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Okunev Archeological Culture

The Republic of Khakassia has long and rich history which attract million of people to perceive and admire it. Tourists from all over the world wander among Khakass steppes in order to touch the traces of the past. Travelling round this peculiar place tourists may learn the ancient culture of native people.

Burial places, menhirs, kurgans (barrows) and stone stelae have been preserved up to the present days. Stones surrounding the kurgans or standing apart in the steppes have a lot of different ancient images. Until now stelae remain the objects of worship among native people.

Okunev Archeological Culture in Khakassia

Okunev Stone Composition

One of the most distinguished cultures ever existed on the territory of Khakassia is Okunev archeological culture. It was named after the name of the ulus Okunev where the first burials of such type were found and it was spread on the territory of the republic in II BC. This period is called the Bronze Age.

There is the Okunev Monument just in the centre of the capital of the republic. These examples of Okunev culture aren’t genuine, this stone composition was made by a Khakass sculptor Vyacheslav Nikolaevich Kuchenov and placed on Lenin Avenue in 1998. But nevertheless these stone examples have all the peculiarities of Okunev stelae and statues.

The stone statues were made from a tall saber-like stone for 3-4 meters high. Okunev people found a stone in the mountains, then brought it to some concrete place and put it in a dug hole. On the bottom of the hole they put parts of sacrificial animals. The stone itself was placed in such a way that its face side was overlooking the sun. On the south side of the place where the stone was located there was made a sacrificial altar.

The narrow edge is the face side of the statue. On this side there are presented some anthropomorphic faces. On the centre face there are eyes, nostrils, big mouth, horns and long ears. The front image can prolong to the lateral sides and sometimes to the back side.

The images on the face side convey the ancient Khakass people’s vision of the world: that is the division into three levels which shows the vertical structure of the world. The upper part of the statue is associated with the Heaven World, the middle part – with the Middle World and the lower part – with the Underworld.

The great amount of solar signs presented on the statue symbolizes the round movement of the sun and life.

Okunev Monument

Okunev Monument

Okunev Archeological Culture

The Lateral Side of Okunev Statue

Okunev Archeological Culture in Khakassia

The Back Side of Okunev Statue

Nowadays this place is very popular among young Khakass people. They come here on their wedding day, tie ribbons on the trees nearby and make wishes.

Ritual ribbons on trees

Ritual ribbons on trees

Travelling in Khakassia is visiting the monuments of ancient cultures such as Okunev archaeological culture.


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