We will be picked up at the station this morning and taken to a café for breakfast.
We make the short three-hour drive to Turkestan this morning and after lunch set out to explore this ancient city.
Excursion through Turkestan. Visit to a complex of Hodzhi Ahmed Yasavi. The mausoleum on a tomb of the poet and preacher Hodzhi Ahmed Yasavi. It is the central object on the territory of the historical and cultural memorial complex «Hazret-Sultan». The complex of the Hazret Sultan Memorial includes, besides the mausoleum of Hodzhi Ahmed Yasavi, other structures built in different yearsnearby where Yasavi lived, the mausoleum of the great-granddaughter of Tamerlan and the daughter of astronomer Ulugbek Rabiya — Sultan Begim, the mausoleum of Kazakh Khan Esim, a Shildekhan and other ancient monuments.
The next day we will take the train to Aralsk. The train ride will take us through the vast steppe of Kazakhstan and is a comfortable way to admire the vast landscapes that make up a large part of this country.
Since there are few tourists in Kazakhstan, we expect to find interest among the locals. So we hope that today we will have some good opportunities to talk with friendly Kazakhs
Today will be a long day of travel, probably about 13 hours. So take a book, maybe some playing cards, and plenty of snacks. The train has a restaurant car and is divided into compartments with 4 beds and a table between them. Restrooms are available at both ends of the car. The train stops at several places during the trip where you can get off and take pictures. The train is scheduled to arrive in Aralsk in the evening.
After breakfast we will spend the whole day exploring the Aral Sea. The water level of the Aral Sea started to decrease drastically from the 1960s. Under normal conditions, the Aral Sea receives about one-fifth of its water supply from precipitation, while the rest is supplied by the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers. Evaporation causes the water level to drop by the same amount that flows into the lake, so it is sustainable as long as inflow averages equal to evaporation.
We set out today by off-road vehicle to explore Aralsk and its immediate surroundings.
Today we will drive to the village of Zhalansh, then Akespe — a disappeared village, and if we are lucky we will also see ships on the Aral Sea. Overnight stay in a hotel
After breakfast we make our way back to the train station for the four-hour drive to Baikonur. The Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan has been the launch site for Soviet and Russian space missions since the beginning of space exploration in 1957. The first satellite and the first man flew into space from here. Today, the site is used intensively for Soyuz astronaut launches to the International Space Station.
Upon arrival in Baikonur, we visit the city’s museum. The first hall is dedicated to the builders of the spaceport, who previously fought in the World War II. Different types of weapons are exhibited there. Then we will be introduced to the history of rocketry in USSR, where you can see nozzles, engines and outer shells of rockets. After the museum we will visit the «Avenue of Cosmonauts», which is famous for the fact that every astronaut plants a tree there before his mission. The most famous is the tree planted by Gagarin.
After the city tour we will move to our quarters. Please be prepared that the hotel in Baikonur will be very simple and Soviet style