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Turkistan is a city in the South Kazakhstan Region of Kazakhstan, near the Syr Darya river. It became a commercial centre after the final demise of Otrar, the medieval city whose ruins lie near the Syr Darya to the southeast. Throughout most of the medieval and early-modern period it was known as Yasi or Shavgar and after the 16th-17th centuries as Turkistan or Hazrat, both of which names derive from the title 'Hazrat-i Turkistan', which literally means "the Saint (or Blessed One) of Turkistan" and refers to Khoja Akhmet Yassawi, the Sufi Sheikh of Turkistan, who lived here during the 11th century and is buried in the town.

Because of his influence and in his memory the city became an important centre of spirituality and Islamic learning for the peoples of the Kazakh steppes. In the 1390s Timur (Tamerlane) erected a magnificent domed Mazar or tomb over his grave, which remains the most significant architectural monument in the Republic of Kazakhstan. The city attracts thousands of pilgrims. According to a regional tradition, three pilgrimages to Turkistan are equivalent to one hajj to Mecca. The Saint was held in such reverence that the city was known as the Second Mecca of the East, a vision which has helped shape the spiritual identity of Muslims in Kazakhstan.
The ethnic composition of the city:Kazakhs – 52,5%,Uzbeks – 45,2%,Other ethnic groups – 2,3%.

There were groups of pilgrims from Kazakhstan and neighboring countries and I was the only tourist. I found this group specially interesting. All they had white sheets or scarves and hang them in the holy places - in the main mausoleum and other smaller ones. I do not know why. Later someone took them away. They saw that I made pictures and had nothing against it, only asked me to put the scarf on the head. after the prayers they wanted to talk with me. I will upload also Workshops.

I found my trip there very interesting and worth going 29 hours in train (both ways).

Bigger beta picture

I like also the pictures
here and here but I want to show what was going on as the main upload.

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ikeharel, jhm, pajaran, holmertz, annjackman, dale54, alvaraalto, ChrisJ, ourania, adores marcou esta nota como útil

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 12035 W: 126 N: 30653] (143062)
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