Some 42km northwest of Shymkent, on the main road towards Turkestan, the small town of Temirlan, close to the Arys River, makes an interesting place to stop when making the journey between the two cities. The attraction here is a museum dedicated to the life of a local strongman (in the literal sense), the Hajimukan Regional Sports Museum. Housed in a yurt-shaped building decorated with Corinthian columns, the museum tells the story of Hajimukan Munaytpasov, the champion wrestler, who died near here in 1948. A statue of the bare-chested Hajimukan stands in the centre of the museum. Behind this is a pink-hued frieze, with the wrestler painted in the centre with images of Kazakhstan around him: kobyz playing, kumiss drinking, Turkestan. The frieze also portrays places he visited during his foreign travels, such as the Eiffel Tower, and shows him lifting a camel on his back. It was his feats of strength as much as his conventional wrestling matches which built his fame in Kazakhstan. On display is a huge block, apparently weighing 350kg, which he was reportedly still able to lift at the age of 75. He had a chest size of 146cm at that age. Also displayed is a large metal bar, which he bent around his shoulders and a stone, which would be placed on his stomach while someone smashed a hammer against it. There are photographs of these feats being performed in front of large crowds, and posters advertising his appearances at wrestling bouts in circuses. The museum also has displays on other sporting personalities of the region.
One intriguing souvenir item on offer for several $ is a little model of that 350kg weight. Outside the museum stands a statue of the wrestler, showing him in action bending a bar around his back. There is also a model of the biplane Amangeldy Imanov, named after the leader of the 1916 rebellion against Tsarist rule, purchased by Hajimukan to help with the war effort.