SHYMKENT

Shymkent (also spelled ChimkentCimkent) is a city and administrative center of South Kazakhstan oblast (region) of Kazakhstan, located in the valley of Sayram River at the foothills of Ugam Range at an altitude of 1,680 feet (512 m).

Shymkent has the population of about 647,000 (2009).

Shymkent phone code – +7 7252; postal code – 160000.

Shymkent history

The settlement in the area of current Shymkent existed at the edge of 11th-12th centuries. There is a hypothesis about earlier formation of Shymkent. The idea is based on archeological excavations in which some burial places were found and specialists refer them to 5th-6th centuries.

For centuries Shymkent settlement was devastated by aggressive invaders. In early 13th century Genghis Khan’s army went through Sairamsky oasis which became a part of the territory belonging to the conqueror’s descendants. In 14th century Timur included it into his state as a result of successful military actions against Ak Horde and Golden Horde khans.

In early 16th century Shymkent became a part of Kazakh khanate, later within 17th-18th centuries it was invaded by Dzhungar conquerors. In spite of numerous wars badly affecting the population Sairamsky oasis remained a region of developed agriculture, gardening and handicrafts.

At the end of 18th and the first half of 19th century Kokand and Bukhara khanates struggled for possessing Shymkent. In 1810-1864s the town was a military camp-fortress ruled by Kokand with a numerous army and a khan deputy’s residence.

In 1864 Shymkent was successfully attacked by Russian army and became an important transit point linking European part of Russia and Western Siberia with Middle Asia. In 1914, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s joining Russian Empire, the city was named after Russian general Chernyaeyv, but in 1924 its ex-name was returned to the city.

Southern Kazakhstan’s most vibrant city, with bustling bazaars and a lively downtown, Shymkent (Russian: Chimkent) has more of a Central Asian buzz on its leafy streets than anywhere else in the country. The Mongols razed a minor Silk Road stop here; the Kokand khanate built a frontier fort in the 19th century; Russia took it in 1864; and the whole place was rebuilt in Soviet times. Little more than 100km from Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent, today Shymkent is a thriving trade centre and also produces cement, cigarettes and phosphates and refines oil – and brews two of Kazakhstan’s best beers, Shymkentskoe Pivo and the Bavarian-style microbrew Sigma. Its population is about 65% Kazakh and about 14% Uzbek. Mosquitoes can be an irritant from June to August.