Kazakhstan Proposes Special Status Bill for Turkestan

Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Olzhas Bektenov, has signed a Government resolution to submit a draft law on the special status of the city of Turkestan to the Mazhilis of Parliament. This initiative follows instructions from President Tokayev during a recent working trip to the Turkestan region.

The proposed legislation outlines the legal framework for Turkestan’s development as the spiritual, cultural, and historical hub of Kazakhstan, underscoring its national significance. The law aims to establish an effective system for managing and preserving Turkestan’s historical and cultural monuments, including those within the World Heritage Site’s security zone, such as the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yassawi.

Key provisions of the bill include:

  • Preservation and Restoration: The bill mandates scientific archaeological research and restoration work on the mausoleum and other significant sites.
  • Cultural Heritage: There are measures to preserve and revive cultural heritage, promote traditional crafts, and enhance Turkestan’s role as a spiritual and tourist center.
  • Development Restrictions: To protect the mausoleum’s uniqueness, construction in the vicinity is limited to structures under 7 meters tall, avoiding materials or designs incompatible with the historical context.
  • Protection Zones: Specific protection zones will be established for each historical and cultural heritage object.
  • Historical and architectural reference plans will be integrated into the city’s master plan.
  • Prohibited Activities: Economic activities threatening historical sites will be banned.

Additionally, the bill proposes creating a reserve to safeguard archaeological monuments, ensuring their integrity and authenticity for future generations. This will involve continuous inspection and proactive conservation efforts.

Prime Minister Bektenov also signed a resolution to introduce amendments to related legislative acts, expanding the powers of local and national bodies to support Turkestan’s development as a spiritual and cultural center. This includes granting land use rights, facilitating tourism, and forming a reserve of archaeological sites.

The city of Turkestan was recognized as the spiritual capital of the Turkic world during the 2021 summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States. The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yassawi, a UNESCO World Heritage site, highlights the city’s historical and cultural significance.

Other notable monuments in Turkestan include the ancient city, the Kultobe settlement, the underground mosque of Khilvet, the mausoleum of Tauke Khan, and several other culturally significant sites. These efforts aim to preserve Turkestan’s rich heritage and promote its historical importance both nationally and internationally.




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