In the centre of Shymkent, at the corner of Zheltoqsan and Momyshuly avenues, is a park intended to commemorate various wars in which Kazakhstan was involved since the beginning of the 20th century, and which is however a recreational and atypical place: Abay Park.
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Various cafes and restaurants are located nearby. The nearest restaurant is situated on the opposite side of the street. Mega Center Shymkent is a 20-minute walk from the property. Shymkent International Airport is a 40-minute drive from Hotel Sardar, and Shymkent Train Station is a 15-minute walk away.
A park named after Abai, a water park, an ethnographical park “Ken-baba” are very popular among children and grown-ups. There is a children’s railway 6 km long which links the northern part of Shymkent city with an arboretum, a zoo and a hippodrome.
Upstairs is less interesting: a hit-and-miss romp through Kazakhstan's more recent history (labelling in Kazakh only), plus displays on the Soviet and post-independence eras, including Shymkent's main industries. Spot the photos of Shymkent’s best-known daughter – gymnast Nellie Kim, winner of five Olympic golds in 1976 and 1980.
Shymkent was founded in the twelfth century as a caravanserai to protect the Silk Road town of Sayram, 10 km to the east. Shymkent grew as a market center for trade between Turkic nomads and the settled Sogdians. It was destroyed several times: by Genghis Khan, soldiers from the southern Khanates, and by nomad attacks.
Little more than 100km from Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent, today Shymkent is a thriving trade centre that refines oil and brews two of Kazakhstan’s best beers, Shymkentskoe Pivo and the Bavarian-style microbrew Sigma. Its population is about 65% Kazakh and about 14% Uzbek.