Turkestan (also spelled Turkistan, former Hazrat-e Turkestan) is a city located in South Kazakhstan oblast (region) of Kazakhstan.
Turkestan played an important role in Kazakhstan history and is a sacred town for significant part of Kazakh people. Turkestan is located about 160 km northwest of Taraz city.
Turkestan population is about 119,000 (2009).
The phone code is +7 72533; postal code - 457010.
In 10th century it was Shavgar (Shavagar), from 12th century - Yasy (Yassy). Medieval Yasy was a town-fortress. In 12th century poet Khodzha Akhmed Yasavi lived there and was buried there too. In its size Khodzha Akhmed Yasavi Mausoleum is equal to mosque Bibi-Khanum in Samarkand (Uzbekistan). Middle Asian ruler Timur began constructing a mosque close to Yasavi Mausoleum in 1396-1398.
Turkestan nowadays (since 1968 the city is in South Kazakhstan oblast) is a large industrial, educational and cultural center as well as a center of inner and foreign tourism.
It is a railway station on Orenburg - Tashkent line. Light and food industries are developed. In the city there is one of the largest Universities in Central Asia - International Kazakh-Turkish University named after Khodzha Akhmed Yasavi.
There are 13 plants in Turkestan city, the largest of them are as follows: a cotton-processing plant, a machine-building plant, sewing and knitted wear plant, antibiotics plant, joint Kazakh-English plant producing dressings.
Turkestan city, Kazakhstan street
Turkistan city, Kazakhstan view
Turkestan was an important trade center of the past known from 4th century. The full ancient name of the city was “Hazrat-e Turkestan” meaning “Saint of Turkestan”. Turkestan city was the most important learning center for Kazakh steppes people. In 1390 one of the most important architectural monuments of Kazakhstan was built. It is the tomb (mausoleum) over ancient leader Timur grave.
Turkestan city is attracting thousands of pilgrims every year. Turkestan city is also known as the Second Mecca of the East. It is extremely important for Kazakhstan Muslims.
Also there are other historical sites in Turkestan city: ancient bath house, Timur’s granddaughter mausoleum, three mausoleums of Kazakh khans (leaders).
You can go to Turkestan city by trains from Almaty city (about 20 hours). Another way is to make a road trip from nearby Shymkent city airport (about 2 hours).