TarazTaraz, like Shymkent and Almaty, was a stop on the famed Silk Road between China and the West, and is now situated near Kyrgyzstan. Taraz became an important exchange center between Turkey, China, India, and the Byzantine Empire in Europe. Founded in 1 AD, Taraz is considered the most ancient city in Kazakhstan and is now also one of the fastest growing cities in Kazakhstan, after Turkestan and Astana. Taraz is famous for the Battle of Talas (the historic name of Taraz) between the Arab Abbasid Caliphate and Chinese Tang dynasty, when paper was introduced to the West.
A tour of Taraz reveals elements of its ancient past, like the impressive mausoleums of Aulie-Ata and Sha-Mansur, with a unique stepped gravestone. Slightly outside of Taraz are the historic sites of Babadga-Khatum and Aisha-Bibi, which are very popular with travelers. Taraz was overtaken throughout the years by Turks, Mongols, and Russians, and this mixing of cultures makes Taraz a fascinating travel destination.