Wednesday 10 May 2023
Highlights: Bishkek Bazaar, Victory Square, Changing of the Gaurd, Imam Sarahsi Bishkek Central Mosque, Dungan home made lunch, Burana Tower, the Beautiful Mountain Ranges.
The first full day of this new tour and our CEO IIyas Zamanov had us leaving at 8 am to allow us time to visit the Bishkek Bazaar before explorng the city further. The Bazaar sells almost everything you can imagine that a local can make (i.e. not many imports) this includes horse meat, various breads, cheeses, and tobacco based products. An interesting place that I imagine greats fairly busy during the day.
Next up was a visit to Al-Too Square, which I had been at the day before but this time I got to see a Changing of the Guard Ceremony.
While walking about Bishkek we came across a number of important statues, including Kurmanjan Datka and important female leader who died in 1907 who lead her people in struggles and eventually peace with the Russin Empire. Very unusual for a female in that time to be such an important leader.
There are also a number of Soviet era monuments including of Comrade Lenin and a display celebrating the sucess of the Soviet Revolution never Victory Square.
We then visited the impressive Imam Sarahsi Bishkek Central Mosque, styled very much like Turkish Mosques.
Driving from Bishkek we stopped for lunch at a Dungan village for lunch. The Dungans are exiled Chinese Muslims who fled over the Tien Shan Mountains after a failed rebellion in 1877. Everything bar some sweets we had for lunch was grown at the home we visited. We also got an explaination on Dungan history and saw some traditional wedding clothes.
Next up was a drive to see Burana Tower. The tower is a large minaret, which along with some grave markers is all that is left of the of the ancient city of Balasagun. The tower was built in the 11th century. I climb up to the top via a very enclose, steep and dark stairwell. You are best climbing by pulling yourself up from higher steps, no one can pass you in the confine space. The view from the top was memorable but also the view from the bottom.
We then moved onto our final stop of the day at Chong-Kemin. This area is nestled under an impressive mountain range, a range that we got to see a lot of in the second half of the day. Tomorrow we will do a short 2 hour return hike up a mountain path to get a better look.
A very good start to this tour today.
I have enjoyed your posts so far but really looking forward to your central asia adventure!