Otrar is one of the most ancient cities of Central Asia. It was first mentioned as the native land of the world-famous philosopher and mathematician Abu-Nasr Al-Farabi in the 9th century, whose works had a great influence on the philosophy of Europe and the Middle East.
In 1219, Otrar fell because of the advance of Genghis Khan’s army. But it was rebuilt, and in the middle of the XIII century it became one of the largest centers of trade between the East and the West. The city adjoined one of the luxurious courtyards of the Karakhanid dynasty. Here flourished: science, medicine, education and trade. The city attracted scientists, poets, musicians, writers, and wise men and included: madrasa mosque, forges, large trading markets and baths. The famous Amir Temir died in one of the Otrar palaces in 1405. The city existed until the 18th century as one of the major cities of the Kazakh Khanate.
Drought became the main cause of the death of the city, since people began to leave these territories in the 19th century. The remaining ruins of the city are located in the south of the country in the village of Talapty. Here, in the vicinity of Turkestan, camels roam past the ancient settlement, as if reminiscent of the former greatness of the city, when Otrar was the center of commerce and was located at the intersection of caravan routes.
The archaeological excavations of Otrar began in 1969 and archaeologists have found: mosques, a bath, city blocks and a palace. Now on the archaeological site was built a museum, located under the open sky.
Here, tourists explore the ruins of the ancient city - the bazaar, mosques and residential neighborhoods. Many wells have been preserved from the ancient city, and the earth is everywhere dotted with fragments of pottery, whose history goes back hundreds of years.
The name of the world-famous Amir Temir is associated with Otrar, since it was on his orders that a mausoleum was built in honor of the great mentor and teacher of Khoja Ahmed Yassavi - Arystan-Bab. This mausoleum has become one of the main attractions in the city, and to this day pilgrims come here from all over the world.
You can get to the ruins of Otrar by train from different cities of Kazakhstan, first leave the railway station Timur, near the village of Talapty, then take a taxi, as the ruins themselves are 10 km away from here. You can also rent a taxi, minibus or bus in a group and come directly from the cities of Shymkent (about 1.5 hours on the way) and Turkestan (about 0.5 hours on the way).