Osh and Jalal-Abad (Kyrgyzstan) | Ants in Pants

Osh and Jalal-Abad (Kyrgyzstan)

Русская версия After our Pamir adventures, we finally reached Osh in Kyrgyzstan. We decided to relax there: it has everything you could crave for in the mountain villages: shower (sometimes even hot), fruits and vegetables in large quantities, and lots of other foods.


We stayed in the hotel Alay in the center, it was not too good, but the location and the price were more than satisfactory.
Hotel Alay in Osh

In the same evening, we had a dinner consisting from lagman (Central Asian soup), beer, and water melon, all of which we really missed. There is a lot of food in Osh – that is why it is often recommended to shop for food there before going to Pamir.
We started the next day with sightseeing. The city is not too rich with sights (still it is better for relaxing), yet, you may try.

For instance, the city park here is much more pleasant than in Dushanbe: it has a lot of shooting ranges, with prizes too. The guns are quite specific and not easy to point.
osh park

In the park, there is also an old Yak-40 plane: they still fly between the Tajik capital Dushanbe and the capital of Pamir Khorog.
osh Yak-40

Yet, the center of Osh life is the sacred mountain Sulayman too which has been included into UNESCO heritage list (entrance fee 20 soms). It opens a great view on the city.
mountain Sulayman

osh panaramic view

History museum is situated here too (entrance fee 20 soms, yet, in our case it was closed for lunch. It is said that it is nothing special though).
History museum

There are seven caves situated at Sulayman mountain, Chakka Tamar and Tepeunkur being the most famous.
osh caves

It is recommended to roll down a mountain in a particular place for seven times to increase your fertility 🙂
scariest roll down

On the top of the mountain there is a mosque Tahty Sulayman which was exploded in 1963 and restored based on the archival materials and schemes in 1991. At the foot of the mountain, there is another mosque, Ravat-Abdulahanna which was first built in the 16th century, destroyed and restored later.
Tahty Sulayman mosque

If you still want to visit the museum, there is another possibility in the center of the city – the three-storey urt ethnographic museum.
osh ethnographic museum


At this point we finished sightseeing in Osh and went for another destination – smaller town of Jalal-Abad.
Minibuses depart for Jalal-Abad from the bus station every half an hour till 6 pm, they are quite new. Passengers in a hurry sometimes take the ride standing, yet, you may wait for the next, empty vehicle. The road between Osh and Jalal-Abad is quite new, but there are many cars, and the bus driver even said that there are more cars than dwellers there. That is why they sometimes overtake each other in a dangerous way.


It took us about an hour and a half to reach Jalal-Abad: as usually, the bus station was beyond the city center, several kilometres away from the marketplace. The driver showed several hotels to us: one was terribly ugly (next to the bus station, for 700 soms), another one behind the gas station cost 1100 soms. We chose the third one – 1000 soms for a room with shower, toilet, TV and fan. All the hotels are based along the main road, so you may choose on your way. There are even better ones, but more expensive.
You may reach the market by Tico cars – that is how the locals name taxis the majority of which are Daewoo Ticos – for 15 soms. There is also a rare minibus nr. 105. On your way you may observe sights and people.


From the market you may reach the Jalal-Abad resort. An elderly driver agreed to drive us there for 100 soms, but since we knew little about the place, he cheated us by bringing to the lower parking lot (while the price is fixed for the upper parking). That is why we had to take another car. The resort is famous for its mineral spring, stinking yet healing mud and mineral showers. Unfortunately, we came too late: usually mineral baths are open till 5, but on this day they closed at 4. Newlyweds come to the park to take photos.
Jalal-Abad mineral baths

Kyrgyz wedding day


Some cultural experience: when Kyrgyzs learned that we are from Belarus, everyone wanted to send his or her ironic greetings to Bakiev, the former president of Kyrgyzstan who stole a lot of money and ran away to Belarus (taken good care of by Lukashenko now).
In Jalal-Abad we had tabaka chicken: for that we had to wait for the cafe to open, since this was during the fasting month, when the Muslims do not eat (and drink) between the sunrise and sunset.
Kyrgyz food

We planned to see the surrounding sights the next day, but our plans changed by chance. This was for the better!


MUYNAK: a ghost city at the Dead Aral Sea (part 1)
Our trip to Central Asia started from Urgench, a city in the West of Uzbekistan. We started it there not occasionally: not far from Urgench there is a town of Muynak which used to be a blossoming industrial center at Aral Sea, but ended up as a dying out dessert village. We arrived in Urgench at 2 am and faced a terrible customs control. Even though we were let to be the first as the guests, we got through in about 40 minutes only. One has to declare all the electronics, jewelry, and money without a single mustake, and if you make one, you have to rewrite two copies again and again.

1IMG_4816KHUJAND: The Second Unofficial Capital of Tajikistan
Formally, Khujand has never been a Tadjik capital. However, due to its proximity to Uzbekistan, size, and economic success (compared to Dushanbe), Khujand had a leading role in Tajik Soviet politics. Called Leninabad in the Soviet times, Khudjand supplied the Tajik government with most of the high officials, which gave it the status of tacit domineering. By the way, Khujand still has the largest Tajik monument to Lenin, made of titan.


3IMG_3875URGENCH, a capital of Khorezm province
We came back to Urgench from Muynak through Nukus. The Muynak bus drove us to the old bus station of Nukus, and the locals advised to go to the market to catch a bus to Urgench there. The markets of Uzbekistan are well-known not only for their great choice of fruit, nuts, and spices, but also for the tastiest nuns (or lepeshkas) – the bread baked in tandyr ovens, and somsas – small pies, usually, with meat. They are often sold from such old baby carriages.