Site Logo  Sauran Ancient City
Sauran, not to be confused with its near equivalent of Sauron, does admittedly have a similar imposing stature, albeit one which many centuries have laid waste. In its heyday it was the capital of a tribe known as the White Horde, a non-nomadic clan which had its residence here around the year of 1320.

It is located near the modern day Kazakh city of Turkestan
on the road to Kyzylorda, a relatively significant route in southern Kazakhstan today, but in the days of the Silk Road represented a highly important trade and economic centre through which many of the more important caravans would pass, before being abandoned for reasons the main information sources do not make clear.
As the pictures show, it was a sizeable settlement, surrounded by seven walls inside which an estimated three to 15 thousand people made their home. A solid six-metre gate was the only known access to the 800 by 500 metre enclosure, in which inhabitants made full use of irrigation systems including underground canals.
Quite why it was abandoned has not become clear, yet what we do know is that the period in question was characterised by the people’s nomadic tendencies and it might not be unreasonable to suggest that this way of life was widely considered to be more suitable for the region. This of course is mere speculation, because although nomads roamed the steppes there is no reason to believe that all people at that time had the same traditions.

What is clear, is that this was an extensive settlement for its day, and evidence would suggest that it was inhabited for a long period, thus dispelling any idea that the people were in any way nomadic. The extensive system of drainage and the wells and pipes also indicate that time and effort was invested in making the city permanently habitable for a lot of people.
Filling a day in the old city is not easy, but a few hours can hardly be better spent, were it at least not for the distance it is from anywhere else of note. Nevertheless, once walking the old city walls, the energy of the old town has not gone completely, a sense of vibrancy remains to this day, not something that just anybody would pick up on, but to anybody with an inner sense of having ‘lived here before’, there is a very clear resonance.