Sauran Guide

Things to do Shymkent Turkistan Sauran Kazakhstan


In a land far away, in the rural regions of Central Asia, just South of Kyzylorda, there stands an abandoned city made of sand and mud that goes by the name of Sauran. The ancient capital of the ferocious White Horde is now available to see, for all those willing to venture into the desert to see it.

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

Sauran itself was first mentioned around 600 years ago, though there’s been a settlement here for at least 1500 years. Sauran is approximately 50 km north of Turkestan and makes a good half-day trip. It’s a large city surrounded by mud-brick walls, though the vast majority of the site is not excavated. You’ll notice this as you walk,you’ll see that you’re actually treading on ancient pottery and you’ll be surprised that cars, horses and camels will be treading on these old artefacts. Whenever we found a nice colourful piece of old pottery, we’d chuck it to the side of the path so that it would be saved. There’s old pottery EVERYWHERE. Sauran is definitely a top highlight of Kazakhstan for us, especially since we hadn’t even heard about it until a few days prior to going.

Things to See and Do in Sauran

There’s a 2 km wall to walk round, 7 towers to see, excavated villas and houses to look at and a gazillion pieces of pottery to be inspected. As far as we’re aware, there’s no museum (or anything else) here, as they haven’t excavated much (we have literally no idea why).

Things to do Sauran, Turkistan, Shymkent.
Pottery just lying outside.
Things to do Sauran, Turkistan, Shymkent.
One of the towers along the wall.
Things to do Sauran, Turkistan, Shymkent.
Some of the excavated parts near the entrance.
Things to do Sauran, Turkistan, Shymkent.
Walking along the fortress walls.
Things to do Sauran, Turkistan, Shymkent.
You can see how touristy this place is! Sarah, the sand and space.
Things to do Sauran, Turkistan, Shymkent.
Pottery is everywhere, watch where you step!
Things to do Sauran, Turkistan, Shymkent.
A snake I almost stepped on. Its head was in the sand and I’m not sure if it was dead or just shy.

Transport In/Out of Sauran

We took a taxi from Turkistan. It cost us 5000 KZT there and back and the taxi driver waited for over an hour for us to see the ruins. The drive there will take approximately 50 minutes. The whole trip can be done in 3 hours.

Things to Eat in Sauran

Bring food with you, there’s no food or facilities at Sauran, only a very basic toilet and a car park.

Accommodation in Sauran

Stay in Turkistan.

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