One of the most famous cities in Central Asia is located in southern part of Kazakhstan. Turkestan is the most ancient Kazakh city, it’s 1500 years old. Turkestan is the cultural center of the country and its God blessing. Majority of sightseeing places in Central Asia are related to the Great Silk Road; the finest examples of architectural monuments and art, that were brought by traders from all over the world, constitute invaluable cultural heritage. Some countries are luckier than the others; for example, Uzbekistan possesses plenty of ancient trade centers but Kazakhstan has just one – Turkestan. Modern Turkestan isn’t only the cultural center of the country, but one of the most significant places of pilgrimage in Central Asia.
Turkestan was established on intersection of trade roads; Yasli (the first name) was a well-fortified city. Turkestan reached its peak of fame in 12th century, when Ahmed Yasawi moved there. Ahmed Yasawi was a poet and Sufi who greatly influenced development of Islam in Central Asia. The main place of interest in the city is Mausoleum of Khawaja Ahmed Yasawi. Construction of the mausoleum started in 1395 above the last resting place of famous persona in Islamic world. “Kazakh Mecca” is a very unique example of Timurid architectural style; there’re quite a few buildings with ill-fitting purpose for a mausoleum. Why would a burial need a library, conference rooms, and a refectory? All parts are connected by a large collegium under the biggest preserved cupola in Central Asia. Historians aren’t sure about the purpose of the mausoleum. The construction process stopped in 1405 with death of Tamerlan, but started Timurid architectural style. Another major architectural monument is Arystan-Baba Mausoleum. Arystan-Baba was a follower of Prophet Muhammad and spiritual mentor of Ahmed Yasawi. As you can see the cultural center of Kazakhstan is centered around religious monuments and relics; religion is an integral part of cultural heritage, thus, Turkestan is an amazing place to start your journey around Kazakhstan with.