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Shymkent Travel Guide, Kazakhstan

Shymkent, Kazakhstan is the capital of the South Kazakhstan Province and the most populated area in Kazakhstand. The city has a population of over a half a million people and is one of the largest metropolitan cities in Kazakhstan. It is located about 90 miles from Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The city of founded in the early 12th century and was a caravanserai (a roadside inn to rest travelers). Eventually it grew to become a marketplace between the settled people of the area and the nomads. It was destroyed many times, once by Genghis Khan. It was annexed by Russia in 1864 and was eventually renamed Chimkent in 1924. In 1993, during Kazakhstan independence, it was renamed back to Shymkent.

The city has been an industrial center in the 20th century. Once dominated by lead mining, now the city also produces textiles, karakul (a domestic sheep) pelts, pharmaceuticals, and foodstuffs. There is also a medium sized oil refinery owned by PetroKazakhstan.

There are several places of interest to visit, such as the Afgan War Memorial, Regional Studies and History Museum, and the Museum of Repression. Al-Farabi Square is also a great place to do a little shopping. The Aksu-Jabagly National Park is also here, which should be an essential place for any visitor.

Shymkent has an international airport and several lodging options available. Hotel rooms range from $55 US to $100 US depending upon your room choice and available amenities. The rooms are often better than you would expect to find. Many offer free sauna use and cable TV with deluxe rooms.

For the best airfare cost, consider flying through Moscow. Some airlines offer flights direct to Shymkent, but this is definitely the cheapest route to go. This not your normal vacation destination spot, but is a great way to experience the culture and history of this city.

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