What You Need To Know

Shymkent , is the capital city of South Kazakhstan Region, the most densely populated region in Kazakhstan. It is the third most populous city in Kazakhstan behind Almaty and Astana with an estimated population of 629,600 in 2011. A major railroad junction on the Turkestan-Siberia Railway, the city is also a notable cultural centre, with an international airport. Shymkent is situated 690 kilometres (430 mi) west of Almaty and 120 kilometres (75 mi) to the north of Tashkent, Uzbekistan.


Population: Estimate 696,308
Area: 1,170 km²


Kazakhstani tenge


Formerly dominated by lead mining, industrial growth began in the 1930s. A lead smelter was opened in Shymkent in 1934 or 1938. It supplied a major part of the USSR’s metals needs, copper as well as lead and others, including three-quarters of all bullets fired by the Red Army. Smelting continued until 2008, causing extreme levels of pollution (lead, cadmium et al.) in the surrounding ground, and then controversially restarted in 2010, briefly, under a major UK-listed company, Kazakhmys. The city also has industries producing refined zinc, processed karakul pelts, textiles, foodstuffs, and pharmaceuticals. Also, the city has a medium-sized refinery, which is owned and operated by PetroKazakhstan.


In popular culture

In Command & Conquer: Generals, Shymkent is the starting point of the GLA counterattack by destroying the Chinese presence and a local hydroelectric dam to flood out the Chinese outposts in the riverside.



Kazakh is a Turkic language spoken in Kazakhstan and Shymkent.



Shymkent features a borderline Mediterranean (Köppen Csa)/Dry-Summer Continental Climate (Dsa) climate, not unlike Eastern Washington or Northern Idaho but with much hotter summers. Shymkent features hot, relatively dry summers and cold winters. Winters here are noticeably warmer than in more northerly cities like Almaty and Astana, with the mean monthly temperature during the city’s coldest month (January) averaging around −1 °C (30.2 °F). Shymkent averages just under 600 millimetres (23.62 in) of precipitation annually.