10 reasons why you should travel to Kyrgyzstan right now
Kyrgyzstan is a small fairytale country surrounded by mountains, which attracts with its natural beauties. This small republic has a rich history, unusual traditions, and longstanding culture. This is because Kirghizia preserves historical monuments and the history of the great nomads. Today we will consider the reasons why it is worth visiting Kyrgyzstan immediately.
1. Where is Kyrgyzstan?
Kyrgyzstan is the "mountain paradise" of Central Asia, located between the steppes of the Kazakh Republic, the highlands of Tajikistan, and the Xinjiang plains in China, and the arid deserts of Uzbekistan. Are you wondering where is Kyrgyzstan on the map? Well, Kyrgyzstan on the map is like a pearl of Central Asia and is located along the Great Silk Road. As you know, the Silk Road is an ancient trade road between the Mediterranean and China, so Kirghizia played an important role in this amazing caravan route.
The most interesting thing is that two of the greatest and most famous mountain systems of our planet - Tien Shan and Pamir with the highest peaks of the world level - Lenin Peak 7134 meters high, Victory Peak 7439 meters high, and Khan Tengri Peak 6995 meters high - stretch through the whole territory of the Kyrgyz Republic.
2. Alpine ski resorts, extreme and active recreation
Since Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country, it is a tasty bite for all extreme sports lovers and active recreation. Kyrgyzstan has all opportunities for mountain hiking, such as trekking and hiking. Mountaineers and climbers from all corners of our world mark Kyrgyzstan as a wonderful mountainous area with unique Kyrgyzstan nature. You can get aesthetic pleasure from the charming scenery and bright nature. Snowboarders and skiers assure that it was in Kyrgyzstan, they were able to drive on slopes of varying difficulty.
Beautiful mountainous areas arouse wild delight in everyone: from small to large and at any time of year, thanks to bright colours.
3. Jailo-tourism, ecotourism
Recently, "Jailo-Tourism" has been developing in Kyrgyzstan, when anyone who wants to escape from the hustle and bustle of civilization goes to live in the depths of the Tien Shan and Pamir mountains. In simple words, such tourism can be described as living in national yurts. It is just for those who are interested in the history, culture, and traditions of nomadic peoples. Yes, there are still nomads in Kyrgyzstan who honour their ancestors' culture and do not change their nomadic way of life. Therefore, such a phenomenon can be seen in Kyrgyzstan's expenses, far in the mountains, where even the network can not catch. Nomadic people get along well in such conditions, and for them, it is a familiar way of life.
For the citizens, who are used to the hustle and bustle of capitals, metropolises, and large cities, it is hard to imagine and try on a way of life so far from civilization. Still, it is worth noting that this option of rest is of interest to many. There are cases when people threw away the city's hustle and bustle and changed their habitual way of life for a nomadic life. Why? It is in this mode you can find peace and balance of mind, to improve your health. Sometimes, unity with nature can be a vital purpose for a person. For some, "Jailo-Tourism" is an ideal opportunity to restore their mental health and find their own self.
Ecotourism is no less developed in Kyrgyzstan. It includes hiking in the mountains, living in tents, and learning about nature. And sometimes, Kyrgyz ecotourism also includes living in nomadic yurts with the nomadic family. Local ecotourism is a unique opportunity to see the fabulous places hidden from the eyes. Due to the continental climate and majestic mountain ranges, Kyrgyzstan is considered the land of major glaciers, fertile valleys, mountain rivers, and snow plains. Kyrgyzstan is a country of high-mountain lakes with charming shades of turquoise, bright meadows, and flower fields with many different herbs, and in general, a variety of vegetation and unique animals. This is the country where the beauty of snow leopards and lynxes is unprecedented.
4. Beach recreation
For fans of passive recreation on the shore, there is also an opportunity to have a great time. One of the most famous locations in Kyrgyzstan is Lake Issyk Kul. Every year, hundreds, if not thousands, of people visit resorts and recreation areas on the lake. Turquoise waters of Issyk Kul enchanted and fused in the heart of everyone who came. Yes, the water is cold enough, but it is incredibly clean and transparent. You can see every stone and different representatives of the water world. The nature of Issyk Kul and its surroundings left no one without impressions.
5. Climate of Kyrgyzstan
It is in Kyrgyzstan that one can feel different types of climate: from marine to subtropical. Here, every season is vividly expressed. However, the country does not impress anyone with sunny days either, as overcast days can be found only in winter and early spring.
As for temperature, in the valleys, the thermometer column does not often fall below -8 or -10 degrees. However, in the highlands and -30 degrees, frost is not the limit. In summer, the temperature in the mountainous areas is almost identical to that in the lowlands. A characteristic feature of weather conditions in the Kyrgyz Republic is dry air due to the neighbouring state's desert - Uzbekistan.
Due to the fact that air humidity is low, high temperatures on the country's territory can be easily transferred without feeling it at all.
6. Kyrgyzstan cuisine
Nowadays, on Kyrgyzstan's territory, you can find both national dishes and dishes of Russian, Uzbek, Turkish, Ukrainian, and even Iranian cuisine. Of course, Kyrgyzstan also has its traditional dishes, but because Kyrgyz is a nomadic people, it is not so diverse.
