Ice Skating

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We will keep on exploring winter attractions of Kyrgyzstan. We have pretty much of an information about skiing opportunities of the country and now let me turn your focus to the “brother” of that sport – ice skating.

Skating rinks are not hard to find in Kyrgyzstan. Almost every city has one and Bishkek city’s skating rinks are competing one over another all year round.

Except for the indoor rinks, there are some unique places, which used to serve as a perfect field for skaters when there were not modern sport complexes. As you guessed, that is an open air rink on the lakes or huge ponds!

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is one of those unique places where you can go with your close ones and enjoy skating in fresh air. Let that place remind of old times when everyone was happy for winter and enjoyed it with family, friends and neighbors…

More Ski Resorts!

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I will keep on sharing the best infos of destinations for your winter breaks, friends I really hope that they will be useful for you, which will motivate me more in future!

So, thanks for Kyrgyzstan’s nature and its conditions, the number of cool ski resorts are not that few. The next ski resort is for those, who live in Bishkek and who do not, unfortunately, have time to travel  all the way to Karakol from the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

The base is known as “Orlovka” and it is probably one of the closest ones to the city. It is located just about 90 km from Bishkek and the levels there are all for professionals and the beginners at the same time.

The atmosphere there makes the visitor to come again and again, since it is so friendly, comfortable with all conditions available, starting from equipment rentals, international cuisine and wonderful nature around!

Winter vacations in KG

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No wonder that the beauty of Song-Kul, about which we talked last time, attracts so many people all year round. However, the REAL winter weather of the country does not want to allow anyone to reach that pearl of the mountains. So, gotta find some other distractions for winter. The perfect one would logically be the good winter resort!

In Kyrgyzstan it is so easy to enjoy winter. Even if there is no snow in downtown, it takes only an hour or so to drive to the mountains with perfect snow conditions. For instance, Ala-Archa gorge or Kashka-Suu if you are in Bishkek city, Karakol ski base if you are in Issyk Kul province and so on. All those destinations are separate topics to talk about.

If you are too lazy to drive that long, then the cities of Kyrgyzstan are rich with skating rinks ALL year round! So, the options are a lot and it is up to your creativity to make the best of winter vacations in this mountainous country!

Song-Kul nomads

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Pamir mountain range is not the only place where Kyrgyz nomads live. In Kyrgyzstan, there is a heavenly beautiful lake, called Song Kul. It is one of the highest alpine lakes in Kyrgyzstan and it is situated at more than 3000 meters above sea level. That lake is the place where most of nomads of the country live. Visit site in order to find out how to get there.

However, those people cannot be called as real nomads, since you can only see them in summer days. They have their own houses in usual suburbs or villages as well. After the freezing days of late autumn and winter start, they return to the “land” to keep warm. Even in summer, it is incredibly cold around the lake. The yurts (traditional tents) are not warm enough and there is not even electricity for lights either. So it is hard to imagine life in winter at all.

Many tourists visit Song Kul nowadays and most of them are ready to bear the hardships of the roads and cold nights for the sake of its beauty. Indeed, while going up the hills, it feels like you are going up to the clouds and walking among them!

Life on Mountains

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I have heard many people talking about their stays on the mountains and sleep-overs in yurts. Most of them were not really positive. They complained about horrible conditions (if there were at all) on the mountains and the cold weather, which made them stay up all night.

Hearing all of this, I even hesitate to go on with today’s topic, because it is about the people, who actually spend all their lives in those “horrible” conditions. Those people live on the roof of the world – Pamir mountain ranges. About 3000 meters above sea level is the place where they are still being able to survive! This video gives at least a bit of idea of how they make it:

Caravanserai on Silk Road

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I would have no doubts if you went into the spirit of Silk Road after visiting Osh Jayma Bazaar last time. How about continuing our Silk Road trips for longer, since this country hides treasures, much more than its size, from the great period of Silk Road? So, today we will be heading towards north part of Kyrgyzstan to Naryn province.

