Coat of arms

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South Kazakhstan Province (Kazakh: Оңтүстік Қазақстан облысы, Oñtüstik Qazaqstan oblısı) is the southernmost province of Kazakhstan, with a population of 2,282,500 people. Its capital is Shymkent, with 539,600 people. Other cities in South Kazakhstan include Turkestan, Sayram, Kentau, Arys, Shardara, Jetysu, Saryag'ash and Lenger. This province and Atyrau Province are Kazakhstan's two smallest provinces; both are about 117,300 square kilometers in area. South Kazakhstan borders the neighboring country of Uzbekistan (and is very near the Uzbekistan capital Tashkent), as well as three other Kazakhstan provinces: Karagandy Province (to the north), Kyzylorda Province (to the west) and Jambyl Province (to the east). The Syr Darya passes through the province, on its way to the Aral Sea. Also, an oil pipeline runs from Turkmenabat, Turkmenistan to Omsk, Russia (where it connects with a larger, Siberian pipeline) through South Kazakhstan. Oil, lead and zinc are refined in Shymkent.

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Coat of arms

South Kazakhstan Province (Kazakh: Оңтүстік  Қазақстан облысы, Oñtüstik Qazaqstan oblısı) is the southernmost province of Kazakhstan, with a population of 2,282,500 people. Its capital is Shymkent, with 539,600 people. Other cities in South Kazakhstan include Turkestan, Sayram, Kentau, Arys, Shardara, Jetysu, Saryag'ash and Lenger. This province and Atyrau Province are Kazakhstan's two smallest provinces; both are about 117,300 square kilometers in area. South Kazakhstan borders the neighboring country of Uzbekistan (and is very near the Uzbekistan capital Tashkent), as well as three other Kazakhstan provinces: Karagandy Province (to the north), Kyzylorda Province (to the west) and Jambyl Province (to the east). The Syr Darya passes through the province, on its way to the Aral Sea. Also, an oil pipeline runs from Turkmenabat, Turkmenistan to Omsk, Russia (where it connects with a larger, Siberian pipeline) through South Kazakhstan. Oil, lead and zinc are refined in Shymkent.

The South Kazakhstan Province is the most densely populated of Kazakhstan's many regions. This derives from the oblast's gentler climate, better irrigation infrastructure, and proximity to historical population centers [such as Uzbekistan's Tashkent and the Silk Road cities of Samarkand and Bukhara]. SKO is also the fastest growing of Kazakhstan's Province, due to two main factors. One is the birthrate among traditional Kazakh and Uzbek families, where families of five to eight children are commonplace. The other is the exodus of cheap migrant labor from northern Uzbekistan. These migrant workers sometimes become full-fledged immigrants, and if they are ethnic Kazakhs this process is easily green-lighted through local governments for an (unacknowledged and under-the-table) fee.

As such, South Kazakhstan Province is the only province with a demographic breakdown where ethnic Russians are not in the first or second most populous categories. Census results are old and made using Soviet methods that served propaganda over accuracy, but they still point to Kazakhs being the most populous, closely followed by Uzbeks, with Russians bringing in a distant third.

The population of Southern Kazakhstan, despite obvious numerical prevalence of Kazakhs (which has considerably amplified from the beginning 1990 and now the share of Kazakhs in the population makes an order of 72%), differs a considerable ethnolanguage variety. So in the area population it is traditionally wide (about 18% of all population) the Uzbeks making a considerable part of the population of some cities and areas of area are presented (to Sauries, Turkestan, Aksukent, Ikan), live Russian (basically in the city of Shymkent though their share was considerably reduced for last 20 years from more than 23% in 1980 to nearby 6% now), Tadjiks, Koreans, Kurds live also. Main languages are Kazakh, Russian (including as means of international dialogue) and Uzbek.

[Historically speaking, South Kazakhstan Province is home to Kazakhstan's oldest and greatest marvels. Two thousand years ago it was part of the northern border of the Persian Empire. It owes its long history of habitation to a mixing of Persian culture and science with the native Turkic/Mongol tribal clans. South Kazakhstan Province was part of the Satrap of Sogdiana.

