We invite all our readers to plunge into the amazing and unique tourist world of the most ancient city of Kazakhstan – Shymkent, which has a 2,200-year history and is considered one of the most ancient cities in the country, located at the crossroads of the Great Silk Road, bordering such ancient settlements as Otrar, Sairam, Sauran, Yassy, Ispidzhab. It is known for certain that the Great Silk Road existed until the XIV century, and the last revival of the above-mentioned cities falls in the middle of the XIII century. And today, together with you, we can observe only the remains of ruins from once majestic ancient cities, which were the centers of trade, culture, and science.
And we will also talk about Turkestan, where there are daily dynamic and positive changes associated with the city receiving the status of the regional center of the region three years ago. All this was a new milestone in the history of the revival of ancient Turkestan. By the way, today the old part is marked as a cultural and spiritual center. After all, it is here that the main historical and cultural monuments are concentrated, and now a new museum, park, tourist center, and so on are being built. A little further away, a new city is being built – the administrative and business center of Turkestan, where government buildings and residential areas are being built.
But about everything in order. First, we will tell you in detail about Shymkent, where the sun shines brightly for 300 days a year, and summer lasts from May to October. Shymkent is the region with the highest birth rate in the country. Large families are the norm here, rather than a rare case. Every month, almost 18,000 children are born and 5,000 marriages are registered, and therefore, no one in Kazakhstan can compare with the luxury and scope of toys in Shymkent, where on average 200-300 people gather in Toikhan. That’s why the restaurants here are more like fashionable palaces. Almost 60,000 mothers, owners of “Altyn alka” and “Kumis alka”, live here. And this is only in one city, Shymkent. That’s the scale.
The south of Kazakhstan is also rightfully considered the breadwinner of the country. After all, the annual harvest of vegetables exceeds the needs of the whole region twice, fruit and berry crops three times, melons as much as six times. Now you can imagine how loaded KAMAZ trucks deliver hundreds of tons of vitamins necessary for the body not only to various parts of Kazakhstan, but also to the near abroad, providing everyone with inexpensive fruit and vegetable vitamin products. Also, everyone knows that in Shymkent the most delicious, and most importantly, not expensive food. Imagine, a stick of shish kebab here costs an average of 300-400 tenge, a huge portion of pilaf will cost you only 500-700 tenge.
Another reason for pride is the Olympic champions. From the gold medalist of the Montreal Olympics in 1976, Nelly Kim, to the silver medalist of the Rio de Janeiro weightlifter Zhazira Zhapparkul, the gold medalist of Sydney in boxing Bekzat Sattarkhanov, the prima of the national rhythmic gymnastics Aliya Yusupova-the natives of Shymkent.
A separate line goes to the stars of the musical Olympus. The main star of the 13th region is opera singer Nurzhamal Usenbayeva. Kairat Nurtas, Kairat Tuntekov, Altynai Zhorabayeva are also from the south.
Shymkent is favourably distinguished by its location in relative proximity to Tashkent and Bishkek. In Shymkent, representatives of 95 ethnic groups live, representing a unique symbiosis of identity, community. All this eventually formed a unique cultural policy. Shymkent is rightly called a garden city. Also under the city there is a huge amount of underground water, due to the presence of spring springs right in the city center. Shymkent is also famous for its mineral and thermal water springs.
Not far from the city, you will see in all its glory the amazing mountain systems of the Western Tien Shan. Although, when everyone who talks about the south of Kazakhstan immediately imagines the endless desert expanses that are slowly crossed by camel caravans from the Thousand and One Nights, noisy oriental bazaars, mosques, madrasas. The fact that the Tien Shan mountain ranges stretch on the territory of the Turkestan region, for someone it becomes an open surprise. The traveler who loves mountain tourism has a great opportunity to go for a bike ride in the cool mountain shade or have a picnic at one of the many mountain lakes. If you climb a little higher, you can more than ski on the snowy mountain slopes.
