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Published: June 21st 2017
Geo: 43.2792, 68.2498
The trains take 4 hours to cover the 165km between Shymkent and Turkestan, so you can imagine they aren't Intercity 125, let alone HS1.
So departing Shymkent at 7.05 am and returning at 21.11 gave me about 5 hours to explore the delights of Turkestan, the delightful bit being one building.
Its the mausoleum of the first great Turkic Muslim holyman, Kozha Akhmed Yasaui. The original, built in the 12th century was quite modest so Tamburlaine the Great decided something a bit grander was called for and the result is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most stunning man-made thing in Kazahstan.
It was the centre of a complex of mausoleums and other religious buildings but they all, except for this one, fell into rack and ruin and the surroinding site is an archaeological dig with some decidely shady reconstruction work going on - see the surrounding wall photo!
What is more remarksble is that the train journey is across the featureless steppe, no landmarks, precious few trees, just scrubby bushes and herds of goats. Now and then towns of varying size but a shared ugliness and there - in the middle of Turkistan, this wonderful creation. Let the photos speak for
themselves. No photos of the steppe - the train windows are too dirty for thst and none of them open, and none of trains and stations - too sensitive for that. The attendant on the first train was a bit obliging, he alsp spoke a bit of English. You get the feeling they don;t see many tourists here.
Tot: 0.139s; Tpl: 0.066s; cc: 7; qc: 33; dbt: 0.023s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.3mb