Some places of historical interest include the cities of Turkestan, Otrar and Sayram. Sayram was the birthplace of Ahmed Yasavi (1103–66), a great Sufic scholar and author that lived and worked throughout Central Asia. He is entombed in a mausoleum complex that stands in present-day Turkestan, and which has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It was commissioned by Amir Temur (Tamerlane) to increase his standing among the area. The mausoleum was built by Persian masters, though it was left unfinished with the death of Tamerlane. The original scaffolding that would have been used to apply the colored-tile still protrudes from the front entrance.

[edit]Administrative divisions

The province is administratively divided into eleven districts and the cities of Shymkent, Arys, Kentau, and Turkestan.[2]

Baydibek District, with the administrative center in the selo of Shayan;

Kazygurt District, the selo of Kazygurt;

Maktaaral District, the town of Zhetisai;

Ordabasy District, the selo of Temirlan;

Otyrar District, the selo of Shauldir;

Saryagash District, the town of Saryagash;

Sayram District, the selo of Aksukent;

Shardara District, the town of Shardara;

Sozak District, the selo of Sholakkorgan;

Tole Bi District, the town of Lenger;

Tulkibas District, the selo of Turar Ryskulov.

Living and working in bustling metropolises in Kazakhstan or abroad, life moves at unprecedented speeds. Smart phones and iPads give us instant access to information and people. And we live in a world of entertaining diversions where a minute of silence makes us feel uneasy. So it is easy to forget the value of history and roots. It is easy to overlook the beauty of the ancient.

The south of Kazakhstan offers us the opportunity to remember the value of the ancient and to appreciate what came before us with its sweeping landscapes and ancient structures that have withstood history, witnessed revolutions and remained steadfast in form and spirit as the world has changed around them. These are holy and sacred places preserved by each new generation.

In the south, you'll find ancient towns and preserved mausoleums and see untamed horses chasing each other across Kazakhstan's vast steppe. You'll find enchanting lakes, green forests with mighty mountains and cool breezes that blow down the mountainsides. The southern section of Kazakhstan offers truly amazing scenery and an open, fresh air that tickles the throat. All of this welcomes those who enjoy beauty and can appreciate the cultures, landscapes and structures that have been around for centuries.

EdgeKz recently returned to the region to pick out some of the highlights of what those with a few days and an adventurous spirit will experience in one of the most unique corners of Kazakhstan.

Hodja Ahmet Yassaui Mausoleum

The Hodja Ahmet Yassaui Mausoleum was built in 1398 by the order of Timur the Lame. It is said that Timur murdered all those who have had their hand in building the Mausoleum so that no one would reveal the secrets of the construction of the holy wonder. And they must have been valuable secrets as the structure stands today as the centerpiece of the ancient city of Turkestan.

Hodja Ahmet Yassaui, for whom the mausoleum is named, was an active Islamic preacher who is purported to have lived for 126 years. It is believed that this Sufi thinker lived half of that time in a specially constructed underground facility about 100 meters from the Mausoleum. He lived in the underground bunker on the belief that since Muhammad lived only 63 years, Yasaui didn't deserve to see daylight for more than that time either. There Yassaui wrote Holy Scriptures, expounded on the imperfections of the world, called for kindness among people and unveiled the wonders of Islam.

When approaching Turkestan, the Hodja Ahmet Yassaui Mausoleum mesmerizes even before you arrive as buildings of more than four stories are prohibited in Turkestan to allow the ancient wonder to dominate. The building itself is 39 meters high, 62.5 meters in length and 46.5 meters in width. The structure attracts thousands of visitors per year and in 2003 was added to UNESCO's World Heritage Site list.

The mausoleum's main entrance's arch is 18.2 meters tall, which is quite impressive when looking up while standing in the entrance. Inside the first room is the main Kazandyk room, which features an 18-meter dome that curves 36 meters above the ground. In the middle of the structure is a "Taikazan", or huge boiler, that weighs two tons and can hold up to three tons of water. It is said that water could be sanctified if saints spoke to it for enough time and that plants could either die or grow quickly depending on what kind of water was used in cultivation. And this enormous boiler was for that sole purpose – to sanctify the water and then wash sins away with it. There is also a burial vault, a mosque, a well, a dining room, a library, and the tombs of famous Khans and their Bi's (Bi's were a form of "advisors" and the word is pronounced "bee"). It is said that 21 Khans were buried on the territory of the Mausoleum. One of them was the Abylai Khan. He was one of the first Khans, who, with the help of the Russian Empire, defeated the Mongolian ancestors in the 18th century and united the divided Kazakh tribes.

