The tiny Koshkar Ata mausoleum has given its name to the valley and stream in which it stands. But do you know the story behind it?
The Koshkar Ata mausoleum is an important spiritual landmark in Shymkent, Kazakhstan. It was built on top of the grave of Koshkar Ata, a legendary Kazakh Sufi and disciple of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi. The river flowing near the mausoleum was also named after the saint and is considered the cleanest source of water in the city of Shymkent.
According to a legend, Koshkar Ata asked his brother to deliver spring water for Ahmed Yasawi but warned him not to look back on his way to Turkistan. The brother looked back anyway, causing the water to spill. In the place where this happened, many brooks appeared, which then merged to form of today’s Koshkar Ata river.
Due to the rivers cold and clean water many visitors fill up bottles and wash their faces at the stream source and go swimming and bathing in the Koshkar Ata valley.
In the 1960s, during the Soviet Union, a development in Shymkent threatened the safety of the mausoleum, leading to its dismantling and relocation closer to the ancient settlement of Shymkent and the mosque on Ordabasy Square. During the relocation the mausoleum lost its two minarets, but it remains its great architectural and spiritual value. Despite its simpler appearance, the Koshkar Ata mausoleum continues to be an important landmark and the valley with its green bushes the green lung of the city Shymkent.