Kyrgyzstan, which is likened to the heart of Central Asia is a mountainous country with 90% of its territory located at an altitude of over 1500m and high mountain peaks near the borders with China, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. At the crossroads of the Silk Road that crosses the country of Kyrgyzstan, there are a number of interesting destinations and activities that you should explore when coming here.—————————————————
Kyrgyzstan is a country located at the center of the ancient Silk Road connecting with Western countries. Therefore, this intersection is the main stop for tourists and traders.The people here traditionally lived a nomadic life, riding on horseback as they herded their cattle in search of new pastures. However, all of this disappeared as the Soviet regime encouraged settlement in towns and cities. But the nomadic spirit still exists today and this is definitely a country for those who love the outdoors.🌲1. City of Bishkek
Bishkek Capital was known during Soviet times as Frunze, a modern city with wide streets laid out in a grid pattern. Unlike the rest of the country, it sits at a modest 800m and the climate is pleasantly Mediterranean.There are few high-rises here and it’s surprisingly green with parks dotted throughout the city. This is the place to do your shopping with Dordoi Bazaar, the largest bazaar in Central Asia, on the outskirts.🌲2. Issyk-Kul Lake
Travel east from Bishkek Capital, we will reach Issyk-Kul Lake, the second-highest navigable lake in the world after Lake Titicaca. Sandwiched between two mountain ranges, the microclimate means it’s warm and winter and cool in summer. Silk Road traders stopped here to relax after crossing the mountain passes and it’s still a popular spot for tourists.🌲3. Watch eagle hunting
As the sun sets on the shores of the lake, you will be able to witness the ultimate hunting performance of the eagle. Ruslan, their trainer, told me that he had been involved in this sport for over 30 years and presently is the proud owner of two eagles. He took them from their nests in the wild, before they were able to fly, and patiently established a bond, training them over four years.Female eagles are bigger than males, and they make the best hunters. The tradition of training eagles to hunt went back thousands of years and was used by the ancients to forage. Soviet rule put an end to nomadic life and nowadays hunting with eagles is mainly for sport and entertaining tourists. Still, there’s no shortage of young apprentices to carry on the tradition.During eagle hunting training, the eagle will perch on the trainer’s arm, who will step onto the top of a nearby rock and wait. Ruslan dropped a dead rabbit at his feet and emits a high-pitched whistle. The eagle rose from the peak, swooped down, grabbed the carcass, and started to rip it to pieces.As it munches the raw flesh, the owner calmed it by stroking its head. This relationship will not last forever. At 15, the eagle will be released back into the wild to find a mate and hunt for another 25 or 30 years. Ruslan will then have to find another eagle and start all over again. For now, though, he’s looking forward to competing in the World Nomad Games, held next year in Turkey.👉4. Yurts
For thousands of years, the Kyrgyz people were nomads, living in Yurts which they transported on horseback. At Kyzyl-Tuu village, where they still make them, I’m given a quick lesson on how to assemble one of these, an essential skill when you’re moving home every day.First, they form the frame with wooden struts, made from willow, then lattice sections are inserted in the gaps. Next, the structure is topped with a circular arrangement and then everything is covered in felt. It takes less than an hour if you know what you’re doing.👉5. The village of Arslanbob
From here, head west towards the village of Arslanbob located in the Djalalabad region, in southern Kyrgyzstan, at the foot of the Babash Ata mountain range. It has valleys, mountains and a vast wild pecan forest. In winter, the mountain peaks are covered with beautiful white snow, sparse white clouds pierce the deep blue sky, contrasting with the clear blue water of the lake. In the distance, small tents, roofed with corrugated iron and surrounded by neat fences, were scattered across the arid terrain.Driving to Arslanbob is like going on an endless and eye-catching road with no destination. It lies in a fertile valley, the town planted with poplar trees and the slopes containing one of the largest walnut forests in the world. It’s been here for over a thousand years and spreads over 60,000 hectares.The walnuts here are of high quality and were one of the many goods transported along the Silk Road. Now is harvest time and families are camping out in the woods to gather the nuts. In a good year, the forest yields over 200 tons of nuts.👉6. City of Osh
In the south of the country, Osh is one of the oldest cities in Kyrgyzstan and was founded over 3000 years ago. In the 8th century, it was important for silk production and a major trade centre on the Silk Road.These days there are few signs of its illustrious history but a visit to the Jayma Bazaar, one of the largest in Central Asia, gives you a sense of its importance. It’s incredibly well organized, divided up into clearly defined zonesOverlooking the city is a steep cliff, where King Solomon spent the night as in legend. In the 15th century, before coming to India and establishing the Moghul dynasty, the descendant of Tamerlane the Great, Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur, also hid here. The mosque he built on top is still known as the House of Babur, although it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1853.