Kyrgyzstan history remnants – Cholpon-Ata petroglyphs and Burana tower

Day 86, 19th of September 2017 ​(29 Zul Hijjah, 1438), 22°C, clear sky and no wind. Went to the English School to say goodbye one last time and left Karakol on the mashrutka (local minibus) heading to Cholpon-Ata.

The journey took approximately three hours and cost 2€. I was so tired from the previous days on the mountains (see post) that checked in at the first guesthouse outside of the bus station (Love Studio, 5€ for a nice private room with hot shower). Had a samsa (pastry stuffed with beef) for dinner and at 9 pm was already sleeping.

Day 87, 20th of September 2017 ​(30 Zul Hijjah, 1438), 26°C, clear sky and no wind. Woke up late and enjoyed the bed as long as possible. At midday went to see the “petroglyphs open air museum”, an open field of stones of different eras (8th century BC to 11th century AD) brought from different parts of the country, some have drawings, some are sculptures and some are just arrangements. All, overlooking the beautiful vastness of the Issyk-Kul lake.

Goat and hunter petroglyph
Petroglyphs overlooking Issyk-Kul

Afterwards had lunch in a local restaurant, where I ate a nice борш (borsh, beetroot soup, typical in all former Soviet Union).


After lunch made a quick tour around the overly touristic town and took the mashrutka (1€) to my next destination, Tokmok, where I arrived around 5 pm to find out that it’s a difficult place to find hostels or decent guesthouses… After walking for two hours I settled in a shity one, the only I found.

Day 88, 21st of September 2017 ​(1 Muharram, 1439), 24°C, clear sky and no wind. At 10 am I was thrown out of the guesthouse, it seemed that they had very special check-out timings. So I went to the bus station and took the mashrutka number 216 to Burana, in order to see the famous tower, or what’s left of it.

The tower, that is actually a minaret, along with grave markers, some earthworks and three mausoleums, is all that remains of the ancient city of Balasagun, which was established by the Karakhanids at the end of the 9th century. 

Burana tower
It was school visit day…

Afterwards took the mashrutka back to Tokmok and another one back to Bishkek. My stay in Kyrgyzstan was approaching the end, only four days left…


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