Turkistan the Mecca of Kazakhstan

At 164 km away and over 2.5 to 3 hours drive from Shymkent you will find Turkistan. One of the most important pilgrimage sites and architectural monuments in Kazakhstan. Here stands the mausoleum of the first holy Turkish Muslim man Kozha Akhmed Yassaui. The mausoleum was built by Timur in the 14th century. Yassaui was a Sufi teacher and poet. He came to (then Yasy) Turkistan in the 12th century.

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Turkistan: the same as going to Mecca 3 times

He was loved by people because he could convey Sufi well in poems in Turkish. His original tomb was a place of pilgrimage after his death in 1266 before Timur built the large mausoleum. They say in Kazakhstan that going to Turkistan three times is practically equivalent to going to Mecca. Because it is such an important place for Kazakhstanis, it is definitely worth visiting. Admission costs 500 tenge. As a woman, you must wear a headscarf, but you can borrow these from the mausoleum. Should you prefer not to wear a “used” headscarf, please bring your own scarf or something similar. As a woman, also provide a cardigan to cover your shoulders.

On the way to Turkistan, we made a stop at mausoleum of Arystan Bab. A teacher of Koja Akhmet Yassaui. Admission here costs 500 Tenge per person. Also along the way we encountered – unfamiliar to Dutch people – road users: camels. We encountered them regularly.



Turkistan can easily be done as a day trip from Shymkent. It cost us 30,000 tenge with fine car with air conditioning – no unnecessary luxury- , friendly driver and delicious vegetarian lunch packed by our hotel Orbita. You do spend a lot of time in the car . Although our driver was a bit on the slow side.It could definitely be faster.