Traveling around Southern Kazakhstan, the main attractions on our way are the cities of Shymkent and Turkestan as well the ruins of the ancient city of Otrar. In general, Southern Kazakhstan is considered a very interesting place to visit. The fact is that this very place used to be a part of the Great Silk Road in ancient times. It was here that caravans loaded with all sorts of goods used to pass.
It is a history branch that everyone visiting this region can be accustomed to. After all, it is here that you can feel the milestones of history as well as the insight on the ancient times.
Arriving in Shymkent by air or by land, we meet with the guide and the driver. Then there is a start of our tour around the historical area of Southern Kazakhstan. The starting point of our journey to the past is Shymkent. Now it is a modern and urbanized city, the center of the South-Kazakhstan region. Here we explore the Central Park and the new Mosque stunning in its beauty. But once the city was a peripheral hub for caravans that travelled from the East to the West.
Having looked at the sights of Shymkent, we head for Turkestan passing through the ruins of Otrar. The journey one way takes 230 km. The ruins of Otrar are a monument of ancient architecture and one of the most ancient cities of Central Asia. Before the Mongol invasion the city was called Farab. Its golden age falls on the period from I to XIII century AD. Archeological excavations found here a huge number of utensils, kitchenware and other tools of those times. Now all these are at public display in museums. One of the main attractions is the Arystan-Bab mausoleum built by the order of Tamerlane (Timur), the great commander of the East.
Otrar was closely connected with the philosopher Abu-Nasr al-Farabi, who was born and raised there. His most famous works are commentaries on Aristotle’s works and the theory of an ideal state. Once a lively city with palaces, streets and caravan routes, now this place is in the power of the desert and hot wind. It seems to take travelers back to the past lifting the veil of ancient secrets. You can talk endlessly about the history of the ancient city but a picture is worth a thousand words.
Upon arrival in Turkestan, we check in the hotel and take time to relax after a busy day.
After breakfast our tour to the history of the Kazakh people continues. This day is devoted to exploring Turkestan, one of the oldest cities in Kazakhstan. It is located at the crossing of caravan routes from Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva to the north.
mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yassawi
It used to be the capital of the Kazakh Khanate. Here, another Middle Age construction greets upon the travellers’ view, which is the VX century mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yassawi, a famous Sufi philosopher. There are also graves of Kazakh khans, and an underground mosque and the museum of eastern baths. Being here, you can feel the life charm of the Middle Ages, immerse headlong into the stories told by experienced guides and feel all the power of the buildings dedicated to the great people.
We return to Shymkent to continue our journey or go to the hotel to spend a night and rest.