Shymkent, is the capital city of South Kazakhstan Region, most vibrant city, with bustling bazaars and a lively downtown, has more of a Central Asian buzz on its leafy streets than anywhere else in the country. It’s mostly modern and brash, with a couple of good museums, but southeast of the main part of the city, across the small Koshkar-Ata canal, you’ll find the few remaining streets of pre-Russian Shymkent – a quiet, village-like area of wooden houses.
Best Time to Visit
The best times to visit Shymkent for ideal weather are April to June and August to October based on average temperature and humidity.
Top Places to Visit in Shymkent
1. Regional Museum of Southern Kazakhstan
In its shiny new quarters on the northern outskirts of the city, this regional museum has well-presented, trilingual displays on local geology, Iron Age burial mounds and archaeological finds from famous sites such as Otrar (silver jewellery) and Sayran (13th-century Chinese vase). There’s an excellent ethnography section, with elaborate horse tackle and shamanistic implements, a splendid collection of 19th-century heavy silver jewellery, and some fine traditional musical instruments.
2. Bazar Samal
Of several new markets around the city fringes, Bazar Samal, next to Samal bus station, is the biggest and most interesting, with a particularly colourful array of rugs and textiles, as well as food and millions of items of clothing.
3. Altyn Shanyrak
The tall Altyn Shanyrak monument in the middle of Independence Park – a sort of tall, metallic funnel – represents the central roof opening of a yurt.
4. The mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi in Turkestan
A UNESCO world heritage site since 2003, the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi in Turkestan is well worth the 3 hour bus ride from Shymkent. Khoja Ahmad Yasawi (1093-1166) was a Sufi mystic and early Turkic poet. His Mausoleum was built between 1389 and 1405, more than 200 years after his death, by the leader Timurlane the Great. The mausoleum stands just a few meters from the small brick mosque that contains the small underground chamber where Yasawi spent his last years.
5. Shymkent Zoo
The Shymkent Zoo is the state zoo of the city Shymkent in Kazakhstan. It is one of the largest and oldest zoological parks in the country. From the total zoo’s area of 54 hectares (130 acres), under an exposition 34 hectares (84 acres). The Shymkent Zoo contains more than 20 kinds of animals brought in the ‘Red book’. 25% of requirements of forages for animals the zoo grow up on own earth.
Try Shymkent Saya Beer
Said to be the best beer in Kazakhstan, Shymkentskaya Piva is easier to find in Shymkent than anywhere else in the country. While it is easy to try it on tap at most of Shymkent’s many Cafe’s, but it is certainly worth the adventure of trying to find at get a tour at the Shymkent Piva Brewery.