Sayram is a city located in southeastern South Kazakhstan Province on the Sayram Su River, which rises at the nearby 4000 meter mountain Sayram Su. In medieval times, the city and countryside were located on the banks of the Arys/Ares River, into which the Sayram Su river flows.
The city celebrated the 3000th anniversary of its founding in 1999. It is among the oldest cities in Kazakhstan, site of the first mosque in Kazakhstan, and similarly among the oldest cities in Transoxania. Sayram is significant today for maintaining mud-brick architecture and the absence of Soviet-style architecture. There are many pre-20th century mausoleums, and more continue to be built.
Archaeology in Central Asia was active following its conquest by the Russian Empire, but remains a relatively understudied area.Modern Sayram is still very much a part of ancient Central Asia. Unlike most of Kazakhstan, it bears almost no mark of Soviet planning or modernization.