The coordinates of the oblast centre, Shymkent: 42 of the northern latitude and 69 of the eastern longitude. Altitude of the area is 506 meters above sea level.
The highest point above sea level:
4236 m – Sairamsky Peak
The lowest point above sea level:
96 m – bottomland of Syrdariya River
Main rivers are Syrdariya, Arys, Badam, Boraldai, Bugun.
Shymkent is one of the most ancient cities in Kazakhstan founded in XII century at the intersection of the trade ways (Great Silk Road) to European Russia, Central Asia, West Siberia and China. Only the citadel remained from the old city in Shymkent. It looks like a hill with the height of up to 25 meters. The citadel with the area of around 4 ha was surrounded by the defencive walls and ditch.
History of Shymkent City
South Kazakhstan that is located at the intersection of the caravan roads of the Great Silk Road was considered to be one of the most developed regions in Central Asia in cultural and economic sense.
From the ancient times the fertile valleys of South Kazakhstan were actively developed by people. The evidences of this fact are the numerous historical monuments including the sites of ancient people and cultural global monuments – ancient town of Otyrar, Sauran and K.Yassaui mausoleum.
In 2001 under the aegis of UNESCO there was celebration of the 1500th anniversary of Turkestan, in 2004 the mausoleum of K.Yassaui was included into the list of the World cultural heritage by UNESCO.
At the beginning of the nineties Kazakhstan like other soviet republics went through the historical changes because of the collapse of the USSR. For the first time in many centuries Kazakhstan gained its real independence. In 2002 the oblast celebrated its 70th anniversary.
Basic sights of the city
There are 8 parks and squares in the city, three of them were founded already in the middle of XIX century and beginning of XX century. Kazakh and Russian drama theatres have been successful, there is also a philharmonic society named after S.Kaldayakov. Three culture palaces are never empty. It is possible to watch modern movies in three cinemas. Unique exhibits of the times of Kangui can be observed in the oblast regional museum. There is an art gallery. There are 28 libraries in the city.
Especially popular places in the city are Abai Park, unique dendropark, hippodrome, famous zoo, as well as fashionable and popular Aqua-Park and “Fantasy World” Park. There is also the entertainment centre “Bamzik”, ethnographic park “Ken-Baba” and Aqua-Park “Dolphin”. Small citizens of Shymkent can enjoy riding a train on the Youth Railway.
Dendropark of Shymkent
Today Shymkent (the capital of South Kazakhstan) is the largest cultural, scientific and educational centre. We suggest you visiting such wonderful places in Shymkent as, for example, Dendropark. It contains the unique collection of the plants from all over the world. Representatives of several hundreds of flora species are flourishing in the shady Dendropark. There is even a small lake in it!
Museums of Shymkent
If you are fond of old times and you reasonably think that in order to know the material and cultural history of South Kazakhstan it is necessary to visit a museum, then you must visit the recently rehabilitated Oblast Regional Museum of Shymkent City!
Besides, you can visit the museum in the memory of the victims of political repressions dedicated to one of the most tragic pages in the history of Kazakhstan in ХХ century.
Hippodrome and horse races in Shymkent
Do you love thrills and entertainment? This is quite enough in Shymkent! We recommend you to visit the hippodrome during one of the Kazakh holidays. You will see not only the traditional horse races but also amazing Kazakh national games on horses. Amongst them there is the kyz-kuu (a guy must pursue a girl and kiss her) or kokpar (it is necessary to throw a small goat’s carcass into the basket like in basketball).
Ethnic Park “Ken-Baba” – part of Shymkent history
If it is a summer sunny morning and you want some coolness, the ethnic park “Ken-Baba” with a wonderful pond with swans will amaze you. The ethnic park is located in the very heart of Shymkent City where you can also taste any meals from the oriental and European cuisine (there are numerous cafes on the territory of the park).
And if it is a hot midday, together with the children you can go to the new aqua-park “Dolphin”, which is located on the territory of Abai Park in order to spend some hours in the coolness of the big swimming pool.
“Fantasy World” Park
In evening time one of the popular places for entertainment in Shymkent is The “Fantasy World” Park (Republic Avenue). Here you can enjoy joyful splashes of fountains, various side-shows, café and a discotheque!
It is very convenient and fast to travel in Shymkent using the minibus taxis. In Shymkent, and in whole South-Kazakhstan oblast, travel fare for the minibus taxis is much lower than taxis. Minibus taxis start their journeys from the bus station and from the Lake almost in all the directions of SKO.
Food and Entertainment
“Caravan” Café is located in the ethic park “Ken-Baba”. Here you can eat the meals of Oriental and Russian cuisine in the warm atmosphere of comfort. Kazakh national dastarkhan will make you feel like a real oriental man. Besides, outside there is a snack bar, and if the weather is not nice, you will be comfortable in “Caravan” Restaurant. Bon appetite in any weather!
It is located in Kunayev Boulevard (near “Sapar” Hotel). It is open 24 hours seven days per week. Here you can play your favourite game and to have a meal or order drinks. Those players who have the highest points will be awarded with the money prizes!
Do you know that the third largest cinema in Kazakhstan is located in Shymkent (Zheltoksan Street)? The large cinema hall, Dolby Surround, and constantly renewed repertoire attract hundreds cinema amateurs from South Kazakhstan. Here you can also have a meal in the summer café and in the cosy snack bar inside the cinema. Welcome!
“Fantasy World” Park
One of the most popular entertainment places is “Fantasy World” Park. It is located in Republic Avenue (opposite to “Shymkent” Hotel). Here you can enjoy the hot discotheque, various side-shows for adults and children, sparkling splashes of fountains, cafes that can treat you to the oriental and European cuisine. And it is all accompanied by the wonderful joy of the coming people! The entrance is free of charge.
If you want to spend a quiet evening in a small cafe, please welcome to “Troy” Café (Tauke-Khan Street, opposite to “Kema” Hotel). Please take your time in tasting the local meals and listen to the soothing music and enjoy the coolness of the evening air. Have a nice time!
Administrative centre, Turkestan, is located in the western part of the oblast. In 1928 it was founded as Turkestan village. The area is 7.4 thousand km². Total population is 181.3 thousand people. In the north and north-east there is a mountain (Karatau), other sides are valleys.
The climate is continental, winters are soft and summers are hot. Average temperature in January is – 4-6ºC, in July – 26-28ºC. There are such animals as wolves, fox, hares etc. There is light food industry in the region, as well as there are companies that process oil and refined oil, companies that manufacture concrete structures (15.4 tons), companies that process the seeds of the cotton-plant (9124 t).
History of Turkestan
The ancient name of the town is Yassy, since 16 century – Turkestan. Until the nineteenth century it was the residence of Kazakh khans. According to the materials of the archaeological studies, the time of the town foundation is approximately the middle of the first millennium A.D. Before the Mongolian invasion in 13-14 centuries, the territory of the town included only Kultobe Square and the adjacent area. The territory where today there is the khanaka of Akhmed Yassaui was the cemetery of Yassy settlement. After the fall of Shavgar, Yassy as the result of the invasion of Karakytai became the centre of the area and the main trade point on the road to Shymkent and Sygnak. The location of the town on the ancient caravan road (the branch of Great Silk Road), the trade rode between Deshti Kypchak and agricultural oases of Central Asia (Khorezm, Shash (Tashkent), Bukhara, Samarkand), nice geographical location, pilgrimage to the grave were promoting the trade and development of the settlement.