© iStock / Adil Abdrakhmanova
© iStock / Adil Abdrakhmanova

Karavan Saray: the newest attraction of South Kazakhstan

3 minutes to read

The Karavan Saray in Turkistan is the newest attraction of South Kazakhstan, located less than 4 km from the famous Khoja Akhmet Yasawi mausoleum. Lately, the city of Turkistan has opened an airport and built the Karavan  Saray complex worth almost 200 million dollars. This magnificent complex welcomes guests from Kazakhstan and the world all year round. When travelling to the land of nomads, one should absolutely visit Karavan Saray - the newest attraction of South Kazakhstan! 

© iStock / Adil Abdrakhmanova
© iStock / Adil Abdrakhmanova

Karavan Saray

Wintertime can be different depending on the regions of Kazakhstan. During nice winter conditions, visiting South Kazakhstan can be joyful and interesting. The meaning behind the name "Karavan Saray" is the building that is constructed to serve travelling groups of people who do commerce. In ancient times, many karavan sarays in the Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries were placed on roads or uninhabited places as a shelter point for travelers seeking trade locations. In the case of Karavan Saray in Turkistan, it was built as a new attraction for tourists who are looking for a gastronomic, historical and educational experience about Kazakhstan. The whole complex, including commercial buildings, covers 74 thousand square meters and can welcome 300 000 visitors a year. 

© iStock / Adil Abdrakhmanova
© iStock / Adil Abdrakhmanova
Karavan Saray complex, Turkistan
Karavan Saray complex, Turkistan

What to do 

The Karavan Saray has two hotels, the Khaganate for a family stay and the hotel Kun for single travelers. There are around 70 shopping stores, restaurants, bars, a cinema, and premium class SPA centers within the complex. Coming to the Karavan Saray, one can enjoy the shopping tour together with a nice walk near the equipped embankment. The complex also has some amusement attractions such as a rope park, arcade games, bumper cars, and more! There is no entrance fee for the Karavan Saray complex, but additional services such as shopping, amusement park, theater are to be paid additionally. Either way, you can spend a day walking around and observing the architecture of the complex and enjoying some thematical shows and fountains

© iStock / Adil Abdrakhmanova
© iStock / Adil Abdrakhmanova

Flying Theater

On the complex territory, one can find a building with a roof looking like a golden egg. This is a flying theater that offers an educational tour of Kazakh history. Flying theater is dedicated to a mythical bird of Kazakh epics called "samruk". The tale says that the whole world was like a big tree, the crown of which was holding the sky while the roots were stuck in the Earth. The crown had a nest where the bird samruk laid the golden egg, which served as a sun to the world. At the bottom of the tree lived a big dragon who used to climb up and eat the egg, and the darkness would come to the world until the samruk bird laid another egg. So, this epic illustrates the life cycles reflected in the change of seasons, in an endless battle between the bright and the dark, the connection between heaven and earth. In the flying theater, one can dive into the historical path of Kazakh people. This is a very interesting and educational tour

How to reach

The distance between Nur-Sultan and Turkistan is up to 1300 km. Thanks to the newly opened airport of Turkistan, there is an opportunity to fly to the historic places of South Kazakhstan instead of spending 17 hours driving a car or more than 20 hours by train. The direct flight between Nur-Sultan and Turkistan will last only 1 hour 45 min. Once you arrive at the international airport of Turkistan named after Khazret Sultan, take a taxi to the Karavan Saray, and in just 30 minutes, you will arrive at your destination. From the Karavan Saray complex, you are highly recommended to visit the Khoja Akhmet Yasawi mausoleum, which is 40 minutes by walk or 10 minutes by car. 

Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, Turkistan
Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, Turkistan
Turkestan, Kazakhstan
© iStock / Adil Abdrakhmanova
© iStock / Adil Abdrakhmanova

One shall not forget to buy souvenirs in the Karavan Saray and Khoja Akhmet Yasawi mausoleum. There are plenty of handmade souvenirs that can bring you good memories of visiting the land of nomads. The most popular place to discover in my country in the new year is definitely the Karavan Saray complex - the new attraction of South Kazakhstan


The author

Nazerke Makhanova

Nazerke Makhanova

Hi, I am Nazerke from Kazakhstan. Traveled to 15 countries, lived in Malaysia and Spain, currently I'm located in my hometown Nur-Sultan city, and I’d love to take you on an adventurous journey throughout Kazakhstan. Ready? Let’s go!

Stories you might also like