Friday, 5 October 2018

Stan 3: Kyrgyzstan

 

Kyrgyzstan has a very different feel to Uzbekistan, the first country on our tour, even though both are ex-Soviet authoritarian states. Uzbekistan is historically settled - with what we'd recognise as agricultural/mercantile kingdoms - and straightforwardly Muslim. In contrast, Kyrgyzstan has a proud history of being tribal and nomadic, built few cities before the Tsarist era, and its version of Islam is mixed up with a fair amount of shamanic paganism.

Pretty much all the ancient art concerns goats.


They still hunt with golden eagles:



They love their yurts and their horses:





And their mountains - most of the country is "alpine":




They don't weave fancy silk carpets; they make felt hangings out of sheep's wool instead:


The most famous Kyrgyz historical site is the remains of the minaret at Burana:



Though they also do a cool line in balbals, which are mysterious ancestral stone figures:






We liked Kyrgyzstan a lot ... though it was worth being careful with the food choices ;-)

Balls of dried, salty yoghurt

A big bowl of NO THANK YOU

2 comments:

Jo said...

*Not* a vegetarian's paradise!

Janine Ashbless said...

No, but it wasn't bad, actually. Do you know the worst place I've ever travelled to, regarding vegetarian food? Lisbon in Portugal - I had to live on plain pizza for 4 days! I've not had any problem anywhere else, amazingly.