Really, I have to give a shout out to my colleagues (A&A) for making all our arrangements and providing Russian translation services for those of us who don’t speak Russian or Kazakh (yet). While in Shymkent, we took a day trip to Turkestan. Turkestan (TYPKИCTAH) is both the name describing the broader region surrounding the city and is also the name of the still standing city 165 km. northwest of Shymkent. The city was one of the stop-off points for the Silk Road (zhibek zholy in Kazakh and ipek yolu in Turkish).
Today it is known for the Mausoleum of Hoja Ahmed Yasaui (ca. 11th century AD) built by Temirlan in the late 14th century and is a place of pilgrimage for many Sufi Muslims.