A resort appears where the population is economically active – where they have something to rest in nature and have the means for such a vacation. The current overcrowding of Bishkek – more than one million people, coal heating in the short winter months – like in Istanbul and Athens – makes resorts in demand, which automatically leads to their development. On the other hand, a unique natural area is needed for a resort to appear.
In ancient times, the land of Kyrgyzstan was a key location on the Silk Road, a mountain bridge between China and the developed cities of the Fergana Valley, which were able to maintain order in their own way. To the north of this mountain bridge, there are vast steppes where the principle of “one man is not a warrior in the field” reigns, and “you can’t break an axe with a whip.” A large army appeared – join the large army or lose. Not the most comfortable environment for caravans. But in the mountains, one can maneuver. In the mountains, everyone is their own master to the extent of their abilities and skills. Tian Shan, Tengri Tagh – the names of the mountain range, the center of which is Kyrgyzstan. The mountains of the gods, literally. Here, in winter, you can bathe in hot springs, and in summer, in a huge lake. There is no heat in the gorges, and in any city, coolness always blows in from the surrounding ridges in the evenings. Look closely at the outlines of the wind-eroded ledges. It is difficult to find something in nature more similar to the architecture of the temples of Hindustan. And all the valleys and basins, like huge natural inhalers, are filled with the aromas of various herbs, plane trees, foliage, vapors from mineral springs, and streams. This natural complex was the main resting station between the dangers of the Turfan crossing to the south of Mongolia and the areas of political turbulence in Iran and Asia Minor. Kyrgyz people are still the most freedom-loving people in this part of the world. There has not been a single president in Bishkek who would even finish their first term. Despite the fact that all the surrounding “fathers and best people” have been ruling for decades. The Kyrgyz people did not rush into urbanization like in the Fergana Valley – to avoid being crushed by taxes – but they did not run to “join a single and strong gang,” as was the case further north. These are the mountain people of Central Asia, who have mastered maneuvering to perfection. What was relaxation in their view? A comfortable, mobile shelter that is protected from the cold and heat, excellent products, good relations with those who understand how a free life is organized and therefore do not try to impose methods, of which they themselves are hostages, on everyone around them. If you can “catch” such a rhythm of events, then you will most fully experience the pleasure of resting at resorts in Kyrgyzstan.
Four regions in the country can be considered resorts.
A major city located in the cozy eastern part of the Issyk-Kul valley. It is most suitable for lovers of active recreation. The routes around it are extensive and contain unique natural objects, many of which are themselves the hallmark of Issyk-Kul and Kyrgyzstan in world tourism. The best ski slopes, the Red Rocks of Jety-Oguz with the “Broken Heart”, the Altyn-Arashan valley – a magnet for hiking and horseback riding enthusiasts, the Przhevalsk pier – a real port with a quay wall and large port cranes – the only one in the world at an altitude of 1750+ meters, hot springs, one of the four wooden Dungan mosques in the world, the Trinity Church made of huge mountain pine trunks, museums with rich collections, and all the possibilities of urban infrastructure and hospitality in the regional center, which somewhat resembles Tibetan cities – much more closed, located to the east from here, in China.
The culinary specialty of Karakol is cold soup called “ashlan-fu”.
With adjacent villages – an area on the north shore of Issyk-Kul. Perfect for those who want to relax at the resort, without rushing anywhere, without organizing transportation and without going far. Everything is close here – hot baths with natural mineral water, beaches, walks on yachts and boats, outdoor exhibitions.
In Cholpon-Ata, every day you see the shore of a huge water reservoir with clean salt water, while on the horizon in front of you and right behind you are the walls of huge mountains like the Alps, the peaks of which are covered with snow even in summer. It is easy to imagine that this is a standard seaside resort, relaxing on the beach. But don’t forget that you are high in the mountains. This means that during the day on the beach, it is necessary to use a good sunscreen – the effect of the sun on the skin in the highlands is greater than usual. An alternative option is to swim and stay on the beach when the sun is not yet in the sky.
Seasonality: the main season is considered to be the beach one, the warm half of the year. The city is located on the way to Karakol.
III. Chunkurchak and Ala-Archa
Chunkurchak and its surrounding valleys are the nearest skiing trail and natural mountain attractions to the capital city, as well as hot springs. The main competitive advantage here is the short travel time to Bishkek and the opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking view of the distant horizon from the cliff platforms – an aesthetic well-known to residents of the Volga region. In the Issyk-Kul Valley, you are “inside the bowl” and can see mountain ranges from all sides. It was from Ala-Archa and Chunkurchak that the Kyrgyz controlled the Chui Valley, the only area in the country open to the Great Steppe.
Located in the southern suburb of Bishkek, it can be reached at any time of the year, with skiing season before the heat and hiking season during the summer.
IV. City of Osh
The city of Osh is a historic urban center and one of the oldest settlements in the country, with a history of several thousand years. Located in the foothills of the Fergana Valley, the culture of this region is closely related to classical Eastern culture.
A natural fortress since ancient times, the Sulayman Mountain range rises up in the center of the city. Visitors are drawn to the museum inside the mountain, the complex of caves beneath it, and the buildings of classic Eastern mausoleums in the outskirts of the city. The nearby town of Uzgen was once the capital of the region.
For millennia, the Silk Road descended from the mountain ridges to the cities of the Fergana Valley via Osh. The city’s bazaars are a unique world and a tradition closely linked to the historic trade route known worldwide.
Osh’s culinary specialty is plov, also known as ash (which means food in general).
The best time to visit Osh is in the early autumn, although it is accessible year-round. Visitors can reach Osh by plane from the capital’s airport or by bus along the mountain road (it’s better to travel by night during hot weather), or by taxi.