Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan

By Ali Karim
This post is part of a series called Silk Road Kyrgyzstan Sept 2019
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Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan; Sept 2019

We took the Air Manas flight from Bishkek to Osh; on a packed 737 (not the Max fortunately). The flight went over flat farmed lands, followed by the Ala Too mountains, and then back over flat farmlands. Some images from the flight

Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Small communities farming the land
Small communities farming the land
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Ala Too mountain range was quite big and long
Ala Too mountain range was quite big and long
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Very organized farming, seemed like Soviet efficiencies for work and play
Very organized farming, seemed like Soviet efficiencies for work and play

A little about Osh. Osh is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country. It is the oldest city in the country (estimated to be more than 3000 years old), and has an ethnically mixed population of over half a million people in greater Osh, comprising of majority Uzbeks, followed by KyrgyzRussiansTajiks, and other smaller ethnic groups. It is about 5 km from the Uzbekistan border, which accounts for the Uzbek majority. Osh was a major trading and silk producing center at a crossroad of two Silk Roads; one of which was the Major Silk Road from Kashgar in Xinjiang, China to Istanbul in Turkey.

Information
Its was a major Silk producing Center

Another claim to fame for Osh was that Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire in India, and descendant of Tamerlane (Emperor Amir Timur of Uzbekistan), was born in nearby Andijan, in the Fergana Valley. Babur grew up in this area, and conquered and lost areas of central Asia, before turning his sights on the Indian subcontinent.

Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Arrived in Osh
Arrived in Osh

After picking up our bags, we headed outside, where the Rayan hotel had sent a car to pick us up; included in the hotel rate of just over $60 per night, including a nice breakfast spread. Some scenes on the way below

Tip for Tourists
Book a hotel which provides car pickup!
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Mosques were everywhere
Mosques were everywhere
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Traffic
Traffic
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Lenin showing the people the way, at the Osh City Hall
Lenin showing the people the way, at the Osh City Hall

We asked the driver to stop at the City Hall as we saw a wedding party taking photo’s here. The driver kindly obliged. There were several wedding parties here taking photos.

Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Wedding 1
Wedding 1
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Wedding 2; this bride was very shy; note bridesmaid having a good giggle at her
Wedding 2; this bride was very shy; note bridesmaid having a good giggle at her
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan NO TITLE HERE
Silver wedding car
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Interesting Wedding cars, weddings seem to be big business here
Gold; interesting Wedding cars, weddings seem to be big business here

It was getting late afternoon, so after checking in, freshening up, we strolled around a little and had dinner near the hotel, at the Aetna outdoor restaurant.

Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Dinner was drinks, soup and rainbow trout; cost was about $15 total
Dinner was drinks, soup and rainbow trout; cost was about $15 total

Next day, we went to check of the Jayma Bazaar. This is a 2000 year old 1km long bazaar, that was the original Bazaar from the Silk Road times, and still in use today. Amazing. You can buy everything here, from clothing, milk products, vegetables, nuts, spices, household goods, shoes etc. Some scenes below from Jayma bazaar

Tip for Tourists
Always bargain at Jayma Bazar
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Jayma Bazaar at one entrance
Jayma Bazaar at one entrance
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Vegetables
Vegetables
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Garlic of different kinds
Garlic of different kinds
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Are these Rutabagas?
Are these Rutabagas?
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Orange and Yellow Carrots
Orange and Yellow Carrots
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Lots of vegetables
Lots of vegetables
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan More market with shoes and clothes
More market with shoes and clothes
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Nuts and dried fruits
Nuts and dried fruits
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Crystalline sugar, in color
Crystalline sugar, in color
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Typical Uzbek style Lepyoshka bread, baked in a tandoor
Typical Uzbek style Lepyoshka bread, baked in a tandoor

 

Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Closer look at the artwork on the Uzbek style Lepyoshka bread
Closer look at the artwork on the Uzbek style Lepyoshka bread
Interesting Food
The Tandoor Bread Lepyoshka bread has a very good texture and is like an art.

After looking at all these breads, we were hungry, so went across the road to a local roadside “food court”

Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Local food court with many locals eating and multiple small kitchens serving the food
Local food court with many locals eating and multiple small kitchens serving the food

The locals were very friendly, with several who shared their food with us when we inquired as to what they were eating; no English of course 🙂 . We decided to try a local chickpea dish, called kumus, It had chickpeas, tomatoes, onions and some green vegetable.

Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Kumus snack, came with bread and tea, a sweet milky drink that I did not like, and one samsa; cost was $1.75
Kumus snack, came with bread and tea, a sweet milky drink that I did not like, and one samsa; cost was $1.75
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Multiple kitchens serving the food in the local food court; everything was very clean and hygienic
Multiple kitchens serving the food in the local food court; everything was very clean and hygienic

We then left the Jayma market and went back to the hotel. We had contacted Shurat’s father who lived in Osh, to meet up with him, and were waiting to hear back from him. So, to pass the time, we walked over to the nearby park (near the hotel); which we learned was the “wedding park”. Some scenes below

Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan School children walked to and from school or took the local mashrutka’s (minivans that act as public transportation) quite freely on their own. Nice safe society
School children walked to and from school or took the local mashrutka’s (minivans that act as public transportation) quite freely on their own. Nice safe society
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Public park
Public park

We then entered the “Marriage” park, for 25 Som; or $0.35. This was where there were multiple couples getting pictures taken amid nice backdrops, and partying going on. See scenes below

Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Wedding pics
Wedding pics
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Wedding pictures
Wedding pictures
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Love walk
Love walk
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Another wedding couple
Another wedding couple

Lively Wedding partying

We walked back to the hotel from here, as Shuhrat’s father, Alifbek, his wife and niece, Adisa, had arrived at our hotel to meet us. We met Alifbek Azizmamadov and the family, and since English was difficult, they Whats App’d their daughter, Muayo, who is doing her medical residency in Moscow, to translate in both directions. We chatted for a little while and got to know each other, and Alifbek and his family graciously invited us over to dinner at their place the next day. Very nice of them.

By now, it was close to dark, so we showered, and then went out for dinner at Islambek, a local restaurant nearby; recommended by the hotel staff. We walked to Islambek as it was close by but had to stop and ask passersby where it was as all the signs were in Russian. We finally found it but were informed there were no tables available. Actually, this restaurant consisted of almost all private cabin dining areas, which were all full. However, there were a couple of picnic tables in the center; one of which was available. So we asked if we could sit here, and we got served here. Since English was difficult, this nice lady below, who spoke good English, helped us out

Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Lady who helped us order our food at Islambek restaurant. Note the cabins behind and on the sides, which were private dining rooms.
Lady who helped us order our food at Islambek restaurant. Note the cabins behind and on the sides, which were private dining rooms.

The meal was drinks, salad, lamb chops and kebab; cost was $10; very reasonable; I love this place

Food Station
Islambek is a very good dinning place which gives a private dining experience in the cabins
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Salad
Salad
Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Lamb chops dish
Lamb chops dish

After this delicious meal, we walked back to the hotel for a good night’s rest

More Osh next

 

Silk Road 15: Osh, Kyrgyzstan Map of trip so far
Map of trip so far