The Turkistan Region is located among the arid steppes in the south of Kazakhstan. The region's main city – Turkistan – boasts a 1500-year history and attracts thousands of Muslim pilgrims every year.


In ancient times, Turkistan (which then was called Yassy) stood on the Silk Road and served as a center of trade, scholarship, culture, and religion. In the 12th century, there lived Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, an Islamic preacher and philosopher, whom all Turkic people consider a saint. The memory of Yasawi was immortalized by the great Tamerlane who built a magnificent mausoleum over his grave. This mausoleum is now the region's main attraction and the reason so many tourists come to Turkistan in the first place. By the 16th century, Turkistan got its current name and became the capital of the powerful Kazakh Khanate. At the beginning of the 21st century, Turkistan looked more like a typical Central Asian provincial town. However, after 2018 the city began to change.

Why is the Turkistan Region worth visiting?

The city center has been turned into a huge tourist complex with museums, hotels, theaters, shops and, of course, historical sights. Despite the arid climate, the city has a lot of greenery. There is even a water channel, which the locals call the «Kazakh Venice.» Modern-day Turkistan is a beautiful city that perfectly blends masterpieces of ancient architecture and futuristic buildings.

During your visit, don't be limited only to the city of Turkistan. Take your time to travel around the region, which is packed with interesting places to see. Here you can see the ruins of other ancient cities, such as Otrar and Sauran. The mysterious Akmeshit Cave and numerous mausoleums are also popular among pilgrims. Nature lovers should visit the Aksu-Jabagly Nature Reserve and the Sairam-Ugam National Park. Wellness tourism is also actively developing in the Turkistan region. Most resorts are located in the Saryagash region, which is famous for its thermal and mineral springs.


updated: 16 january 2023

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