Turkestan is an ancient town on the Great Silk Road ,almost1500 years old. It was very prosperous in the 7th century when it was motley, crowded maze with its abundant bazaars and endless caravans. It became a commercial centre after the final demise of Otrar, the medieval city whose ruins lie near the Syr Darya to the southeast ( Reason for Gengiz Khans conquest of Eurasia). In the 16th century it was called 'Hazrat-i Turkistan', which literally means "the Saint (or Blessed One) of Turkistan" and refers to Khoja Ahmad Yasavi, the Sufi Shaikh of Turkistan, who lived here during the 11th century CE 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 & a World Heritage site.
© Ramdas Iyer Photography