Manuscripts About Kazakh History Found in UK 

ASTANA – The experts of the National Center for Manuscripts and Rare Books have retrieved 15 manuscripts and approximately 500 archival documents in London, Oxford, and Manchester, reported the Ministry of Culture and Information on March 18. 

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The artifacts, related to Kazakhstan’s history, were obtained during a research expedition to the United Kingdom.

Kazakh specialists and foreign scholars agreed to conduct joint research on manuscripts and other works.

“Finding and obtaining manuscripts, rare books, and archival documents about Kazakhstan’s history will contribute to the development of the National Archival Fund. We have received copies of historical documents,” said Zhandos Boldykov, the director of the national center.

Kazakh scholars visited libraries, archives and research centers in London, Oxford and Manchester as part of a research expedition to Great Britain with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo credit:

One of the discovered manuscripts in Manchester is the first translated Holy Book of the Quran. It was first translated to Turkic in the 10th-12th centuries during the Kara-Khanid state and resembles the translation language of “Kutti Bilik” (Gracious knowledge) by Yusuf Balasaguni. 

Another manuscript is a medieval Arabic work that contains information about the biography and works of Abu Nasir al-Farabi, a prominent figure among Islamic scholars. European researcher Carl Brockelmann noted in his work that this manuscript belongs to al-Farabi.

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A book from the Bodleian Library of Oxford, “Zein al-Akhbar” by Abu Saeed Abd-al-Hayi-Gardizi, the Persian historian of the 11th century, written between 1049 and 1053, drew attention. It chronicles the history of pre-Islamic Persian kings, Muhammad, as well as caliphs before 1032 and of Khorasan before 1041. 

The manuscript includes chapters on the science, religions, and holidays of India, Turkic tribes of Asia, Russians, and Greeks. 

Russian orientalist Wassily Barthold used parts of this manuscript in his works, such as “Turkistan during the Mongol Invasion” and “Report on a Trip to Central Asia for Scientific Purposes 1893-1894.”

Since its launch in 2017, the center has provided the research community with a collection of manuscripts and rare books on the history of Kazakhstan while also putting their effort into the acquisition, restoration, digitalization, and translation of ancient languages into Kazakh

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