Shymkent has very much sights for tourists and it’s residents. The third largest city of Kazakhstan don’t have to be hide behind of Nur-Sultan and Almaty. Shymkent has it’s own sights tourist’s can visit. And even around Shymkent are also amazing places to see.
Citadel of Shymkent
The old heart of Shymkent is getting alive again. After Shymkent was conquered by the Russian Empire in 1864, the citadel fell apart and slept for 150 years under a earth mound. The ruins of the citadel has been exposed and reconstructed for a few years. The citadel opened to the public in 2021.
The Shymkent Zoo in the north of Shymkent is a nice place for kids. Here you can see regional animals – like the snow leopard – but also species from all over the world. Especially the new Safari Park with Africa’s animals makes the Zoo to one of the best Zoos in Kazakhstan.
The Independence Park is one of the newest parks of Shymkent and was opened in 2011. The flowers during summer are fabulous and the small pavilions with blue roofs gives you a nice place to rest and protect you from the strong sun. Its also nice to watch the two monuments: The Arch of Independence and the Monument of the Opening of a Yurt.
The Ordabassy Square is one of the main squares of Shymkent. The Ordabassy Square connects three main streets that named after three wise men and leaders: Tole Bi, Ayteke Bi and Kazybek Bi. These three tribe leaders unite their tribes in the 18th century in the village Ordabassy – just around 80 kilometres away from Shymkent. In the center of the square is a 34 meter high monument with a 8 meter height female figure Mother Earth (Kazakh: Zher-Ana). The three-edge red granite monument which is a gift of a local Kazakh business man symbolizes national unity and was inaugurated in 2009. The designers were Nasir Rustemov and Bakhytzhan Ashirbayev. The fountains around the monument spending fresh air in the hot summer days in Shymkent so the Ordabassy Square is a good place to start to discover the sights of the city with the Koshkar-Ata river, the old citadel and the Independence Park just around the corner.
Sayram and it’s mausoleums
The 3000 years old historical city Sayram (historical name: Isfījāb) is a suburb of Shymkent. It’s famous for it’s many beautiful mausoleums. The famous Sufi and Poet Khoja Ahmed Yasawi was born in this town and you can find the mausoleums of his relatives here. Very Kazakh and Turk people make pilgrimages to this town. Some people call it the Mekkah of Kazakhstan.
The Abay Park is located in the hearth of Shymkent. It’s a calm place and offers also interesting places like the Museum of Modern Arts, the Khakim Abay Museum and huge World War 2, Soviet-Afghan War and Firefighter monuments.
Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts (Khudozhestvennaya Galereya) is located close to the north entrance of Abay Park. It has very much collections of local artists of South Kazakhstan with modern, portraits, architectural, historical and landscape pictures.
Read more about the Museum here: South Kazakhstan in Oil
Khakim Abay Museum
The Khakim Abay Museum is located at the south entrance of Abay Park. It’s has a detailed collection of personal items of Kazakhstan’s national poet and philosoph Abay Qunanbaiuly .
You can read a detailed report from us here: Inside of Khakim Abay Museum
Techno Park “Kiyal Alemi”
You need a little bit amusement in the center of Shymkent? Go to the Fantasy World (Kazakh: Kiyal Alemi) or also well known as Techno Park. It offers Ferris Wheel, Roller-coaster, a Upside-Down House, Sleds and other attractions.
The Tulip Fountain is one of most important sights of Shymkent. The red huge tulip with green leaves and blue basin gives also nice fresh air to their visitors during the hot summer days of Shymkent. The Tulip fountains is a reference that the region of Shymkent is the cradle of the Tulip flowers. During spring time thousands of wild tulips popping up out of the ground in the wild meadows, the steppe and mountains around Shymkent. But also the city of Shymkent is doing a great job and you will see tulips in the flowerbeds along the streets and parks.
The Park Shamshi’s World (Russian: Мир Шамши) is a wonderful place for the music lovers. The park is dedicated to the Kazakh composer Shamshi Kaldayakov. His called the Father of the Kazakh waltz and Kazakh Pop. He is also the composer of My Kazakhstan: The National anthem of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The centerpiece is a golden statue of the composer and next to it starts a Walk of Fame of popular Kazakh Musicians who went into the footsteps of Shamshi Kaldayakov. The park offers also a nice water fountain and some trees to protect the visitors from the strong Kazakh sun.
The Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Mosque – but well known as White Mosque (Kazakh: “Ak Mechit”), which can accommodate 6,000 worshipers, is the largest mosque in Shymkent. The mosque was opened in 2013 and is a gift of the President of the United Arab Emirates. It is located in the west of Shymkent between city center and International Airport. The modern architecture in and outside is worth for a visit. Have a look on it!
River Koshkar Ata and Mausoleum
You want to cool down during a hot day in Shymkent? You want to go swimming with your kids for free? Then you can walk along Shymkent’s river Koshkar Ata starting at the Central Mosque near Independence Park. You will find nice public bathing places (with cabins to change clothes) along the crystal-clear river – but take care the water is fresh and really cold!
Before or after the refreshment we recommend to visit the small Koshkar-Ata Mausoleum on the left bank of the small river halfway between Ordabassy Square and the spring of Koshkar Ata river.
Ethno Park “Ken Baba”
The Ken Baba is a small cute park in the center of Shymkent with very much attractions for kids and a small pond with a waterfall and four beautiful swans. Some restaurants also give you the opportunity to eat and drink nice Kazakh meals.
The Dendrological park or short Dendropark is a very huge park that gives you the feeling of a real forest in South Kazakhstan. You have to pay a small entry fee before you can enter the park. Along a small river with some boat rental stations for renting small pedal boats you can enjoy the walk and relax after a busy day in Shymkent.
The Arbat is the new heart of Shymkent and located next to Techno Park. It’s a beautiful pedestrian road with nice trees, restaurants and cafe’s. The colorful light installation transforms the Arbat even at night to a special place. You can listen very often to local musicians who showing their skills and performance and playing live music.
The Bajdibek Monument is with 23m height the largest statue in Kazakhstan. It’s hard to walk up the hill to the monument. But after hundreds of steps you will be happy to do this walk. The place of the Bajdibek Monument is one of the best places to have a great view over Shymkent and the Karatau and the Western Tian Shan Mountains.
The Metallurgist’s Park is also a wonderful sight of Shymkent. The Park was founded in 1934 by Metallurgist workers who lived and worked nearby. The small but beautiful park with huge old trees is the oldest park of Shymkent. The old huge Lenin statue is the most popular attraction among foreigners because in very much former communist’s cities the statues of communist leaders were dismantled. But here the statue still fit’s well to remember this time when the workers tried to improve their environment during their free-time – during at so called Subbotniks. But the Lenin statue is not the only piece of art. We invite you to have a look and stroll around the Metallurgist’s Park.
The Dauytuly Shyngysbaikazhy Mosque, better known as Koshkar-Ata or Zhami Mosque is the spiritual heritage of Shymkent and one of its oldest remaining buildings. The Zhami Mosque was built in the mid 19th century. It is located in the old part of Shymkent near the Citadel. After the October Revolution till the end of World War II the mosque was used as a military barrack. The mosque got is original purpose back in 1947. The mosque with a size of around 700 square meter has two minarets in the courtyard: The old minaret with 4.8 meters and the newer minaret with a height of around 10 meters.
Shymkent’s biggest and most popular bazaar is the Qyrgy Bazaar between Ordabassy Square and Shamshi’s World. You want to experience a oriental bazaar? Then this place is the best place to be. You can watch the merchants trade with their customers about the price and the best goods – or you can also try to deal with the merchants to get a nice souvenir, some felt shoes or to try some nice local food like Qurt, Chak-Chak or Kumis.
Retro Garage – Shymkent Car Museum
Retro Garage is a great attraction in Shymkent for young and old vintage car lovers. Shymkent’s car museum features on two floors vintage Soviet Moskvich and Lada cars, as well as foreign brands such as America’s mid-20th-century luxury Packard.
The Kasiret memorial near Shymkent’s Dendropark commemorates the terrible years of 1937-38, also known as the Great Purge. Soviet leader Stalin ordered the killing of thousands of cultural and political intellectuals, writers and artists around Soviet Union. Shymkent was part of the Soviet Union in these days and the Great Purge didn’t stopped in this town. The victims of Stalin’s terror from Shymkent were executed and buried in a ravine called Fox Hollow (Russian: Lisiya Balka). The Kasiret memorial was built on this spot in 1997.
Coming soon …
This list is not completed, yet. There are more sights in Shymkent to discover. If you think there are sights in Shymkent that we have to add to our list – don’t hesitate and contact us.