The entire structure has 34 rooms. The walls are two meters thick and the whole construction was built without a single nail. Numerous researchers, such as the famous Soviet archeologist Mikhail Gerasimov who was sent on an expedition by Stalin to research the life and deeds of Timur the Lame were unable to find out why modern scientists could not reproduce the same type of ceramic walls as were produced back in the 14th century. The complex also includes a Hamam (eastern sauna, or steam bath). The facility is constructed to keep three rooms at certain temperatures, without doors. It's quite mesmerizing how the rooms preserve certain temperatures without doors separating them. There's the steam room, the cold room and the main room. The walls are one meter thick and the doorways are only about 150 centimeters tall. Perhaps this is the ancient secret – to keep the doorways low and make thick walls. There is also a drying room at the entrance, which when the Hamam is fully functioning generates air along underground mines to dry visitors who stand on small wooden bars and allow the air to blow over them.


The Hodja Ahmet Yassaui Mausoleum is one the world's most precious historical sites. It heard the cries and whispers of the ancestors of Kazakhstan's Khans throughout centuries and carries their spirit this day.


When Traveling to Turkestan...


If you are travelling to Turkestan, make sure to learn a few Kazakh words. Locals in the region really enjoy and respond well to the relatively small number of Europeans and other foreigners who can speak a bit of the native tongue. And if you are lucky enough to find a translator, the locals are happy to share their stories about the local Batyrs – or heroes - that once hailed from Turkestan (ancient name – Yassy). Turkestan is a small town and it's easy to find your way around. The mausoleum is in the town center and can be seen around Turkestan. The best hotels are the Turkestan and Yassaui hotels. The two hotels are across the street from one another and about a 10-minute walk from the Mausoleum. Make sure to also visit the new Ethnographic Museum which is right next to the Mausoleum, where you can learn about the history of Kazakhstan from the Stone Age to modern days, including the Soviet era and the latest plans for the town. Every year Turkestan hosts thousands of Muslims who come from all over the world to holy lands seeking blessings from the shrines of the Hodja Ahmet Yassaui Mausoleum.


 юге Казахстана/ единств.область выращивает хлопок, пшеницу , занимается земледелием, животноводством –коневодство, верблюдоводство, выращивают овощи фрукты и бахчевые культуры , Шымкент- индустриальный город –много предприятии –и госуд-ые и частные и т.д. более 130 национальн. проживают и т.д .

South Kazakhstan / edinstv.oblast grows cotton, wheat, engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry, breeding of horses, camels, fruits and vegetables are grown melons, Shymkent-industrial city, many enterprise and gov't's and private, etc. More than 130 nationalities. live, etc..

Southern Kazakhstan


General information

Southern Kazakhstan includes Almaty, Zhambyl, Southern-Kazakhstani and Kyzylorda regions. The region takes large area, practically the whole southern part of the country. Major rivers are: Syrdarya, Chu, Ili, Karatal, Aksu, Lepsy. The biggest lakes are: Aral Sea, Balkhash, Alakol, Sasykkol.


Climate of Southern Kazakhstan is mild and very comfortable for leisure, treatment, climbing, skiing and hunting.



Aksu-Zhabagly is the oldest reserve in Kazakhstan and also the first one in Central Asia, which received a status of Bioshphere reserve of UNESCO. It is located in the spurs of Western Tien-Shan on the altitude of 1,000-4,280 meters above sea level.


Aksu-Zhabagaly is the richest treasury of rare, disappearing and endemic animal and plant species. Argali, mountain goats, Siberian stag, and roe, lynx and snow leopard, wolves and foxes, bears and porcupines, stone martens and ermine can be found here.

Ancient rock paintings, representing domestic animals, scenes of hunting and life of ancient people have survived here on mountain slopes. In shale deposits on paleontological sites there are imprints of plants, fishes, insects and lizards, ancient inhabitants of the planet.




The city of Turkestan (Yassy) was a spiritual and political center of Turkic-speaking nations of a vast region of Desht-i-Kipchak (Kipchak spteppe) and was an ancient capital of Kazakh khans. Today, Turkestan is 1,500 years old.

The main sight of Turkestan is the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, which has been built in XVI century by order of Timur; it is masterpiece of medieval architecture.



