5 things to know about Shymkent, third largest city in Kazakhstan

How much do you know about Shymkent, the third largest city in Kazakhstan? It may be the third-most populous place in Kazakhstan, but the city still has a small-town charm to it. Find out more about Shymkent here.

  1. It has a storied history 

The history of Shymkent dates back at least to the 12th century. Back then, it was established as a settlement on the caravan route from Central Asia to China, though it gradually developed into a trading centre. But Shymkent was destroyed and rebuilt several times — by nomad attacks, as well as invasions from Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, the Dzungars, Kokand and Bukhara Khanates and finally the Russian empire. Despite its difficult history, Shymkent has grown from a small settlement to a major industrial, trade and culture centre. 

  1. It was not always known as Shymkent 

In 1914, Shymkent’s name was changed to Chernyaev, to honour the 50th anniversary of the city becoming part of the Russian Empire. This name change was short lived, though. Ten years later in 1924, the Soviet authorities reverted the city to its former name. 

  1. It is the third most populous city in Kazakhstan 

Shymkent is now the third largest city in Kazakhstan, coming just behind Nur-Sultan and Almaty. The population of the city grew past 1 million in 2018 — quite a feat, considering that 20 years ago in 2001, Shymkent had just over 500,000 residents. This means its population has doubled in just two decades! 

  1. It is easy to get to from both Nur-Sultan and Almaty

The third-most populous city has its own international airport too, though it mainly serves domestic flights, as well as flights to Russia. Shymkent is just a two-hour plane ride away from Nur-Sultan and Almaty, making it an easy destination should travellers want to see more of Kazakhstan! 

  1. It is located near to Uzbekistan 

Travellers can easily take a bus or train from Shymkent to Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan. The journey takes a little more than four hours by bus, and almost six hours by train. It is affordable too — the bus ride costs about S$10, while the train ride is slightly pricier, ranging from S$18 to S$25. 

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