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TURKISTAN

  Turkistan is the ancient town whose history dates over 1500 years back when it was called Yassy, a flourishing centre of civilisation during the time of the Great Silk Road, which contains more historical relics and sites than any other city in modern Kazakhstan.

  Founded at 5th century A.D. it was important trade and religious centre, they say there were 14 mosques by that time. Turkistan is an important site of worship for Moslems, the Mausoleum of Khodja Ahmed Yassavi - the great Turkic holy man has attracted many pilgrims over the centuries.

  An outstanding poet and humanitarian scholar Yassaui established a theological school attracting those craving for knowledge both from the neighbouring cities and outlying steppes of Kazakhan and the city became a significant centre of enlightenment.

  At the age of 63, Hodja Ahmed Yassaui dug himself an underground cell next to the mosque and lived there until he died in 1166 when he was buried with great honour. At the end of the 14th century, Timur the Great (Tamerlaine) built a mausoleum over the site of the grave, which displays the wonderful Timurid style of architecture. Three visits to Turkistan are equivalent to making the Hajj to Mecca.

  Also the places of interest in Turkistan are the mausoleums of Rabiga Sultan Begimi, the granddaughter of Tamerlaine and the Kazakh Khans Yesim, Ablai and Abulkhair-khan, as well as a well restored medieval bath house.

Aliases: Turkestan, Yassi, Yasy, Yasi, Jassi.

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