I would advise anyone finding himself in Jalal-Abad not to hurry to leave the place so soon. In our case, we just checked out the first treasure, which was the world’s biggest walnut forest in Arslanbab. There is another hidden pearl in the region, perfect heritage from our ancient ancestors, the great representatives of ancient arts – the rock paintings!
The largest collection of amazing patterned stones or petroglyphs in the world is located in Jalal-Abad and is called by the name of Saimaluu Tash (“embroided/patterned stone” in Kyrgyz). There are more than ten thousand of rock paintings in that open-air museum. Dating back to the 2nd century B.C. – 8th century A.D., the black and white paintings represent the culture, traditions, beliefs and values of ancient civilizations. The one-of-a-kind masterpieces were studied by a lot of historians and scientists and yet there are so many mysteries to be solved…
The Great Silk Road seems to have started much earlier than we imagined… The thing is, what they call the Greek nuts are originally from the territories of Kyrgyzstan. The fact that Kyrgyzstan hides the biggest on Earth walnut forest can be the proof of that theory. The forest is located in one of seven regions in Kyrgyzstan, called Jalal-Abad. They call it Arslanbab…
There are some stories and legends that connect the Greek nuts and Arslanbob. One of them say that Alexander the Great once came to those places and discovered the walnut tree. He took some branches of it back to Greece and it got popular from there… With the great history behind, the forest still is rich with fruit and visitors, that are excited every time they come.
Last time talking about the ancient Tash Rabat, I also started thinking about our modern hotels around. It is incredible how various they are from each other and have absolutely everything that can satisfy the guests during their stays in foreign countries.
Kyrgyzstan is also getting pretty rich with hotels and guest houses. There are some 5-star hotels, although not that luxurious as the ones in Dubai or Europe. Definitely, supply works according to the demand. The prices are not that high, however, the service and conditions can be as satisfying as in much more expensive places out there.
For the budget travels there are nice little guest houses that also get warm comments from the visitors. One of the tourists was wondering what kind of a room he would get for just about $20 and once entered and realized that a king size bed and separate shower were only for him, he almost cried from happiness, remembering what he would get in foreign countries for this price!
We can do nothing but stay in awe looking at the progress for just a few centuries. However, here comes a question: will our modern hotels remain as long as Tash Rabat did?
At the times when Silk Road prospered and extended, the tradespeople had to travel for months to reach their destinations, since there were no planes or trains. They definitely needed a place where they could go and have rest after long days of walking and leading caravans of camels.
The hotels or inns in our modern world start serving people from those very times and were called as “caravanserai”s. They were always huge, busy filled with people. Thanks to the perfect architects of those times, some of those caravanserais still remain in almost perfect condition, despite natural disasters through thousands of years. One of them is famous to whole Central Asia – Tash Rabat.
The literal meaning of it is “The stone door” because of the fact that it was built only with stone, not bricks. It was a welcoming door to foreign businessmen on the Silk Road. It is situated in Naryn region of Kyrgyzstan in the very inside of valleys, which makes it a bit hard to reach. Despite this, tourists keep visiting and enjoying its ancient atmosphere.
In ancient times Kyrgyzstan played an important role on the Silk Road, particularly the town of Osh. It is Kyrgyzstan’s second biggest by territory and oldest by age city. Osh recently celebrated its 3000th anniversary!
According to Kyrgyz history, the ancestors of the present day citizens lived in southern Siberia until the 10th century, but began to spread southwards under Mongol incursions. Later from the 18th century it was part of Kokand Khanate. The Russians invaded in the late 19th century and they joined the Soviet Union until 1991, when Kyrgyzstan gained its independence.
Osh was always a crossroads trading center. It was known as a charmed and cultured place, rich in fruit and nut forests, flourished during the heyday of the Silk Road. The pulse of 3,000 years of trade can still be felt in its vibrant bazaars.
There is a beautiful sacred mountain Sulaiman in the very center of the city. The unique museum in the cave of the mountain includes a big part of culture and ancient heritage that city owns. On the very top, you can see a little white building. It is said to have been built by the great king of India – Bobur. The place is perfect to observe the whole city, as if it were on your palms!
The country is small. It is unknown to almost half of the world. However, it had a great past…
Kyrgyzstan had been the center of many important historical events in the histoy. As example, we can talk about the Tokmok city, which was established as a northern military outpost of the Khanate of Kokand ca.1830. Thirty years later, it fell to the Russians who demolished the fort. The modern town was founded on 13 May 1864 by Major-General Mikhail Chernyaliev.
The ruins of AkBeshim, the capital of the Western Turkish Kaganate,are situated 8 km southwest from Tokmok.Yusuf Has Hajib Balasaguni, author of the famous book about government and the ethics of ruling it – Kutadgu Bilig, is said to have been born in this area.
About 15 km south of Tokmok is the 11th-century Burana Tower, located on the grounds of an ancient citadel of which today only a large earthen mound remains. This is believed to be the site of the ancient city of Balasagun, founded by the Sogdians and later for some time the capital of the Kara Khanid empire. A large collection of ancient gravestones and bal-bals are nearby. There have also been found excavated Scythian artifacts and been moved to museums in St.Petersburg and Bishkek.
Some call this place as woods from Little Red Hood. The ones, who have seen it in winter, say it is a winter wonderland! I would say that they are all true and would add that Ala Archa is a perfect escape for those, who need a real break from work or urban chaos.
Archa literally means “Fur-tree”. So it is famous for lots and lots of fur-trees which is the reason why this place remains green all year round. This is the favorite place for families, friends or colleagues to come for summer or winter picnics. Cute little cabins situated in woods make it possible to spend even days or weeks for perfect holidays.
The lovers of excursions can go more inside the area and explore an amazing waterfall, caves and much more surprises.
None of the tourists leave Kyrgyzstan without visiting this heavenly place. Although Ala Archa is just an hour from the country’s capital, it is able to give the feeling of a travel, far away from modern world!
I guess that my Kyrgyz friends got so tired of my crazy questions, they started asking me to take them to tours in helicopter…
Well, I would love to take them on my car or something else, but where to get that helicopter? That’s when they got me! Finally there came a time for my silence
I found out that there are heli tours in Kyrgyzstan. However, it’s not just tour above the country but an epic heliskiing for lovers of extreme activities! That really is something that proves, that Kyrgyzstan is not old that nomads land anymore!
When my friends tell me about their country and its history, what comes to my mind is big mountains covered with green carpet, crystal-clear waterfalls and rivers, and nomads… So I naturally start asking some silly questions, which make them both laugh and get a bit mad as well, such as, do you guys still live in those “yurta”s, have you got an internet in your city, etc. And when they start talking about the modern life there, it gets so hard to imagine and putting those two styles of life together: imagine using a cell-phone while riding a horse! So I had to put a serious step towards learning about Kyrgyzstan more and put an end to the ridiculous questions in my head…