In the southern part of the mountain range, you will come across the famous Kazygurt mountain with a height of almost 2 km. And in general, as experts say, the healing air of the region is very useful for heart patients suffering from cardiac diseases. Shymkent excites the minds of both art historians, historians, and archaeologists. Here, under the ground, a huge number of treasures are hidden-historical monuments that are waiting in the wings to be unraveled by the inquisitive minds of young scientists.
Meanwhile, the southernmost, warmest and sunniest city in Kazakhstan is already fully prepared for the new tourist season. In a special webinar dedicated to the tourism potential of Shymkent and the Turkestan region, the head of the Department of tourism of the city of Shymkent Olzhas Shintayev said that the city is already launching excursion double-decker buses, which will allow you to get to know the sights of the third metropolis of the country as closely as possible. A huge number of travel agencies are ready to offer sophisticated tourists weekend tours in Shymkent and the surrounding area. By the way, there is a whole information portal for the convenience of travelers, which contains all the relevant information about the history of the city, a guide, a poster, tour routes, as well as information about souvenir products.
As it became known, the ancient citadel will soon open its doors to visitors in Shymkent, where there are unique underground tunnels, which, unfortunately, are not yet available for mass visits.
By the way, another interesting information. According to Islam Kalanov, a qualified tour guide in the city of Shymkent and the Turkestan region, it is on the territory of the Sairam residential area of the city of Shymkent that there is an amazing monument of history and architecture – the mosque of Kyzyr Ata (Kydyr ata) – one of the most mysterious prophets of Islam. Shymkent is the only place in Kazakhstan where an underground cell has been preserved, where Kydyr Baba spent 60 years in meditation and prayers.
Shymkent also boasts the grave of an Arab warrior. This is the only such burial in the entire territory of Kazakhstan of the Arab standard-bearer Abdel Aziz. It is also located in this residential area, but unfortunately is not visited by tourists. All these points, of course, will be of great interest to everyone who is interested in the history of the spread of the Islamic religion on the territory of Kazakhstan.
Useful information for those who went to Shymkent for new impressions. If you buy a tour package for 7 days, it will cost you 150 thousand tenge, which includes the locations of Shymkent, Turkestan and the region.
Nauryz – the beginning of a New year and a new tourist season
A huge number of guests will come to Shymkent for the Nauryz holiday. It’s an annual tradition. After all, first of all, the weather itself disposes. It is always warm, sunny, and the air temperature never drops below a comfortable +20 degrees. According to the Department of Culture, only for this spring holiday it is planned to organize and hold 57 different kinds of festive cultural events in seven locations of Shymkent.
In turn, in Turkestan, Nauryz will be celebrated on March 14. On this day, a large festive caravan will leave Otrar in the direction of Turkestan. On March 21-23, the most diverse cultural and mass program will be presented to the audience in five locations in Turkestan. We must not forget that the Summit of the Turkic-speaking countries is expected to be held in Turkestan during the celebration of Nauryz. Therefore, the month of March will be very busy for the residents of the Turkestan region. It is March that local experts take as the starting point for the start of the new tourist season.
Turkestan – the cradle of the Turkic world
In turn, the head of the Tourism department of the Turkestan region Gulmira Akhberdieva spoke in detail about the ambitious project “Caravanserai”, which attracted the attention of many curious travelers, which will soon open its doors to everyone. In her opinion, Turkestan occupies a special place in the system of cities and is the spiritual and historical center of Kazakhstan. Turkestan has also been a truly spiritual and political center of the Kazakh Khanate for many centuries.
To date, active work is underway to modernize the entire infrastructure of Turkestan, attracting a huge amount of investment, which, in turn, creates new jobs. Work is in full swing on the ground – construction works are underway on about 60 large objects of the city.
In Turkestan, historical and educational, historical and cultural, pilgrimage, ecological (specially protected areas-Aksu-Zhabagli, Karatau state nature reserves, Sairam – Ugam State National Natural Park, Syrdarya-Turkestan Regional Park), medical and health tourism (Saryagash district with mineral springs) are particularly developed. By the way, the miraculous healing properties of Saryagash are known far beyond the borders of the country, and for a long time. In a relatively small resort town, today there are almost 50 health and wellness centers.
By the way, the whole region has 169 places for accommodation, starting from hostels, hotels, recreation areas. That is, 2000 seats, ready to receive and accommodate tourists and travelers.
Special attention should be paid to the multifunctional tourist center “Caravanserai”, which is located on the territory of the cultural and spiritual center near the complex of the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. This tourist center will be notable for the fact that inside there will be covered markets – an oriental bazaar, a village of artisans will work. After all, it is not for nothing that Turkestan is called the place of master craftsmen of Central Asia, where you can see everything from paintings to ceramics and carpets, as well as play Kokpar, Tenge alu or hunt with an eagle. There will also be a water channel with gondolas. At the same time, it will be a new point of economic growth, where 600 new jobs will be created. Therefore, it is safe to say that the “Caravanserai” under construction and the Mausoleum of Haziret Sultan are the very first two reasons to visit Turkestan.
Land of a thousand Shrines
Also, the Turkestan region is called, like Western Kazakhstan, the Land of a thousand shrines. A huge number of religious objects are concentrated here, starting with Zoroastrian altars and ending with Islam. Therefore, Turkestan is rightly called an Islamic shrine for thousands of pilgrims, where visits are made to the shrines of Arystan Baba, Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, and the Ukash Ata well.
The lands of Turkestan are also famous for their mystical places, surprising with their super powers. Tourists from all over the world come to see this natural wonder. Among them, one can rightfully call Akmechet, which is located 100 kilometers from Turkestan. The uniqueness of this area is that not a single tree grows within a radius of several kilometers. But in the cave itself there is a real oasis. Akmechet is 160 meters long and almost 40 meters high.
Of particular interest are the monuments of written culture, which are located just 65 km from Shymkent. At the confluence of two rivers – Arys and Badam, more than 2,200 years ago, the ancient Kangyu civilization was born. Clay tablets were discovered here just a few years ago. The same tablets were found on the territory of Persia, the Middle East. Unfortunately, tourists do not know about this unique place in terms of history.
On the way to Turkestan, you can visit a huge number of unique objects, one of which is the largest necropolis of Burezhar, which stretches for 15 kilometers. Nothing like this has yet been discovered in Kazakhstan or in Central Asia.
Not far from Shymkent is the Aksu Canyon – one of the deepest in Central Asia. Many Kazakhstanis know about the Charyn Canyon, but they have not heard anything about Aksu. Therefore, Islam Kalanov believes that this gap must be urgently filled and all travel agencies and companies should recommend this canyon for mandatory visits by tourists.
And on the territory of the Sozak district, unique tombs dedicated to historical figures have been preserved. Among them is the Arab commander Yershak, the ancestor of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, who spread Islam in Kazakhstan. Not far from his mausoleum, there are even the ruins of his feudal castle. Saint Tokty Shashty Aziz bab, who is considered the patron saint of batyr warriors, is also buried here. And the third place that will be interesting to history lovers is the ancient settlement of Kunkent, which is the birthplace of one of the founders of the Golden Horde – Yedygei, a revered figure of the Nogais.
A separate story, worthy of poetry, local tulips. At the foot of the Karatau Mountains there is a wonderful place Shubaykyzyl. This is the only point in the region where the wonderful Greig tulips grow, listed in the Red Book. Even in early spring, in the “Red Hill” on the occasion of the flowering of tulips, a magnificent festival is organized, which has become traditional, where a huge number of guests from all over the world come from among connoisseurs and admirers of natural beauty. The area of 60 hectares of land is completely covered with a red carpet in April. Experts even estimated that holding such events will give a great incentive to the development of the flower business in the country. It turns out that Kazakhstan currently exports almost 300 types of tulips. So there is much to strive for.
Of course, the distinctive feature of the Turkestan region is its unique colorful oriental cuisine, which is characterized by an abundance of vegetables and fruits. You can definitely be surprised by fresh meat, pilaf and samsa cooked on a tandoor and shish kebab fried on a hot saxaul grill.
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