Turkistan (city)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Turkistan
Түркістан
Mausoleum of Khwaja Ahmad Yasavi
Mausoleum of Khwaja Ahmad Yasavi
Turkistan is located in Kazakhstan
Turkistan
Turkistan
Location in Kazakhstan
Coordinates: 43°17′N 68°16′E / 43.283°N 68.267°E / 43.283; 68.267
Country Kazakhstan
Province South Kazakhstan Province
Population (2009)
 • City 227,098
 • Urban 142,899

Coordinates: 43°17′N 68°16′E / 43.283°N 68.267°E / 43.283; 68.267

Turkistan (Kazakh: Түркістан), formerly known as Turkestan (Russian: Туркестан), is a city in the southern region of Kazakhstan, near the Syr Darya river. It is situated 160 km (99 mi) north-west of Shymkent on the Trans-Aral Railway between Kyzylorda to the north and Tashkent to the south. Population: 142,899 (2009 Census results);[1] 102,505 (1999 Census results).[1]

History[edit]

Turkistan is one of Kazakhstan's historic cities with an archaeological record dating back to the 4th century.[2]

During the Han dynasty it may even have been Beitan, the summer capital of ancient Kangju (康居), which is mentioned in the Hanshu.[3][4]

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 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, was pictured on the back of the banknotes of the national currency until 2006.

Other important historical sites in the city include a medieval bath-house and four other mausoleums, one dedicated to Timur's granddaughter and three to Kazakh khans (rulers).

Before the Russians came in the 19th century, Turkistan lay on the frontier of the settled Perso-Islamic oasis culture of Transoxiana to the south, and the world of the Turko-Mongol steppe nomads to the north. At times it became a symbolic Kazakh political centre, but by the early 19th century it was a marginal frontier town under the control of the Uzbek Khanates further south, lastly under the Khanate of Kokand.

When Turkistan fell to the Russians in 1864 it was incorporated into the Syr-Darya Oblast of the Governor-Generalship of Russian Turkestan. When the Tsarist regime fell in 1917-18 it was briefly part of the Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic before being incorporated into the Kazakh SSR in 1924.

Pilgrimage[edit]

Landsat satellite photo of Turkestan

The city attracts thousands of pilgrims. According to a regional tradition, three pilgrimages to Turkistan are equivalent to one hajj to Mecca (such local piety is known also in relation to other religious monuments in the Muslim world). 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.[5] However, it is considered to be blasphemous to compare hajj to Mecca with three pilgrimages to Turkistan. There is no supporting evidence either from Quran or Hadith that this place is holy or that three pilgrimages to Turkistan are equivalent to one hajj to Mecca.

Demographics[edit]

Ethnic composition of the city according to 1897 census:

  • total - 11,253
  • Kazakhs - 8,940 (79.45%)
  • Russians - 312 (2.77%)
  • kyrgyz-kaysak/ kara-kyrgyz - 1,415 (12.57%)

Modern-day Turkistan has a population of 85,600 (1999 census). The population rose by 10% from 1989–99, making it the second-fastest growing town in Kazakhstan, after the new capital Astana.

Geography and climate[edit]

Turkistan may be reached by train from Almaty, in a journey of nearly 20 hours. The road trip from the nearest airport at Shymkent takes about two hours.

Turkestan experiences a desert climate (Köppen BWk) with short, cold winters and long, dry, very hot summers. The vast majority of the annual precipitation falls between late autumn and late spring.

Climate data for Turkestan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 18.7
(65.7)
22.9
(73.2)
30.7
(87.3)
36.3
(97.3)
40.5
(104.9)
46.9
(116.4)
49.1
(120.4)
46.5
(115.7)
41.9
(107.4)
35.3
(95.5)
27.9
(82.2)
21.6
(70.9)
49.1
(120.4)
Average high °C (°F) 1.6
(34.9)
5.3
(41.5)
13.5
(56.3)
21.9
(71.4)
28.3
(82.9)
34.3
(93.7)
36.3
(97.3)
35.0
(95)
28.8
(83.8)
20.3
(68.5)
11.4
(52.5)
3.4
(38.1)
20.01
(67.99)
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.1
(26.4)
−0.2
(31.6)
6.9
(44.4)
14.8
(58.6)
21.0
(69.8)
26.8
(80.2)
28.7
(83.7)
27.0
(80.6)
20.4
(68.7)
11.9
(53.4)
4.9
(40.8)
−1.7
(28.9)
13.12
(55.59)
Average low °C (°F) −7.2
(19)
−4.6
(23.7)
1.3
(34.3)
8.1
(46.6)
13.6
(56.5)
18.2
(64.8)
20.1
(68.2)
18.2
(64.8)
11.7
(53.1)
4.4
(39.9)
−0.4
(31.3)
−5.7
(21.7)
6.48
(43.66)
Record low °C (°F) −33.6
(−28.5)
−38.6
(−37.5)
−28.3
(−18.9)
−8.4
(16.9)
−4.3
(24.3)
3.1
(37.6)
6.4
(43.5)
3.4
(38.1)
−5.5
(22.1)
−14.3
(6.3)
−31.8
(−25.2)
−33.0
(−27.4)
−38.6
(−37.5)
Precipitation mm (inches) 21
(0.83)
23
(0.91)
23
(0.91)
26
(1.02)
22
(0.87)
5
(0.2)
3
(0.12)
1
(0.04)
3
(0.12)
11
(0.43)
23
(0.91)
29
(1.14)
190
(7.5)
Avg. rainy days 5 6 8 8 7 4 3 1 2 4 7 5 60
Avg. snowy days 5 5 1 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 1 3 15.2
 % humidity 79 73 63 50 43 33 34 32 36 51 69 79 53.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 138 155 199 247 337 382 401 383 315 248 167 122 3,094
Source #1: Погода и Климат (Weather and Climate)[6]
Source #2: NOAA (sun only, 1961-1990)[7]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Население Республики Казахстан" (in Russian). Департамент социальной и демографической статистики. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "Archeological monuments of Turkistan". Natcom.unesco.kz. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  3. ^ Hill (2009), p. 177.
  4. ^ Hulsewé (1979), pp. 124-125 and n. 199.
  5. ^ Privatsky (2001)
  6. ^ "Климат Туркестана (Climate of Turkestan, Russian)". Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  7. ^ "Turkestan Climate Normals 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved January 10, 2012. 

References[edit]

  • Hill, John E. (2009) Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.
  • Hulsewé, A. F. P. and Loewe, M. A. N. 1979. China in Central Asia: The Early Stage 125 BC – AD 23: an annotated translation of chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty. E. J. Brill, Leiden. ISBN 90-04-05884-2.
  • Privratsky, Bruce G. (2001). Muslim Turkistan: Kazak Religion and Collective Memory Curzon Press, Richmond, Surrey UK.

External links[edit]