From the Kyrgy/Kazakh border it took around 5 hours to get to Shymkent, a large town in SE Kazakhstan (bus 1), I then searched around and quickly found a bus heading to Turkistan (2), about 3 hours north. There I was hoping to find some more impressive architecture, this time of a more historical nature.
There isn’t much to do in Turkistan other than the hugely impressive Yasaui Mausoleum and surrounding buildings. The Mausoleum was built in 1390 but wasn’t finished so half of it is mud brick and brown in colour and then the other half is a beautifully tiled blue colour. The top of the Mausoleum is an 18m-wide dome and inside there are over 34 rooms, the tomb itself is in a separate chamber but you can see it through some grills from two corridors down the side.
The buildings surrounding the Mausoleum consist of a smaller Mausoleum, of Rabgha-Sultan Begum, a semi underground mosque and the Friday Mosque which is a small wooden mosque on a small hill nearby. I walked the 3km to the bus station and caught another bus (3) back to Shymkent.
I arrived early afternoon, just after lunch time and went straight to the ticket office to book another overnight bus back to Almaty. The bus station was about 4km out of town and as it was well over 30 degrees I didn’t fancy walking so I hopped on a local bus (4), paid about 15p and rode all the way into the centre. In the centre I was determined to find somewhere for food, drink and WiFi. After some searching I found what I was looking for. I ordered a coke and when it came I struggled to stifle a laugh, it was a litre bottle and cost less than £1 and this was at a reasonably high end establishment. I stayed there using the WiFi, uploading photos into Instagram and updating my blog. I started walking back to the junction where I could catch another bus (5) back to the bus station but I stopped off for an early dinner of noodle/veg/meat soup and bread which was just what I needed. My 11h bus (6) to Almaty left at 1930.