Kyrgyzstan – Home of the Sacred Mount Sulamain-Too

by

1 Khan Tengri

Kyrgyzstan boasts the mountainous region of the Tian Shan which covers about eighty percent of the country with many tall peaks, high-altitude lakes and glaciers. Peak Jengish Chokusu is considered to be the north-most peak in the world. The second highest and by far the most difficult peak to climb is Peak Pobeda with its stunning 7439 meters in height and grave avalanche danger. Peak Pobeda is situated on the border between Kyrgyzstan and China. Kyrgyzstan is divided into the cities and provinces of city of Bishkek, Batken, Chuy, Jalal-Abad, Naryn, Osh, Talas, Issyk-Kul and the City of Osh.

 

Kyrgyzstan is bordered by China to the east, Uzbekistan to the west, Kazakhstan to the north and Tajikistan to the south-west. Issyk-Kul Lake is located in the north-eastern Tian Shan and is the second largest mountain lake in the world. Sanatoriums, vacation resorts, hotels and boarding houses are located along the lake’s northern shore.

 

Kara-Oi, Cholpon-Ata and Bosteri are visited by more than a million tourists each year. The area between Naryn City and the Torugart pass is a popular location for camping. Naryn is also home to the well-preserved fifteenth century stone caravanserai of Tash Rabat.

 

Caravanserai of Tash Rabat

Caravanserai of Tash Rabat

Kochkor is located south of Balykchy and is a popular gathering place tor treks up into the Tian Shan Mountains. The main road from Bishkek and the Chui Valley comes to Balykchy and splits into a Northern and Southern lake route in the city. There are many stands on the main road selling local honey and smoked lake fish.

Osh is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan and is located in the beautiful Fergana Valley in the south of the country. Osh has no railway connections, but daily flights link the city to the City of Bishkek and the north. The highway from Bishkek to Osh is in excellent condition.

In the north of the town, on both sides of the river, is the most crowded outdoor market in all of Central Asia. The market is well-known for its fresh fruit, dried fruit, spices, nuts, clothing and souvenirs. Osh is home to several monuments, the largest mosque in the country and the Sulayman Mountain.

Sulamain-Too Sacred Mountain, Osh

Sulamain-Too Sacred Mountain, Osh

The National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex Sulayman offer information about the local fauna and flora and house a great collection of geological, archaeological and historical finds. The Sulamain-Too Sacred Mountain looms over the City of Osh with many sites of worship. The mountain offers amazing views and is an excellent place for hiking.

If you plan on staying over in Osh, the Osh Guesthouse between Osh Road and Kyrgyzstan Road is a nice and friendly hostel with wi-fi and laundry services. Next to the New Mosque is the Stari Gorad Hotel, a clean place with private bathrooms and a kitchen.

The highway from Osh to the Tajikistan border has been improved and is up to international standards. You can visit the villages of Irkeshtam at the Chinese border and Saxy Tash at the Tajikistan border if you travel the road between Osh and the border.

Bishkek - Capital of Kyrgyzstan 

Bishkek – Capital of Kyrgyzstan

Bishkek offers daily flights to Moscow, London and Istanbul. Hiring a taxi is cheap and easy. The Dordoi Bazaar, situated about ten to fifteen minutes north-east of the city, is worth a visit and an experience not to be missed. Dordoi is an excellent place to buy souvenirs and fresh produce.

Bishkek is a great city to wander around with its tall trees and beautiful parks such as Panfilov Park. The city is also peppered by monuments and statues. Ensure to visit the Independence Monument on Ala-too Square and the Historical Museum. The State Historical Museum boasts a large statue of Lenin next to it and showcases the culture and history of the Kyrgyzstan people. Green City Spa and Resort is the best way to relax in this country and a good Russian banya wil leave you totally refreshed and clean.

A favorite snack in the city is samsi, which are small pocket pastries stuffed with chopped up mutton and vegetables, and it is available at almost every street corner. Behind the Bishkek City Shopping Mall at the Fakir Restaurant you can buy traditional food at excellent prices and in good sized portions. For really cheap and great food you can visit Faiza at Jibek Jolu. Ensure to also try Sierra Coffee between Kiev and Toktogula, next to the Russian Embassy. Sierra Coffee serves good breakfasts and excellent coffee.

12 Bar on Razakova Street 32, Bishkek

12 Bar on Razakova Street 32, Bishkek

Bishkek’s nightlife is vibrant and diverse. You can enjoy a great evening at a plush place such as 12 Bar on Razakova Street 32 or experience the opaque floors and dancing girls at GQ Exclusive night club. Promzona is a trendy Russian rock bar with blues and rock acts on the weekends. For a good night out and lots of fun, you can party at the Retro Metro where the DJ performs in the train’s engine until the early morning hours. Remember to try the wheat drink called “shoro” the next morning. It is available at stands around the city and locals believe it is the perfect cure for vodka side-effects.

Kyrgyz Cuisine

Kyrgyz meals usually consist of foods such as rice, potatoes and bread eaten with lamb, mutton, horse meat or beef. Shashlyk is one of the popular dishes in the country and consists of grilled mutton or beef, typically eaten with raw onion slices, bread and vodka. Besh Barmak is the national dish and is made of horse meat served with a sheep’s head alongside it.

The local adaptation of American hamburgers is called a “gamburger.” Meat is served on a bun with cucumber, cole-slaw, ketchup, mayonnaise and fries. One of the best stands to buy a gamburger is situated at the corner of Kievskaya and Sovietskaya Street.

Holiday Visa Requirements in Kyrgyzstan

To enter Kyrgyzstan, a passport valid for three months beyond the intended departure date, with one blank page, is required by all nationals. Visas are not required for stays of up to 60 days except: Nationals of Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania, who do require a visa.

 

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