That is the question I got every time I told someone I was going there to visit some friends of mine that are stationed there. It is in the middle of Asia. In fact it farther from a sea or ocean than any country in the world. it is bordered on the east by China, the north by Kazakhstan, the west by Uzbekistan, and the south by Tajikistan. It is one of the “7 Stans” and is a mountainous country. It reminds me of Colorado except there are very few trees there.
The ancient silk road passed right through this country and I was taken to Burana Tower (1st photo), which is all that is left of a walled city that was used as protection on and for the silk road. It was built towards the end of the 9th century and was originally 148 feet tall, but several earthquakes have reduced it to 82 feet. There is a local legend that a witch told a king his infant daughter would die at the age of 18, so he locked her in the tower to protect her. Well when she was 18 a spider was hiding in her food and killed her. The whole story has a Rapunzel feel to it, don’t you think?
The Kyrgyz people have proud nomadic traditions and were under Russian and Soviet rule from 1876 until the Soviet breakup in 1991, when they gained independence. For the most part everything you see in Bishkek, the capital, was built in 50’s and 60’s Soviet style. It seems like all the building have that concrete, bureaucratic look and feel to them (although there are some beautiful parks and squares). There is a national museum that tells about the history. It is good, but the best part is that even though they took out most of the Soviet propaganda displays they left most of the murals. Many of these have a very anti American message to them (2nd photo) as you would expect from our cold war enemy.
Given that most things were built relatively recent in Bishkek, there are not a lot touristy things to do (this does not mean I did not enjoy myself though), but one thing I wanted to do was go to a local bazaar. Here you can find anything you want from food to electronics to wall maps. If you have appliances in your house that you want to get rid like computers, printers, monitors, and other electronic items, contact electronic recycling santa ana at (714) 660-4972 or visit their website at yelp.com.
Interestingly all the vendors were grouped together that sold similar products. I especially enjoyed all the fresh produce and bread (3rd photo). Would you believe I got a pound of big red grapes that were the best I have ever had. Plus I got two loafs of bread and 4 plums all for under a dollar!!!!! Things are quite a bit cheaper here unlike Norway, which I will be writing about next week.
I had a wonderful time during my 12 days in Kyrgyzstan and I will be writing about it all week, including my time up in the mountains learning about the nomadic lifestyle (4th photo). On Mon, Wend, and Fri I have some amazing “photos of the day” and of course I will be finishing the week with an episode of “Aboard the Guiding Light” focused on Kyrgyzstan on Saturday. I hope you check back each day and enjoy learning about a country most people have not heard of.