In the south of Kazakhstan, on the Talas River near the Kyrgyz border is Taraz, a major city of the Jambyl province. Dating back more than 2,000 years, it is one of the oldest cities in Kazakhstan and in 2001 UNESCO recognized its status as a World Heritage Site. Originally a fortress, it was the site of the Battle of Zhizhi nearly 50 years BC and in 750 AD, the river was the site of the Battle of Talas, fought between the Tang Dynasty and the Abbasid Caliphate during which the Arabs took the Chinese paper makers hostage, resulting in the introduction of paper into the western world.

Under the rule of many empires from the Arabs and Persians to the Mongols and the Dzungars, Taraz is an archaeological treasure trove full of historical architecture and artifacts. Its streets are lined with mosques and mausoleums, while the Regional Museum is home to many examples of the city's history and the bustling market harkens back to when Taraz was a major city on the Silk Road.


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Ayshah Bibi Mausoleum

Just 10 miles outside Taraz, stands the beautifully-preserved and restored Ayshah Bibi Mausoleum. Built in the Kharakhanid era for the daughter of a Sufi Poet who was engaged to the ruler at the the time, visitors flock to this monument dedicated to love, to pray for children and happiness in its pretty surroundings overlooking the Taraz oasis.

Babadja-Khatun Mausoleum

Dating back to the 11th century, Babadja-Khatun is unique in Central Asia for its distinctive umbrella-shaped, ribbed dome. Visitors come to explore its cavernous hall and to see the Arabic script on the wall that reads ‘The woman from the country of Babadji’.

Regional Museum

Celebrating the rich history of Taraz and its surrounding areas, the Regional Museum bustles with visitors year-round. The beautiful domed building houses ancient stone carvings; medieval pottery and paintings can be found in the rear courtyard, while the main hall is home to stuffed animals, local jewelry and a preserved yurt.

Shakhristan Market

Once a major trade center, the bustling Shakhristan Market recollects ancient Taraz. Perfect for browsing and searching for unusual and unique souvenirs including clothing and jewelry, there are also a number of cafes and food stall to enjoy local delicacies.

Taraz Central Stadium

The city’s stadium is home to its beloved football team, FC Taraz, who currently play in the Kazakh premier league, having been promoted from the first division when they won the cup in 2004. The city’s football fans and visitors alike regularly gather here for games.

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