Turkestan (Yassy) is located in the south of Kazakhstan and 160 kilometers north-west of Shymkent. It is one of the oldest cities in Kazakhstan that was founded more than 1,500 years ago (around 500 AD) at the crossroads of caravan routes from Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. So, from this city you can continue a self drive tour by rental car to Tashkent city in Uzbekistan running the distance of 300 kilometers.
The city was the spiritual and political center of the Turkic-speaking people in the XVI–XVIII centuries, and was the capital of the Kazakh Khanate for many centuries.
One of the popular sightseeing of the city is the mausoleum of Khoja Akhmet Yassawi (the famous Sufi Sheikh and philosopher of Turkestan), built in the late XIV – early XV centuries. Due to his influence and his memory, the city became a significant center of Islamic education. After 233 years after his death famous military leader Emir Tamerlane ordered to build a magnificent domed Mazar or tomb over his grave. Nowadays the tomb is a masterpiece of medieval architecture and one of the main places of worship for Muslims as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pilgrims say that tree trips to Turkestan equal small Hajj to Mecca.
Annually more than a million tourists visit Turkestan who are interested in ancient cites and culture. Here guests of the city can visit a beautiful historical museum that clearly demonstrates the capture of the city by the Mongols, as well as a monument of the XII–XX centuries. People say the tour to Turkestan should definitely include the mausoleum of Arystan-Bab, dedicated to the teacher and mentor of Khoja Akhmet Yassawi. In the XVI century Yassy renamed into modern Turkestan.