People believe that the way to Turkestan should go through Mausoleum of Arystan-Bab, the teacher of Ahmed Yasawi, famous religious mystic, who lived in XII century.



Ancient city of Otrar (IV century VC) was a major trade center.

Its famous library did not yield the wealth of other ancient libraries: Alexandria and Carthage. A world-famous medieval philosopher Al-Farabi was born and has been creating in this city. In the late XIII century Mongolian troops have destroyed this wonderful city to earth.



The mighty fortress of Sauran (X-XVIII cc) was famous with its unique water supply system. Due to availability of water and food the city could have withstood a siege for several months.



Mazar of Domalak-Ana, which was built in an honor of “Great Babishar Mother, daughter of Aksultan”, clairvoyant, endowed with the gift of prediction, is located not far away from the city of Turkestan on the hill in steppe. According to legends, three Kazakh Zhuz (clans), are descendants of her grandchildren. A magnificent memorial complex of white marble was built here in 1998. Two stones, which used to be on the grave, are now considered to be sacred. It is said that only righteous man can pass between them.


South Kazakhstan’s most vibrant city, with a booming bazaar and lively downtown, Shymkent has more of a Central Asian buzz on its leafy streets than anywhere else in the country. Stop here to soak up the atmosphere, eat well and cheaply, and head out to nearby places of interest including Turkistan, Sayram, Otrar and the Aksu-Dzhabagly Reserve.

The Mongols razed a minor Silk Road stop here; the Kokand khanate built a frontier fort in the 19th century; Russia took it in 1864; and the whole place was rebuilt in Soviet times. Shymkent smelts lead, makes cigarettes and refines oil, but it’s best knownfor Kazakhstan’s best beer, Shymkentskoe Pivo. The population today is about half Kazakh, a quarter Russian and 15% Uzbek. Mosquitoes are an irritant from late June to late July.

Coordinates: 42°19′0″N 69°35′45″E

Country Kazakhstan

Province South Kazakhstan Province

Founded 12th century


 • Akim (mayor) Kayrat Moldaseyitov


 • Total 347 km2 (134 sq mi)

Elevation 506 m (1,660 ft)

Population (2011)Estimation[1]

 • Total 637,800

Time zone BTT (UTC+6)

Postal code 160000

One of the central districts (view from citadel of ancient city)

Historical region "Old City"(view from ancient city's citadel)

Night Shymkent

Shymkent (Kazakh: Шымкент / Şımkent), formerly known as Chimkent (Russian: Чимкент) until 1993, is the capital city of South Kazakhstan Province, the most populated region in Kazakhstan. It is the third most populous city in Kazakhstan behind Almaty and Astana with a population of 629,600 (2011-02-01).[1] A major railroad junction on the Turkestan-Siberia Railway, the city is also a notable cultural centre, with an international airport. It is situated 690 km west of Almaty and 120 km to the north of Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Shymkent was founded in the 12th century[2] as a caravanserai to protect the Silk Road town of Sayram, 10 km to the east. Shymkent grew as a market center for trade between Turkic nomads and the settled Sogdians. It was destroyed several times: by Genghis Khan, soldiers from the southern Khanates, and by nomad attacks. Once part of the Khanate of Kokand, it became part of the Emirate of Bukhara in 1810 and was then annexed by the Russian Empire in 1864. It was renamed Chernyaev in 1914 and renamed Shymkent in 1924. Following the Russian conquest, Shymkent was a city of trade between nomadic Turks and sedentary Turks, and was famous for its kumis.[3]

There was a gulag located near Shymkent, and many Russian-speaking people came to the area via imprisonment.[4]

The name Shymkent comes from two words: shym meaning "turf, and kent meaning "city". Shymkent and Chimkent have identical translations.

After Kazakhstan gained independence, the city was renamed Shymkent in 1993 as part of the government’s campaign to apply Kazakh names to cities. The formal spelling of Шымкент (Shymkent) as codified in Kazakhstan's Constitution goes against the Russian spelling rules of never having the letter "ы" follow the letter "ш". As a result, the new name Шымкент (Shymkent) is used only in Kazakhstan, while Russia and some other countries using Russian language continue to use the original spelling


Shymkent features a borderline continental climate and mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Dsa/Csa). Shymkent features hot, relatively dry summers and cold winters. However, winters here are noticeably warmer than in cities such as Almaty and Astana, with the mean monthly temperature during the city’s coldest month (January) averaging around -1 C. Shymkent averages just under 600 mm of precipitation annually.


