2 days
Duration
April till October
Season

The Silk Road tour of Kazakhstan

The Silk Road tour of Kazakhstan covers several oldest historical cities – Otrar, Turkestan and Shymkent. The tour lasts for 2 days. First of all you will learn everything about the Silk Road heritage of South Kazakhstan . The highlight of the trip is an ancient-fortress city of Sauran. The city peacefully stands in the middle of the steppe. Time had completely ruined the city. As a result people started to reconstruct it.  For this reason serious excavation works are taking place there.

The Great Silk Road played a major role in the development of economic and cultural relations. It covered population of Asia Minor, Central Asia, the Caucasus and China. It served as a corridor for technological, cultural and religious exchange.

In 2003 UNESCO has included Mausoleum of Khodja Ahmed Yasawi to the list of the World cultural Heritage. Do you want to learn more about this mausoleum?

Mausoleum of Khodja Ahmed Yasawi

The mausoleum takes place on the burial site of the Sufi poet Khoja Ahmed Yasawi. He had great authority among Muslims in the region and had an impact on Islam in Central Asia. Another key point is that people have built the mausoleum more than 200 years after the death of the preacher.  For the reason that Tamerlane has ordered (in the late 14th – early 15th century) this construction.

Surrounding area

The complex itself includes not only the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, but also many other constructions. They were built in surrounding areas in different years. They are medieval bathhouse, khilvet. Khoja Ahmed Yasawi lived in the khilvet after turning 63 years. Moreover, there are the mausoleum of Tamerlane’s great granddaughter and daughter of the astronomer Ulugbek Rabii – Sultan Begim, alongside with the mausoleum of the Kazakh khan Esim, Shildekhan. Other historical monuments, among which is the underground house for thoughts Kumshik-ata. All things considered the complex is sometimes called not only as historical sightseeing, but also as historical and cultural reservation.

Details

Duration 2 days/ 1 night
Season April to end October
Route Shymkent –Otrar  – Turkestan- Sauran

 

1

Day 1

Shymkent – Otrar – Turkestan

Arrival to Shymkent by plane or train in the morning.
Meeting with the guide and transfer to Shymkent for city tour.
The third largest city in Kazakhstan in terms of number of inhabitants Shymkent is one of the most ancient cities in Kazakhstan – founded in XII century at the intersection of the trade ways to European Russia, Central Asia, West Siberia and China. City sightseeing starting from Historical museum – one of the best in Central Asia, which tells the ancient and cultural history of South Kazakhstan.
During the city tour, we visit the biggest mosque in Southern Kazakhstan with its unusual architectural style and one of the most beautiful buildings of the city of Shymkent. Shymkent is also well-known for its booming Southern market where you can find various local goods and feel the vibe of Eastern bazaar.

In the afternoon, departure to archeological site of ancient commercial oasis Otrar also known as Farab (1BC-15AD)

Otrar was an important trading center of the Great Silk Road and the capital of the Great Tamerlan in 15th century AD;
It was a very advanced city with its own irrigation and waterpipe system. Otrar was famous all over Central Asia for its pottery workshops and glass vases. In 2001 during the excavation works new sorts of silver coins were found. They thought to be originated from Bukhara, China and other Silk Road destinations. 
In 2001-2004 UNESCO, Kazakhstan and Japan conducted a joint project on conservation and preservation of the ancient city of Otrar: its mosque, bathes, pottery workshops. Right now Otrar is known as a city-museum included in the tentative list of UNESCO world heritage.

During the excursion at Otrar tourists will find excavations on the site of an ancient city that helped researchers to learn a lot about the infrastructure of the city. Tourists will be able to see that Otrar had a clear layout of the streets, quarters, which could be accessed through three fortress gates, equipped with throw-over bridges across the moat.
Excursion at Shaulder museum where gathered most of Otrar’s excavational findings; on the way to museum visit Arystan Bab mausoleum.

Departure to Turkestan city (95 km). Check-in, overnight.

2

Day 2

Turkestan – Sauran – Shymkent

Meeting with the guide and start of our Turkestan city excursion.

Turkestan visit starts with the main sightseeing of the city, the most well-known in Kazakhstan UNESCO world heritage – The complex of Hodja Ahmed Yassawi (14th century). This complex includes mausoleum, citadel, the ancient bath complex, the fortress wall, Juma mosque. The mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yassaui is an unsurpassed masterpiece of medieval architecture. This is an amazing complex of palaces and temples from 30 different rooms and halls. 

In the afternoon, we transfer to ancient city-fortress Sauran.
Sauran (12-18.cc) used to be a strategic and trading city and from 12th c.c to 16th c.c. capital of Kazakh-mongol khanate – Ak Horde. In 14th c.c Sauran became a military fortress, its location on the Silk way promoted prosperity; The most interesting part of Sauran – iunderground channels of water.
Interesting fact is that Sauran in arab language means “Which is big”. Indeed it lies on a territory of 33 hectares! 

Transfer back to Shymkent city.

Transport: There are five times per week late evening flight from Shymkent to Almaty. There is also an option to take evening fast train from Shymkent with an early arrival to Almaty.

Late evening flights from Shymkent to Astana are 3 times per week & daytime flights 5 times per week.

Aksu-Zhabagly