South Kazakhstan (Оңтүстік Қазақстан облысы) is the southernmost province of Kazakhstan, with a population of 2,282,500 people. Its capital is Shymkent, with 539,600 people. Other cities in South Kazakhstan include Turkestan, Sayram, Kentau, Arys, Shardara, Jetisay, Saryag'ash and Lenger. This province and Atyrau Province are Kazakhstan's two smallest provinces; both are about 117,300 square kilometers in area. South Kazakhstan borders the neighboring country of Uzbekistan, (and is very near the Uzbekistan capital Tashkent) as well as three other Kazakhstan provinces: Karagandy Province, Kyzylorda Province, and Zhambyl Province. The Syr Darya passes through the province, on its way to the Aral Sea. Also, an oil pipeline runs from Turkmenabat, Turkmenistan to Omsk, Russia (where it connects with a larger, Siberian pipeline) through South Kazakhstan. Oil, lead, and zinc are refined in Shymkent.
As such, South Kazakhstan Province is the only province with a demographic breakdown where ethnic Russians are not in the first or second most populous categories. Census results are old and made using Soviet methods that served propaganda over accuracy, but they still point to Kazakhs being the most populous, closely followed by Uzbeks, with Russians bringing in a distant third.
Some places of historical interest include the cities of Turkestan, Otrar, and Sayram. Sayram was the birthplace of Ahmed Yasavi, (1103 - 66) a great Sufic scholar and author that lived and worked throughout Central Asia. He is entombed in a mausoleum complex that stands in present-day Turkestan, and which has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It was commissioned by Amir Temur (Tamerlane) to increase his standing among the area. The mausoleum was built by Persian masters, though it was left unfinished with the death of Tamerlane. The original scaffolding that would have been used to apply the colored-tile still protrudes from the front entrance.