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Shymkent History, Kazakhstan


Shymkent, Kazakhstan has a long and fascinating history, dating back thousands of years.  It is very possible the Amazons may have originated out of Kazakhstan and even quite possible that Genghis Khan was buried in eastern Kazakhstan.

Shymkent was also called Chimkent since 1924, but in 1983 Kazakhstan won its independence and the city was renamed once again to Shymkent.  Kazakhstan’s culture and history resounds throughout this city, with great monuments, temples, and museums.

Shymkent was founded in the late 12th century and began as a resting point for travelers on the Great Silk Road.  As the village grew, it was destroyed several times by nomad attacks and once by Genghis Khan.  It was conquered by Mongols in the 13th century and was ruled by Khanates until Russia took over in 1730.  The village was rebuilt each time and was Kokand fortress until it was finally annexed by Russian in 1864.  The written literature was influenced by the Russian culture and still is to this day.  Kazakhstan became independent from Russia in 1983.  It lies on the Turkistan-Siberian Railroad line and has grown to a large cultural and industrial center. 

Shymkent is still a very industrial city, with lead mines and a medium sized oil refinery.  However, problems within the government have led to Kazakhstan, along with Kyrgyzstan and Belarus, signing an economic pact with Russia in 1996. In 1999, as Kazakhstan's economy grew steadily worse.  The Kazakhstan government agreed to sell some of its shares in the Tengiz oil field.  In Sept., 2003, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine signed a pact to create a common economic space.  In 2004, the main opposition party accused the Kazakhstan government of tampering with the voting results.  Following the collapse of the government in neighboring Kyrgyzstan in 2005, the parliament passed a series of repressive measures intended to prevent a similar popular revolt in Kazakhstan.

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