stan collection». Great value V. Mezhov attached for collecting articles of economic nature — on the state of trade and its perspectives, on the detected region in deposits of minerals, in particularly the possible development of coal reserves, the emergence of the first industrial enterprises, the construction of railways, and so on.

Preparation and release of the Turkestan collection continued regularly until 1887. The average yield on the 20 volumes per year.

In 1884, the Governor-General of Turkestan N.O. Rosenbach, questioning the completeness and values constitute Mezhov`s collection and mainly intrigued by the financial side of this work, commissioned to N. Ostroumov and N. Dmitrov familiar with the collection and to give their conclusion and feasibility of its extension. N.V. Dmitrov in the «Note on the preparation of a commission member» «Turkestan collection of the scientific papers», was written with N. Ostroumov, gave a detailed analysis of Mezhov`s work.

The text of the note, unfortunately, has not survived, but her draft was found in 1924 in Leningrad by famous bibliographer — ethnographer N. Burov. It contains the analysis of more than 300 volumes of the collection, opened its main shortcomings and pointed out that Mezhov, completely absorbed in his bibliographical work, treated the case which entrusted to him not with the attention it deserved any, with the result that it was missing a number of important works or includes materials that are not directly related to Turkestan.

Of course, many of these shortcomings «Turkestan collection» really took place. But overall Collection — undoubtedly valuable edition — did not merit such a critical assessment. Rather, it was to talk about the broader coverage of the Turkestan unreleased material, a more careful selection of them, i.e., on improving the «Collection» and not on its liquidation. However, the Governor — General Rosenbach, based on the memorandum of N.V. Dmitrov and N.P. Ostroumov, decided that it is advisable not to spend a year in the preparation of the collection a large amount found it necessary to cease its publication. Governor General seemed obviously, he let spend over for this purpose — 660 rubles.

In the letter from the ruler of the Office of the Governor — General to Mezhov from July 3, 1887, which was kept in the Central State Archive of Uzbekistan, said: «In view of reduction in the content of credit of the Turkestan Public Library, including on the publication of «Turkestan collection of scientific pa- pers», if any, to form a corresponding number of volumes of the collection and send to the governorgeneral's office» [4; 28].

Since 1887, by order of administration working on so important things was stopped, has been applied a great harm to the further study of the region. It should be noted that other circumstances played a significant role in the publication. N.P. Ostroumov wrote: «For the Kaufman time this collection (Turkestan collection) had invaluable significance, as Russian literature with the conquest of Tashkent began to appear geographic, ethnographic and historical information on the newly-annexed territory, unknown scientific research for Eu- rope» [4; 30]. The first twenty years of the device and the development of Turkestan were a period of feverish activity of numerous expeditions, research, creation of large capital works, and in the next twenty years the time has come a lull. Some changes in the views, reflected clearly the number of articles on the newly approved budget.

In a letter dated August 24, 1887 he wrote: «... with great sorrow that I learned that the I.O. Rosenbach decided to stop compiling the collection. Well do nothing against this object. No against, says the proverb, and the court is not «And in another letter dated on 10 October Mezhov sending in Tashkent last 16 volumes of the collection, and wrote. «It is very unfortunate it was to me to finish the work, which I worked 25 years, but to do it is nothing».


Regretting many scientists shared V.I. Mezhov work, for the next twenty years, and no one fill this break, it was no possible, in spite of the trend towards this in the later followers of Mezhov`s labour.

All materials are of historical, economic, statistical, ethnographic, literary, art-nature facilitate the work of the modern researcher, said D.I. Logofet — «Retrieving by tiny grains among boundless and bottomless of papers printed works» [4; 30]. No historical work, no doctoral or master's thesis on the colonial past of Uzbekistan and other Central Asian republics can not do without this collection of publications.

Thus, «Turkestan collection» is quite unique cultural phenomenon, because not all of the publications that are in it are, and that newspapers, magazines, books published in various cities of Russia in the second half of the XIX century are preserved in the country that has experienced during this while a few revolutions, civil war, two world wars and the turbulent nineties.


The use of new information technologies in the creation specialized databases of databases of materials past of our region, would not only increase the level of research and education, but also to organize the effective work of collecting, managing, systematization rich cultural heritage and to provide people with relevant information.

Comparative analysis of the above archival sources of the XIX century and the information management systems of educational and research institutions on the state of historical materials, rare books and manuscripts show that: many of the materials of the past centuries in time are subject to deformation and other damage, thereby become useless; efficiency of information retrieval in the electronic, virtual and corporate libraries in the hundreds or thousands of times faster than traditional methods; Modern automation can significantly expand the boundaries of knowledge dissemination through databases, electronic catalogs and online access to both intranet and internet networks; Many computerized systems that store, process and transfer of scientific and educational information are local in nature, allowing through automated library system to access databases only in local networks or via the Internet without the organization of a corporate network; low level of intellectualization interface, making it difficult to work for untrained users; lack of effective mathematical models, algorithms and methods for parallel processing to speed up your work in corporate networks.

Hence the need for the development of areas associated with the tasks of creating effective methods of imaging, scanning and processing of rare and valuable information resources, providing them online access to virtual IT environments and enterprise networks and relevant.



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  2. Fradkina, Z.L. (1949). V.I. Mezhov (1830–1894) [B.I. Mezhov (1830–1894)]. Z.L. Fradkina. Moscow: Izdatelstvo Vsesoiuznoi knizhnoi palaty [in Russian].
  3. Mezhov, V.I. (1878). Turkestanskii sbornik sochinenii i statei, otnosiashchikhsia do Srednei Azii voobshche i Turkestanskomu kraiu v osobennosti: sistematicheskii i azbuchnyi ukazatel sochinenii i statei na russkom i inostrannykh yazykakh [The Turkestan collection of works and articles relating to Central Asia in general and the Turkestan region in particular: a systematic and elementary index of works and articles in Russian and foreign languages]. Saint Petersburg [in Russian].
  4. Kasymova, A.G. (1985). Turkestanskii sbornik [Turkestan collection of scientific papers]. Tashkent: Fan [in Russian].
Year: 2020
City: Karaganda
Category: History