The area’s most illustrious historical resident was the 11th-century Mahmud al-Kashgari, the author of the first-ever comparative dictionary of Turkic languages, Divan Lughat at-Turk (A Glossary of Turkish Dialects), written in Baghdad from 1072 to 1074. Locals insist that there was a city of nearly 100,000 people here before the whole site was razed by a grandson of Chinggis (Genghis) Khan. In the 20th century, the area was a military staging point in an era of Soviet–Chinese border skirmishes while Tamga became an exclusive sanatorium town for elite officers of the Red Army.