This province is one of the farthest from civilization region in the country. This makes it almost unbelievable that at the time of Silk Road’s prosperity, there was a hotel in that area! What I mean by this is the ancient caravanserai, called Tash-Rabat. It is really very hard to actually find that old inn among the hills and mountains of Naryn. Once you find, it may surprise you how great it looks despite so many centuries it went through. It is situated on the height of 3200 meters and served as a cozy shelter for the traders of foreign countries.

In some sources, it is said that Tash-Rabat was built as a Buddhist temple and later was turned into caravanserai. Others say that the local governor Muhammed Khan ordered its construction. Whatever the history is, the work is really worth praises. This is why tourists still keep visiting the place without worrying about the hardships on the way, just to experience the ancient Silk Road travels.

Welcome to Bazaar!

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We will go on exploring ancient Osh city and now it is time to introduce you to one of the must-see places there. Finding that famous place is not that hard – ask for Osh bazaar right on both sides of Ak Buura river, you will get there easy by any mini bus or taxi. Do not mind some pictures of it? Then click here!

Osh Bazaar is probably one of the first places the foreign visitors would love to see in the city, since this kind of bazaars are getting more and more rare and are being replaced by modern shopping malls and supermarket. Bazaar of Osh was able to remain till our days with the same spirit as in times of Great Silk Road. There are many walkways in that “labytrinth” of different shops filled with spices, sweets, fresh veggies and fruits, any kind of clothing and necessities for home – shortly said, EVERYTHING!

What else gives much joy during shopping in the bazaar is a chance of bargaining. Learning a couple words in Kyrgyz will not hurt either. Instead, it may even melt the local hearts and be more generous in bargaining!

3000 years back…

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Let the next of our tour be closer to the great walnut forests. The best place to visit around Jalal-Abad is Osh city! Any ideas to how old it can be? Incredible, but more than 3000 years!

Osh is the second largest city of the country, which is the reason why they also call it the second capital of Kyrgyzstan. Chinese historical scripts tell that the city existed that many centuries and since they are one of the most accurate ones, it is pretty easy to believe.

Osh is famous mainly for the ancient heritage, such as the sacred Suleiman mountain, the White house on the top of that very mount and eastern bazaars that still have the taste of ancient Silk Road.

Suleiman mountain is said to be named after the prophet Solomon and that many people used to have some rituals, such as tying a ribbon on its trees making a wish, sliding on the smooth rock to find cure for some sicknesses and so on. Inside the cave there is a nice museum, which can introduce you to the brief history, flora and fauna of the country.

Walnut Wonderland

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Who could have thought that one of the smallest countries of the world would have the largest walnut forest on Earth? Arslanbob Forest is that very place, located in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. It is the largest single source of walnuts in the world.

This unique forest is situated at the height of some 1,500 – 2,000 m. According to some researches, this walnut forest is not that old. Just about 2,000 years ago there grew other trees, such as junipers, birch trees, ashes. Enormous forest of walnuts appeared approximately 1,000 years ago.

Some legends say that the walnut forest was here already in the times of Alexander the Great (4th century BC) and Alexander brought a sack of walnuts back, to Greece, thus introducing this tree in Europe.

Trees in Arslanbob forest grow up to 150 – 200 years old and it is always exciting to see them in autumn when they bring fruits. Starting from October, the local people start harvest with friends and relatives, enjoying fun time together.

Ancient arts (2)

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Before talking about part two of Kyrgyz ncient arts, let me introduce you to its location first.

There is a beautiful tower called Burana, which is 75 km from the capital of the country Bishkek. It was about 44 meters high but because of seismic activity of the land, the upper part collapsed.

The tower was originally a center of ancient city – Balasagyn. Karakhanids dynasty built this city with perfect art as they came here to spread Islam. The city remained developed and flourished until Changez Khan invaded it and his troops caused the city’s destruction.

Adjacent to the tower is our destination – Bal-bals that are already 6-12 centuries old. These are the rock sculptures made from limestone and granite. They are found in many places in Kyrgyzstan but the biggest collection of them is the one near to Burana tower.