Kazakhs 64.76%

Russians 14.52%

Uzbeks 13.70%

Tatars 1.54%

Others 5.48% (Ukrainians 0.54%, Koreans 1.00%)[6]

According to the census of 2011, the city had 637,800 inhabitants.[7]


Formerly dominated by lead mining, industrial growth began in the 1930s. A lead smelter was opened in Shymkent in 1938,[8] and the city also has industries producing refined zinc, processed karakul pelts, textiles, foodstuffs, and pharmaceuticals. Also, the city has a medium size refinery. Refinery is owned and operated by PetroKazakhstan.

[edit]Main sights

Ordabasy circle, site of Friday Mosque and MIG Memorial

Regional Studies and History Museum

Victory Park

Central Park

Museum of Repression

Afghan War Memorial


Nauryz/Navruz Holiday Celebrations over Spring Solstice

Al-Farabi Square

Mega Shopping Center



FC Ordabasy -Superleague side

General information

South Kazakhstan region is located within the eastern part of the Turan lowlands and western foothills of Tien Shan. It is one of the major regions of the country. The region borders on the east with Zhambyl, on the north with Karaganda, on the west with Qyzylorda areas, on the south with the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The region's territory is 117,3 thousand square km. Most part of the territory is plain, with knobby-ridged sands Kyzylkum, steppes Shardara and Moyynkum. The northern part is occupied by desert Betpak-Dala, in the extreme south - Myrzashol steppe. Central part of the region occupies Karatau range, on the south-east - the western outskirts of Talas Alatau, ridges Karzhantau and Ugam.

The administrative-territorial structure of the area consists of 4 regional and 4 towns of district meaning, 11 rural districts. The administrative center - is Shymkent city, with more than half a million people. The city is a part of ancient cities of Central Asia, has a rich history and culture.

The population of the region is 2.5 million people, the volume of the urban population of which is 36,8%.

The region is located in a zone of extreme continental climate. Fertile soil, abundant sunlight, vast pastures create great opportunities for development in the area of various sectors of agriculture, especially irrigated agriculture and grazing sheep.

There are deposits of polymetallic ores (south-western slope of the ridge Karatau near Kentau town, Achisayskoe, Bayzhansayskoe, Mirgalimsayskoe fields, etc.). Large industrial interest are iron ore deposits of Karatau Ridge. There are mineral resources for the production of building materials (limestone, gypsum, quartz sand, refractory ceramic and bentonite clays, mineral paints, semi-precious stones) in the South Kazakhstan region. There are 182 large and medium-sized enterprises, producing about 2,0% of the total industrial production in Kazakhstan in regional industry.

Exports are carried out in 47 countries, the region imported products from 87 countries. In the structure of exports of goods account for the bulk of mineral products - 38,1%, chemical products - 24%, foodstuffs - 20.3%, textile products - 11,9%, production of iron and steel industry - 4,3%.

Field has two lines of railways, the total length of 444.6 km of public roads 5,2 thousand kilometers. Civil aviation is working on the lines of 27 thousand kilometers.

One of the priorities in the region development is a small business. At present, the number of employed in small business in the whole area is 340.7 thousand people or 30% of the total economically active population.

There are 4 state higher education institutions, 1032 secondary schools. Also there are 10 branches of political parties in the region, 20 national-cultural centers, 71 youth associations in the area.

South Kazakhstan Region is famous for its historical memorials - burial mounds, ancient settlements, fortresses, mausoleums and ancient towns. One of the most popular attractions, located on the Kazakh segment of the Silk Road is a unique complex - the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yassaui in the city of Turkestan, which is considered the "second Mecca" of all the Turkic-speaking countries of the world. Since 2004, the mausoleum is included in the list of world cultural heritage by UNESCO.

There are natural resources that can be used for treatment and rest on the territory of the region. These include mineral water, wells of which are located in 20 km to the south of Kentau, sanatorium Saryagash, in the foothills of the Karatau, as well as healing environment for people with diseases of the cardiovascular system in the White Sea and Tyulkubas.

Favorable areas for recreation are areas adjacent to the Aksu-Zhabagly nature preserve, and foothills Ugam Boralday, Karzhantau mountains, valleys, rivers Arys, Syr Darya, Aksu, Sayramsu.

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