What to See in Kyzylorda (Kazakhstan)

According to Bag Lib, Kyzylorda is the administrative center of the Kyzylorda region. The city stands on the right bank of the Syr Darya River.

Kyzylorda grew out of the Ak-Mechet fortress founded in the early 19th century. The fortress was built on the caravan routes from Russia to Central Asia by the ruler of the Kokand Khanate – Omar Khan. In 1853, Ak-Mechet was conquered by Russian troops and renamed Fort Perovsky. In 1925, the city became the capital of the Kazakh ASSR and was renamed Kyzylorda. In 1927, the capital of the Kazakh ASSR was moved to Alma-Ata.

From Kyzylorda you can go to the city of Baikonur , where the world’s first and largest Cosmodrome is located, and to the capital of the Kazakh part of the Aral Sea – the city of Aralsk . In addition, ancient settlements are scattered throughout the Kyzylorda region along the Syrdarya River. The most famous of them are the settlements of the 10th century Zhankent, where famous Muslim figures lived, Dzhent, an important trading center of the pre-Mongolian time, Sauran, which was the capital of the Ak Orda (White Horde) in the 13th century, and Yangikent, which in the 10-12 centuries was the headquarters of the Oguz rulers. Also on the border of the Kyzylorda and South Kazakh regions, the memorial complex of Korkyt Ata, the legendary Turkic songwriter of the 9th century, is interesting. Korkyt Ata invented many musical instruments. One of them – kobyz – became the basis of this sculptural composition. The memorial was erected in 1980.

Semey (Semipalatinsk), East Kazakhstan region (Kazakhstan)

The city of Semipalatinsk (in Kazakh Semey) is located in the East Kazakhstan region, 240 km northwest of the administrative center of Ust-Kamenogorsk.

The Semipalatinsk fortress was founded in 1718, becoming one of the Russian Irtysh fortifications. City status was granted in 1728. Semipalatinsk is known for the fact that in the 20th century the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site was built here, where in 1949 for the first time in the USSR a nuclear weapon was tested. Numerous nuclear tests that followed it caused damage not only to nature, but also to the health of the local population. The monument “Stronger than death”, which was installed in the city in 2001, reminds of the tragic fate of local residents. Semipalatinsk – an ancient city, the remains of the Semipalatinsk fortress of the 18th century and architectural monuments of the 19th century have been preserved here.

To the north of Semipalatinsk on the border with Russia is the Semey Ormany State Forest Natural Reserve. The reserve was formed for the conservation and restoration of relic ribbon forests of the Irtysh region, steppe kolochny forests and small-leaved low-mountain forests. Elk, roe deer, wild boar, wolf, fox, corsac fox, badger and pika live in ribbon forests. Birds are dominated by larks, gray partridge, steppe eagle and steppe harrier. Of the rare Red Book species in the reserve, there are black stork, whooper swan, osprey, golden eagle, white-tailed eagle, saker falcon, demoiselle crane, peregrine falcon, serpent-eater, red-throated goose, spoonbill and argali.

Taraz, Zhambyl region (Kazakhstan)

Taraz is the administrative center of the Zhambyl region, located on the southern borders of Kazakhstan. This is one of the oldest cities in the state. Taraz was first mentioned in Chinese chronicles under the 1st century BC, and in the 6th century AD. acquires the status of a nodal center on the northern branch of the Great Silk Road. In the Middle Ages, the city became one of the largest cities in the Karakhanid state. Numerous palaces and caravanserais were built here at that time. Taraz was significantly destroyed during the Tatar-Mongol invasion. Today Taraz with its monuments of medieval architecture is one of the main tourist attractions in Kazakhstan.

In the central part of the city, the Karakhan mausoleum, erected in the 11th century over the grave of the ruler of Taraz, and the Shamansur mausoleum, which was built over the grave of the governor of the Mongol khans in the 13th century, have been preserved. In the southeastern part of Taraz, one can see the Tekturmas architectural complex of the 10th-14th centuries, where Sultan Mahmud Khan was buried. Also of interest are the Abdykadyr Mosque of the early 20th century and the Historical Museum of Taraz , where you can learn about the history of the region.

15 km west of Taraz, such shrines of the Muslim world as the mausoleums of Babadzhi-Khatun and Aisha-Bibi have been preserved. Many pilgrims come here every year. The Mausoleum of Aisha-Bibi dates back to the 11th-12th centuries; it is believed that it was erected by one of the rulers of the Karakhanid dynasty over the grave of his bride Aisha-Bibi. The mausoleum is entirely lined with carved terracotta, which makes it a unique architectural monument not only in Kazakhstan, but throughout Central Asia. Next to it is the mausoleum of Babaji-Khatun, which was also built in the 11th-12th centuries.

40 km east of Taraz, at the foot of the Kyrgyz Alatau, is the Aktyras palace complex of the 8th-9th centuries. The complex is built of baked bricks.

Taraz, Zhambyl region (Kazakhstan)