Shymkent – Breathing Central Asia

Shymkent, Kazakhstan

South Kazakhstan is the real oasis of ancient cities. There is no other place in the republic with so many historical monuments. Thousand of pilgrims and tourists flock to the region. Which is literally dotted with sacred places.

If you. Same as me. Are fond of history. Legends and riddles. This is a place for you! Everyone finds something different for themselves among boundless steppes and mountain mass. I have came here to discover ruins of Otrar. To admire the architectural heritage of Turkestan.

Shymkent Scenario

I have chosen Shymkent as my base for it’s central location in the region. The city didn’t disappoint me. It is an atmospheric. Buzzing. Vibrant and laud city. With real Kazakh feel about it.

There are not many sights to see in Shymkent. So I could indulge in my favorite activity which is wandering around streets and lively bazaars. Drinking ‘czaj‘ bought from babushkas on their street stands. Watching people and hearing their stories.

Here in Kazakhstan being a tourist is still so rare that you are being treated with great kindness. Everyone chat you up. Trying to help. And inviting you home for a meal and stories from times of Soviet Army.

Even with my poor Russian skills I managed to have a great time here. Eat well. Definitely best meal I had on my whole trip was here in Shymkent. Which to my surprise was Uzbek. I’m sure that after my return to Europe I will be dreaming about tashkentsky plov and delicious samsas.

Do not miss Symkent. All my friends from Almaty told me its not worth it. Just a trade city. Booming with oil exploration and unbearable heat.

They couldn’t be more mistaken. It is all that and so much more. The city and the region met all my expectations I have had about Kazakhstan. Everything what I have came to see in this country. Authentic Kazakh culture, people and landscape, Shymkent has.

7 thoughts on “Shymkent – Breathing Central Asia

  1. From someone who has been living and playing professional sports in Shymkent, Kazakhstan I could not agree more. The people here are incredibly vibrant and kind. Not to mention the restaurants are amazing. If you are interested I would love it if you took a look at my blog as well and let me know what you think! Thanks :)

  2. Why You Should Visit an Islamic Country in 2015

    […] “All my friends from Almaty told me its not worth it. Just a trade city. Booming with oil exploration and unbearable heat. They couldn’t be more mistaken. It is all that and so much more. The city and the region met all my expectations I have had about Kazakhstan. Everything what I have came to see in this country. Authentic Kazakh culture, people and landscape, Shymkent has.” from Marysia of My Travel Affairs in Shymkent – Breathing Central Asia […]

  3. Lana

    Thanks for your post! I miss Shymkent. I am originally from there. Your pictures of all the fruit and veg at the Shymkent market reminded me of the yummy food my mum used to make from them.

    • I’m glad I have reminded you some great memories from you hometown! I really loved this place!
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #51My Profile

  4. Tom

    Adding Kazakhstan to the list of countries I need to visit now! Central Asia is firmly on my itinerary for my next RTW (2015, hopefully!), although haven’t really thought much about Kazakhstan. I had no idea that it has so many ancient sites, but it makes perfect sense of course, as it’s a massive country.

    I find it interesting that your friends from Almaty told me it’s not worth visiting. Maybe an attitude that people from (former) capital cities usually have? I know in Korea, some of my friends in Seoul told me that there’s NOTHING worth seeing in Korea outside of Seoul…luckily I lived in Korea for over three years, so was able to find out that that’s not true at all!
    Tom recently posted…Instagramming Food: Filtered Foodporn YummiesMy Profile

    • Ha ha ha Tom, I think they meant it take whole day, it is uncomfortable and crazy, as nobody goes there ha ha ha As for Korea, I have been 3 times and even though Seoul is a great city it is worth getting out of it!
      As for Central Asia it is an amazing region, I definitely will travel more ever there next year…. Kazakhstan is not only big but very diverse and totally unspoiled by tourists, meet maybe two people on my 3 weeks stay! Haven for me, as I love such destinations.
      This summer and autumn I have spend travelling in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Abkhazia, Armenia, Nagorno Karabakh and Iran. 5 months and I think this trip will definitely make to my Top 3 Trips of my Life, if not to Top 1 ha ha ha
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #44My Profile

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