Small Group Tour in Central Asia 2024-2025

Sayram (Ispidzhab)

Ispidzhab - The history of the Ancient city on the Great Silk Road

The ancient city of Ispidzhab was built as the military fortress in the 9th – 10th centuries. It was one of the most beautiful cities of the East nicknamed the White City which was literally wiped off the earth’s s surface by the soldiers of Muhammad the Khwarezm-shah. A few centuries later fortifications and moats were built on the former city site, however, after Dzungar invasion in 1684, Ispidzhab was destroyed again. Only the ruins reminding of the former fortifications and bastions have survived.

Ispidzhab was considered the starting point on Kazakh sector of the Silk Road. There the merchants from Bukhara, Merv and Samarkand had their own caravanserais. The city was populated mainly by handicraftsmen.

From time immemorial they had possessed the arts of slip ceramics, glass-making, jewelry production, blacksmith and copper items making and sold their goods the merchants who carried them all over the world. But the biggest export of Ispidzhab was fabrics which were bought by nomads in great volumes. The most popular were local felt mats. Other countries received fabrics, weapons, swords, copper and iron. You will imagine populousness and beauty of markets and fairs if you visit the ancient settlement of medieval Ispidzhab which has survived in the centre of the village of the same name near Shymkent.

The minaret of Bazalak-ata mosque dated the 12th century, two mausoleums connected with the name of Khoja Ahmed Yasavi, cult structures constructed after Dzungar invasion are the historical landmarks of the city.