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Plateau Ukok

Plateau Ukok (Kosh-Agach region) is a unique flat-like-table place located at the height of 2500 m above the sea level  and surrounded by the highest mountain ridges. One of its translations sounds like "Listen to the sky". Up till now  archeological monuments of ancient Egyptians and Sumerians, sculpture statues of Scythians and cave drawings have been kept. The drawings are dated 5000-3000 years B.C.

Several years ago Altaians announced plateau Ukok as  a no-take zone and prohibited all business activities on it. Today this territory is included into UNESCO heritage list. Ukok burial mounds are also considered invaluable. Researchers say that the burials are like an ensemble - people who built them had a highly developed feeling of rhythm and harmony.

Misteries of Plateau Ukok

It goes without saying that the main misteries of this place are "Altay princess" and geoglyphs discovered by archeologists not so long ago. Geoglyphs look like shapes of strange figures that resemble  cave drawings of mythological creatures - griffins described in the ancient Egyptian and Assyrian literature. The drawings are divided by well-defined lines that look like arrows and spears.

It is interesting that here in Altay Mountains according to the legend  could be the legendary gold of the Scythians the entrance to which was guarded by ferocious creatures with a female head and torso of the birds - Griffins.  If believed in legends it is because of the griffins that the gold was not found.  Those who dared to find it had a risk of drawing down an awful desease or death.

"Altay Princess" (Ice Maiden)

The most famous undisturbed Pazyryk burial so far recovered is the "Ice Maiden" ("Altay princess"), a rare example of a single woman given a full ceremonial wooden chamber-tomb in the 5th century BC, accompanied by six horses.  She had been buried over 2,400 years ago in a casket fashioned from the hollowed-out trunk of a larch tree. On the outside of the casket were stylized images of deer and snow leopards carved in leather. Shortly after burial the grave had apparently been flooded by freezing rain and the entire contents of the burial chamber had remained frozen in permafrost. Six horses wearing elaborate harnesses had been sacrificed and lay on the logs which formed the roof of the burial chamber. The maiden's well-preserved body, carefully embalmed with peat and bark, was arranged to lie on her side as if asleep.

She was young; her hair was still blonde; she had been 5 feet 6 inches tall. Even the animal style tattoos were preserved on her pale skin: creatures with horns that develop into flowered forms. Her coffin was made large enough to accommodate the high felt headdress she was wearing, which had 15 gilded wooden birds sewn to it. On a gold buckle retrieved from another tomb, a similar woman's headdress intertwined with branches of the tree of life are depicted. Her blouse was originally thought to be made of wild "tussah" silk but closer examination of the fibers indicate the material is not Chinese but was a wild silk which came from somewhere else, perhaps India.[4] She was clad in a long crimson woolen skirt and white felt stockings. Near her coffin was a vessel made of yak horn, and dishes containing gifts of coriander seeds: all of which suggest that the Pazyryk trade routes stretched across vast areas of Iran. Similar dishes in other tombs were thought to have held Cannabis sativa, confirming a practice described by Herodotus but after tests the mixture was found to be coriander seeds, probably used to disguise the smell of the body.

By Wikipedia materials

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