The Spirit of Great History: Taraz-Shymkent-Turkestan

  • Season

    March - September

  • Duration

    4 Days

The tour takes you to the most ancient cities in Kazakhstan, located at the junction of a nomadic and sedentary civilization. For centuries, caravans from China to European countries passed through this land. This historical and cultural tour takes an opportunity to visit mausoleums, unique architectural complexes and ancient settlements.

Within the tour to the South of Kazakhstan, travelers will visit Turkestan, an old capital of Kazakh Khanate where one can see Islamic architectural complexes and in the first of all the grand mausoleum of Ahmed Yasawi. Besides you will have a unique opportunity to visit 'night bazaar'. In the suburbs of Shymkent, the third largest city of Kazakhstan, there are many pearls of architecture and holy sites scattered around. 

The Spirit of Great History day 1

1 Day


Arrival in Taraz. Check into a hotel.

Driving from Taraz to Akyrtas (47 km)

Akyrtas is a mysterious medieval palace compleх. According to archeologists the construction is dated back to the second half of XIII century. The complex is composed of large processed stone blocks. In 2004, archaeological excavations and restoration works started here, the ancient appearance of this building is going to be restored.

Visit the other unique architectural complex - Tekturmas mausoleum, built in the 14th century on the right bank of the Talas River. This area is considered the burial place of the Sultan of Mahmudkhan, the great commander of the Karakhanid empire. The mausoleum is one of the ancient places of worship. In 2002, a new mausoleum was built in the old place.

Visit Karakhan Mausoleum built on XI century, on the grave of the governor of big territory and founder of huge Karakhanid empire. The mausoleum is located in the central part of Taraz city. There are many legends about personality of Karakhan, most of them associated with young and beautiful Aisha, her mausoleum is located about 20 km away from Taraz.

Sightseeing tour to historical and cultural center “Kone Taraz”, where tourists will see the Monument to Taraz melody, House of Friendship, Observation Tower, Mynbulak Alley, history  and archeological excavations, Kone TarazMuseum, Monument to Zhambyl Zhabayev.

The Spirit of Great History day 2

2 Day


After breakfast departure to Shymkent (180 km).

On the way to Shymkent visit Aisha-bibi Mausoleum –  the only architectural monument in Kazakhstan and Central Asia that is fully lined with carved terracotta tiles. Mahmoud Karakhan Shah built a mausoleum as a sign of love for his beloved Aisha.

Arrival to Shymkent. Check in to a hotel. Lunch.

Sightseeing tour in Shymkent, including visiting of local bazar, Independence Park, Baidibek Bi Monument, Dendropark (arboretum park), Historical Museum which embodied not only the history, life and culture of the ancient cities of the Great Silk Road, such as Otrar, Sairam, Turkestan, and others, but also traditions, customs, arts, crafts, civilizations and special features of the spiritual identity of the Kazakhs.

Overnight at the hotel.

The Spirit of Great History day 3

3 Day


Drive to Turkestan. (170 km, 3.5-4 hours). On the way visit Arystan bab mausoleum. According to legends Arystan Baba, a religious mystic, was the recipient of Mohammad's amanat beads or persimmon stone. When he was in Sayram he then passed these on to the eleven-year-old Khodja Akhmed Yassaui who became his pupil. 

Visit the ruins of Otrar city. The ancient settlement at Otrar was first excavated in 1969. There were a number of brick structures, including a palace, mosques, a bath-house and ovens. One of the residents of Otrar or Farab at that time was the philosopher Abu Nasr al Farabi. A man of encyclopaedic breadth of interest - he was a philosopher, poet, composer, linguist, mathematician, doctor, agronomist and botanist. Otrar is also known for its heroic but ultimately unsuccessful defence against Genghis Khan’s forces.                                                                                        

Arrival to Turkestan. Lunch. Visit the mausoleum of Khodja Ahmed Yassaui. The structure was commissioned in 1389 by Timur, who ruled the area as part of the expansive Timurid Empire, to replace a smaller 12th-century mausoleum of the famous Turkic poet and Sufi mystic, Khoja Ahmed Yasawi (1093–1166). However, construction was halted with the death of Timur in 1405. The mausoleum of Khoja Ahmet Yasawi is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Drive back to Shymkent (2 hours). Overnight at the hotel.

The Spirit of Great History day 4

4 Day


Free time.

Flight back home.

Tour includes

  • Accommodation in a twin standard room in a 4* hotel -1 night in Taraz, 2 nights in Shymkent;
  • Full board meal 3 lunches, 3 dinners (except Day 4)
  • All transfers and ground transportation during the program;
  • English speaking guide;
  • Entrance tickets to places as per program;
  • Water 1L per person daily;
  • Visa (can be arranged for additional payment);
  • Insurance policy;
  • International and domestic flights;
  • Meal - Day 4;
  • Any extra activities and services not included in the program;
  • Personal expenses

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