Osh and Uzgen
Osh, Kyrgyzstan’s second largest city, lies to the south on the Uzbek border. Since the 10th century, pilgrims have been coming to Suleiman Gora, a hill in the center of the city where, according to legend, the Prophet once prayed. The local history museum and the bazaar are also worth a detour. North of Osh is the town of Uzgen, home to the mausoleum said to have housed the body of the Kyrgyz hero Manas. East of Osh you get to the Sary-Chelek Nature Park with the lake of the same name. Kyrgyzstan also has mountaineering camps to offer: The Ala Archa Camp is 40 km from Bishkek, offers about 160 different routes and is the starting point for climbing the Kyrgyz Mountains (the highest point is 4876 m). The Pamir Camp in the south offers an opportunity to climb the peaks of the Pamir Mountains, such as B. Lenina Peak and Communisma Peak, both over 7000m. Many local operators offer mountain trekking tours and can also help with visa arrangements.
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The bazaars in Bishkek, Osh and Al-Medin are particularly known for their handicrafts and wide range of foods. Embroidered felt hats (so-called kalpaks), felt carpets and chess sets with traditional Kyrgyz figures are particularly popular.
Both Russian and European ballets and operas are performed at the State Opera House in Bishkek. Folk music and plays have enjoyed renewed popularity since independence, and excerpts from Manas, Kyrgyzstan’s national epic, are performed to packed houses.
Shish kebab (chunks of mutton grilled over a charcoal fire) and lipioshka (round, unleavened bread) are often offered at the roadside. Plov is a Central Asian dish of fried rice with shredded swedes and mutton pieces, served with bread. Laghman is a noodle soup with mutton and vegetables. If you order beshbarmak, you get noodles in a clear broth with grated, cooked meat. Schorpo is a meat soup with potatoes and vegetables. Manty (steamed dumplings with meat and vegetables), samsa (dumplings filled with meat or vegetables), and chibureki (fried pastries) are popular snack foods. Restaurants in the capital do not serve food after 10 p.m. Beverages: Black or green tea are the most popular drinks. Koumis (fermented mare’s milk) is slightly alcoholic. Other specialties include dsharma (drink made from fermented barley flour) and boso (drink made from fermented millet that tastes similar to beer).
There are no restrictions on the choice of accommodation for foreigners. However, accommodation outside of Bishkek is limited and travelers cannot expect western comforts or standards. In general, the accommodations are clean. Tourists must pay a special tourist fare in US dollars, which can be ten times more expensive than the regular fare. Special tour operators with local contacts can often achieve better prices for their customers. Some hotels outside the capital still have reservations about accepting individual travelers from abroad.
Mainly Sunni Muslims. Russian Orthodox and Buddhist minorities.
Best travel time
Continental climate with relatively little rainfall. Heavy snowfalls occur in winter.
Area (sq km)
6,524,195 (Source: homosociety)
Population density (per square km)
Population statistics year
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