Turkistan, Kazakhstan has been named the Culture and Arts Capital of the Turkic World 2017, bringing the event back to Kazakhstan for the second time.

Today in Sheki, Azerbaijan it was announced that Turkistan, Kazakhstan will be the next Culture and Arts Capital of the Turkic World. The announcement came as TURKSOY the International Organisation of Turkic Culture met in Azerbaijan to officially end Sheki’s year as the Cultura and Arts Capital of the Turkic World. The decision was taken unanimously by the Culture Ministers of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Gagauzia and Northern Cyprus.

Turkistan is located in the South Kazakhstan region of Kazakhstan and is home to just over 150,000 people. The city was first settled in the 4th century and has been a centre of trade within Central Asia since the 16th century. The city is of special significance to Muslims within Kazakhstan who deem three pilgrimages to the city to be the equivalent to visiting Mecca once as part of Hajj.

The city is also home to the Ahmet Yesevi University which was established in 1993. The University is one of the largest in Central Asia and was jointly created by Turkey and Kazakhstan. Furthermore Turkistan is home to the first UNESCO World Heritage site in Kazakhstan the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi. The Mausoleum was commissioned in 1389 by Timur the leader of the Timurid Empire, construction was halted in 1405 following Timur’s death. The site is one of the best examples of Timuird culture.

It has not been revealed whether the Turkvision Song Contest as in line with the original rules of the contest will be held in Turkistan. The rules of the contest stated that the Turkvision Song Contest will be held in the Capital of Culture of the Turkic World, this occurred in both 2013 and 2014. However in 2015 and 2016 the contest has been or is being planned to be held in Turkey and not in the Culture and Arts Capital of the Turkic World.

Source: Turksoy