I visited Kyrgyzstan in October 2014. It was already late autumn and the weather had cooled down more than I had expected.
Nevertheless, I was a lovely little trip to a country like no other I had seen before.
Kyrgyzstan has a long and colourful history. It extends from times before Silk Road transit to being run over by Mongols, being incorporated to the Russian Empire and Soviet Union all the way to independence.
This history has made Kyrgyzstan what it is today. It combines islam, Mongolian looks and Russian culture (that including high popularity of alcohol and snacking on sunflower seeds).
Bishkek is a vibrant city, but should certainly not remain the sole destination that one visits in Kyrgyzstan. Unless one is out to admire architectural achievements of 1970s.
The real curiosity of Kyrgyzstan lies outside the capital city.
My trip took me to east towards the lake of Issyk Kul. On my way there I had a chance to see the traditions that have survived the test of time.
I was always glad to notice the local herders, who spend their day on horseback. Keeping guard of their cows or horses. However since it was late in the season, there weren't too many yurts out on the landscape - yurts are portable dwelling structures that allow these herders spend longer time away from the home village on best grassy plains.
After arriving at the lake side, I got my first sight of the stunning nature of my travel destination.
While travelling around the lake, I also had a chance to take pictures of locals.
As always, I spent most of my time photographing local children. They had the most exotic looks with narrow eyes, round rosy cheeks and slightly tanned skin.
The last days of my trip took me past some more stunning scenery ... the Fairytale Valley.
I was amazed by this location that obviously had not been seen by too many tourists just yet. The pristine clay ground was in various colours that were only enhanced by the storm clouds approaching from the lake.
In the end of my trip I took some time out to get to know about the tradition of eagle hunting. A marvellous golden eagle is brought up by the handlers to hunt small game at command.
The handler takes the bird to the top of a hill to ensure best visibility. Once the bird has sighted its prey, it flies off. Fixed on the prey, he descends fast. At the last moment he stretches his talons, ready to transfer all his strength into the prey.
Well, you can imagine what happens next.
All in all, Kyrgyzstan was a great country to visit.
It is not like the other countries I have visited. If not because of the curious collection of seemingly mismatching cultures, then because of the most popular way of travelling around the country: home stays.
Almost all nights in Kyrgyzstan I spent at somebody's home. The families welcomed me warmly and were eager to share their stories, tea and dinner.
See the full album of the trip here.
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