Category Archives: Central Asia

Beside Song-Köl Lake

There are places that stay in the mind long after visiting. Places that haunt the mind’s memory cache to prevail even years after having set foot there. Such places might be mountains, or rivers, or stretches of coastline; or even … Continue reading

Posted in Central Asia, Travel, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Kyrgyzstan railway wagons

Kyrgyzstan does not have much of a railway system. A branch line from Moscow extends down from Kazakhstan to Bishkek, the Kyrgyzstan capital; another offers an excruciatingly slow service to Balykchy on Lake Issyk-Kul. Another line extends from Jalal-Abad in … Continue reading

Posted in Central Asia, Human Geography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Lenins of the world, unite!

I don’t quite know what it is but whenever I have come across an old Lenin statue anywhere in the territories of the old Soviet Union I have usually not been able to resist taking a photograph. It may be … Continue reading

Posted in Caucasus, Central Asia, Russia, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Osh Bazaar

The first thing to know is that it isn’t in Osh. Rather, it is in the capital Bishkek. Why this bazaar shares the name of Kyrgyzstan’s second city is uncertain. Perhaps it’s because it is here that you come to … Continue reading

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Kyrgyz Graveyards

You see them everywhere in Kyrgyzstan. From afar they resemble hillside villages of mud-brick dwellings but a closer look reveals them to be cemeteries. Usually located a little way outside a village, sometimes on top of a low bluff, they … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Central Asia, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Arslanbob – In Walnut Tree Shade

It had been almost eight years since I was last in Arslanbob, a tantalisingly spread-out settlement in Kyrgyzstan’s Jalal-Abad province. As before, I had arrived at the start of Ramadan – the moon was new, the mosque was full; a holiday … Continue reading

Posted in Central Asia, Human Geography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Yuri Gagarin’s Holiday

When Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin returned from the first successful manned space flight in 1961 he took a well-deserved holiday. We can only assume that this took place after a considerable debriefing by the Soviet military – it was, after … Continue reading

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San-Tash: The Riddleof the Stones

A large pile of stones in the Karkara valley: in the far northeast of Kyrgyzstan, close to the Kazakhstan border, San-Tash is an enigma. What can this pile alongside one of the ancient Silk Road routes possibly represent? Who placed … Continue reading

Posted in Central Asia, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ghosts of the Aral Sea

To continue from the earlier post about a hotel that thought itself a ship, here are some more landlocked boats. These, though, are real ones – the rusting remains of what was once a large fishing fleet on the Aral Sea … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Central Asia, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments