Turkistan is a fascinating and historically significant city in Kazakhstan that attracts many visitors each year. It is a city located in the southern part of Kazakhstan. It is in the Turkestan Region and is one of the oldest cities in Kazakhstan, with a history that dates back over 1.500 years.

Turkistan is a significant cultural and historical center of Kazakhstan and Central Asia. It is home to many important historical and architectural monuments, including the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mausoleum is one of the most important works of architecture in Central Asia and is a popular tourist attraction.

The city of Turkistan is also an important center for Islamic culture and education in Kazakhstan. The International Kazakh-Turkish University is located in the city, and there are several other religious and educational institutions in Turkestan.

Turkistan in Kazakhstan

A bit of History of Turkistan in Kazakhstan

The city was an important center of trade and culture on the Silk Road, which connected China and Europe.

In the 9th century, Turkistan was the capital of the Karakhanid Khanate, a powerful Turkic state that controlled much of Central Asia. During this time, the city flourished, with the construction of many important buildings. Including the Khoja Ahmed Yasawi Mausoleum, which dates back to the 14th century.

In the 16th century, Turkistan was conquered by the Uzbek Shaybanid dynasty and became a major center of Islamic culture and learning. Many important religious and cultural institutions established their home in the city, including the famous Madrasah of Khodja Akhmed Yassawi, which was one of the largest Islamic schools in Central Asia.

Turkistan in Kazakhstan

In the 19th century, Turkistan became part of the Russian Empire as “Aulie-Ata.” The city remained an important center of trade and culture under Russian rule, and many important buildings raised during this time, including the Governor’s Palace and the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas.

After the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, Turkistan became part of independent Kazakhstan and got back to its original name. Today, the city is a significant cultural and historical center of Kazakhstan and Central Asia, attracting many visitors who come to see its numerous historic monuments and learn about its rich history.

What to do in Turkistan in Kazakhstan

Visit the Khoja Ahmed Yasawi Mausoleum: This is one of the most important landmarks in Turkestan and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built in the 14th century and is considered one of the most important works of architecture in Central Asia.

Explore the Old City

The Old City of Turkistan is home to many historic buildings and landmarks, including the Madrasah of Khodja Akhmed Yassawi, which was one of the largest Islamic schools in Central Asia.

The old town also boasts a variety of traditional bazaars and markets where visitors can shop for handmade crafts, textiles, and other souvenirs. The local cuisine is also a highlight, with traditional Kazakh dishes such as beshbarmak (meat and noodle stew) and shashlik (grilled meat skewers) available at many of the local restaurants and cafes.

Turkistan City Fortress

The Turkistan City Fortress, also known as the Citadel, is a historic structure located in the heart of the city of Turkistan in southern Kazakhstan. The fortress was built in the 18th century during the reign of the Kazakh khan Abulkhair, and it was designed to protect the city from invading armies.

The fortress is made of clay bricks and is approximately 11 meters high. It is surrounded by a moat, and its walls are adorned with towers and gates that were once used to control access to the city. The fortress walls were built using traditional techniques and materials, and they are considered to be a masterpiece of Kazakh architecture.

Citadel of Turkistan, Kazakhstan

Inside the fortress, visitors can explore a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys in line with ancient buildings and monuments. The most prominent landmark in the fortress is the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, which is considered one of the finest examples of Islamic architecture in the world.

Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi

One of the most prominent landmarks in Turkistan is the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, a 14th-century religious complex that is considered one of the finest examples of Islamic architecture in the world. The mausoleum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts visitors from all over the world.

Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi in Turkistan, Kazakhstan

Mausoleum of Gauhar Ana

The Mausoleum of Gauhar Ana is an important cultural and religious landmark in Kazakhstan and attracts thousands of visitors every year. It is a testament to the rich history and traditions of the region. and is a must-see destination for lovers of Islamic architecture and history. Turkistan is a significant pilgrimage site for Muslims and is one of the most important cultural and architectural treasures of the region.

Gauhar Ana was a 12th-century Sufi mystic who famous for her piety and devotion. The mausoleum is over her grave in the 14th century and has since been expanded and renovated several times.

Inside the mausoleum, visitors can see the tomb of Gauhar Ana. The interior of the mausoleum is with colorful tiles and intricate patterns, creating a serene and peaceful atmosphere.

Where to stay in Turkistan in Kazakhstan

There are several accommodation options available for visitors to Turkistan, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to more upscale hotels. Visitors can also opt for a homestay experience with a local family in Turkistan. This can be a great way to experience local culture and traditions up close, and is often more affordable than staying in a hotel.

How to get to Turkistan

Turkistan is located in southern Kazakhstan, and there are several ways to get there depending on your starting point. Here are some of the common methods of transportation to Turkistan:

By air

The nearest airport to Turkistan is Shymkent International Airport, which is located approximately 150 km away. Several airlines offer regular flights to Shymkent from major cities in Kazakhstan and neighboring countries. From Shymkent, visitors can take a taxi or bus to Turkistan.

By car

Visitors can also drive to Turkistan using their own vehicle or by renting a car. The roads in Kazakhstan can be challenging, so it is important to have experience driving in the region.

By bus

There are several bus companies that operate routes to Turkistan from major cities in Kazakhstan. Buses are often the most affordable option, but they can also be slower and less comfortable than other forms of transportation.

By train

Turkistan has a railway station for rutes from major cities in Kazakhstan, including Almaty, Nur-Sultan, and Shymkent. Train travel can be a scenic and affordable option, but it can also be slower than air travel.

Enjoy our discounts in Turkistan

Useful information about Turkistan

What are the best landmarks of Turkistan?

The best landmarks of Turkistan are the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi and the Citadel

Is the Turkistan safe?

Turkistan is generally a safe destination for travelers, but as with any travel destination, it is important to take basic safety precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Be aware of your surroundings and dress modestly since Turkistan is a predominantly Muslim city, and visitors should dress modestly out of respect for local customs and traditions. Women should cover their heads and wear long sleeves and pants or skirts, while men should avoid wearing shorts.Use always reputable transportation, follow local laws and customs and Stay up to date on travel advisories.

When is the best time to visit Turkistan?

The best time to visit Turkistan is during the spring and fall months, which are generally the shoulder seasons. The weather during these times is mild and comfortable, with temperatures ranging from 15-25°C (59-77°F).

Best experiences in Turkistan

This place has everything a visitor needs to have a great experience. Its natural beauty draws visitors from around the world- along with its numerous important sites and cultural heritage. As far as things to do in the place go, there are plenty of activities available for visitors.

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One response to “Turkistan: A Journey Through Kazakhstan’s Timeless Treasures”

  1. Monkey's Tale Avatar
    Monkey’s Tale

    We were recently in Almaty but only had a few days so didn’t venture too far away. Turkistan looks similar to some of the architecture in Uzbekistan. Maggie

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