The Silk Road tour
Day 1. Almaty-Shymkent – Otrar – Turkestan
Take the morning flight or train to Shymkent and arrive in the morning
During the city tour, we will visit one of the most beautiful buildings in the city of Shymkent, the largest mosque, with its unusual architectural style. Shymkent is also well-known for its booming Southern Market, where you can find various local goods and feel the characteristic vibe of an eastern bazaar.
In the afternoon, we will depart to the archeological site of the ancient commercial oasis Otrar, also known as Farab, named after … who lived from 1BC to 15AD
It was a very advanced city with its own irrigation and water pipe system. Otrar was famous all over Central Asia for its pottery workshops and glass vases. In 2001 during the excavations silver coins were found. They thought to be originated from Bukhara, China, and other Silk Road destinations.
In 2001-2004 UNESCO, Kazakhstan and Japan conducted a joint project on conservation and preservation of the ancient city of Otrar: Their work focused on the mosque, bathes, and pottery workshops. Right now Otrar is known as a city-museum and is included in the tentative list of UNESCO world heritage.
During the excursion at Otrar, tourists will find excavations on the site of an ancient city that helped researchers to learn a great deal about the infrastructure of the city. Tourists will be able to see that Otrar had a clear layout of the streets and quarters, which could be accessed through three fortress gates, which were equipped with throw-over bridges across the moat.
Next will be an excursion of Shaulder Museum, where most of Otrar’s excavation findings are housed, followed by a visit to Arystan Bab Mausoleum.
Departure to Turkestan city (95 km). Check-in, overnight.
Day 2. Turkestan – Sauran – Shymkent
Meet with the Panda Tours guide and start the Turkestan City Excursion
The visit to Turkestan will begin with the complex of Hodja Ahmed Yassawi, the most well-known UNESCO World Heritage site in Kazakhstan. This complex includes the mausoleum, the citadel, the ancient bath complex, the fortress wall, and Juma mosque. The mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yassaui is an unsurpassed masterpiece of medieval architecture. This is an amazing complex of palaces and temples with thirty different rooms and halls.
In the afternoon, we will travel to ancient city-fortress Sauran.
Sauran (12-18.cc) used to be a strategic and trading city and from 12th c.c to 16th c.c. the capital of Kazakh-Mongol khanate, the Ak Horde. In 14th c.c Sauran became a military fortress and its location on the Silk way promoted prosperity. The most interesting part of Sauran is the underground channels of water.
An interesting fact is that Suran in Arab means “that which is big.” You will certainly understand after seeing its 33 hectares of territory.
Return to the city of Shymkent.
Possible transportation: There are five evening flights per week from Shymkent to Almaty. An evening express train from Shymkent with an early arrival in Almaty is also an option.
Late evening flights from Shymkent to Astana are 3 times per week & daytime flights are 5 times per week.