You will not find chicken dishes in the national Kyrgyzstan cuisine, as breeding these birds requires a sedentary lifestyle. However, there is a wide range of mutton and horse dishes. For example, you can try fried or dried meat, sausages. Why? The answer is simple: to preserve the meat during the hot season and not to allow the product to spoil, there are only a couple of ways - to fry it well or pre-wind it. Different types of sausages made of horse meat are, perhaps, the brightest representatives of the national, traditional Kyrgyzstan cuisine. The spicy taste is achieved from fatty pieces of meat and a special way of smoking or curing. The Kyrgyzstan people are particularly popular with nourishing and fragrant raishbarmak, which is made from homemade noodles and horse meat.
The culture of the Kyrgyzstan people has long been tightly embraced as various types of pilaf, manta, and chuchpara, as well as many other dishes of Uzbek, Turkish, Dungan, Uighur, and other cuisines. A huge influence in the mix of dishes was played by the previously mentioned Silk Road. The merit of the Great Silk Road was not only in trade relations and exchange of goods but also in the exchange of cultural peculiarities, traditions, and improving relations between different countries.
Sour milk products such as koumiss and ayran play an equally important role in Kyrgyzstan cuisine. And especially honey is honey in Kyrgyzstan. By the way, an interesting fact: it is Kyrgyz honey has been winning contests for many years and is the best honey in the world. This is because Kyrgyzstan is an environmentally friendly country, and the breeding of honey, as well as ecology, climate, as well as location of the country, plays an important role.
As for fruits - the best are apples from Issyk Kul, and from vegetables - the Kyrgyzstan people honour the pumpkin.
7. Traditions of the Kyrgyzstan people
Since in the last paragraph we talked about the dishes of Kyrgyzstan and food preferences, we would like to note the tradition of eating as well.
Meals are eaten at dastarkhan, spread on a narrow fabric floor. If you are lucky enough to get to this event, you should remember that food should be taken only with your right hand, and in no case, you should direct your legs towards the dastarkhan. You should either bend your legs underneath or pull them aside. Sneezing for dastarkhan, and in principle for any meal, is treated negatively.
8. Visa and registration
For citizens of CIS countries, a visa to Kyrgyzstan is not required. The visa-free regime of entry lasts 60 days, but it is worth making sure that you are given a certificate of registration at the hotel so that in the future, you can provide it to the border guards at the airport. To visit the border areas, you need to apply for a special permit.
9. Sightseeing of Kyrgyzstan
Bishkek is the Kyrgyzstan capital, the heart, and the soul of Kyrgyzstan. The city itself is located at the foot of the mountain range Ala-Too at an altitude of 750 meters above sea level.
The second-largest city after Bishkek is Osh. Osh is also called the "southern capital". Osh is an ancient city, which is located in the East of the Fergana Valley and has a thousand-year history. Osh is located at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level and is surrounded by hills and rocks of the Alay Ridge.
There is also Karakol city, which has a majestic Dungan mosque. It was built in 1907, and it is amazing that during its construction was not used nails. The mosque design shows the style of the Qin era because the Dungans are refugees from China, who founded a community in Karakol in 1877.
In 30 kilometres to the west of Karakol is Zhetty Oguz Gorge. This gorge is a majestic part of Kyrgyzstan, which amazes with its beauty and bright, natural colours.
It is also worth visiting the ancient city of Uzgen, which appeared in the second century BC. Travellers for a halt once rebuilt this city. The whole millennium Uzgen was an important location for travellers and adventurers, and in the mid-11th century, the Turkic dynasty, which reigned in 840-1212, Karakhanids founded the Kyrgyzstan capital here.
When travelling in Kyrgyzstan, pay attention to the Ala-Archa National Nature Park, which was established in 1976 forty kilometres from the capital Bishkek. Climbers from all over the world come here all year round because it is in the Ala-Archa Park that there are trails of varying difficulty.
Burana Tower is a historical architectural structure in the city, once another blossoming capital Balasagun Karakhanid dynasty. Today, only the tower and fortress's ruins, fragments of water pipes, household, and former culture are left.
10. Kyrgyzstan people
Perhaps an important point of this guide in Kyrgyzstan is the hospitality of the East. Without unnecessary words and descriptions, you need to feel it.
The merger of different cultures and traditions, different nationalities in Kyrgyzstan creates a special atmosphere of friendship between nations. Here you will meet bright personalities and experience a barrage of emotions, getting stormy impressions from the seen nature. In Kyrgyzstan, you can find peace and harmony, find friends, and feel all nomadic life colours. Come to Kyrgyzstan and feel complete unity with nature!
Nigina was born in New Delhi, India, but originally she is a Kyrgyz, Uzbek girl with Uyghur, Tatar, Chinese, Belarusian and Russian roots. She was raised in Berlin, Germany, where she lives currently. She is a nomad who has been to 40 different countries. Ex-snowboarder/freeride. As a photographer and a journalist, she wants people to be inspired by our Earth. She suggests people explore how incredible our world is!