Burana Tower

The Burana Tower is a minaret located 15km from the southwest of Tokmok, a city in the Chuy Region, northern Kyrgyzstan.

The minaret is estimated to be built between the 10th and 11th centuries. During that period, the Kara-Khanid Khanate expanded its territory, which then covered modern-day Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and some parts of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in China. Balasagun, located in modern-day Chuy Region, was set as the summer capital.

Now, the only remains at the former site of Balasagun are the Burana Tower, parts of the foundation of a castle, and three mausoleums. A small museum was later built at the same site, displaying both the history and artefacts of the area.

The minaret was originally 45m tall. Yet, it was reduced to 25m due to a major earthquake in the 15th century which destroyed the top half of it. The reduction in height, however, doesn’t mean a reduction in the attractiveness of the view. Climbing the winding stairway to the top, you can still admire the view of the vast Chuy Region, which is surrounded by mountains.

Jayma Bazaar

The Jayma Bazaar in Osh is the largest and busiest bazaar in Central Asia. Its peak hours are usually Sunday morning. 

Estimated to be more than 3,000 years old, Osh is an ancient city in Central Asia, and was an important Silk Road city. In 104 BC, Emperor Wu of Han dynasty ordered the attack on Osh (previously known as “Er Shi” in Han dynasty) so as to acquire the Ferghana horse. However, the Han army was unable to take the victory even after a long struggle. It was due to the difficulty in logistics given a far distance between the Han Empire and Osh. The Han army was then forced to retreat.

Osh was industrialised by the Soviet Union. Yet, most factories closed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It is not until recent years that Osh’s economy has gradually recovered. Currently the second largest city of Kyrgyzstan, Osh is often referred to as the "capital of the south" or the "second capital". 

The Jayma Bazaar is located by the Ak-Buura River, covering an area that is 1km in length. In the bazaar, you can find different commodities of Kyrgyzstan, including traditional hats, knives, fruits, blankets and horseshoes.

Sulayman Mountain

The Sulayman Mountain is the only UNESCO World Heritage site that is fully covered by the territory of Kyrgyzstan.

Located in Osh, the Sulayman Mountain has been the place to which Muslims and followers of pre-Islamic religions make pilgrimages. The later emerged Islam also believes that the Prophet Sulayman, mentioned in the Quran, was buried in the mountain. 

At the peak of the mountain lies a small mosque, which is believed to be built in 1510 upon the order by Babur, the founder and first Emperor of the Mughal Empire. The mosque has long been a popular place of pilgrimage for local Muslims. 

On the mountain, there is also the National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex Sulayman, which is one of the largest museums in Kyrgyzstan. It has a collection of more than 33,000 artefacts, including artworks, handicrafts and statues.

Suyab (Ak-Beshim)

Suyab, modern-day Ak-Beshim, was a commercial city on the ancient Silk Road. It was also an important line of border defence of the Western Regions in the Tang dynasty. According to contemporary Chinese poet Guo Moruo, the great poet Li Bai was born in Suyab.  

The archaeological site of Suyab is located 8km southwest from Tokmok, in the Chui River valley. Given Suyab’s high military and commercial values, different regimes and clans had strived to get it for quite a long period. It was ruled by the Western Turkic Khaganate before the rule from Tang dynasty. The nomadic tribe Karluksone then took over Suyab after the Tang dynasty.

The archaeological site of Suyab now covers some 30 hectares. It comprises of remains of Chinese fortifications, Christian churches, Zoroastrian ossuaries, Turkic balbals and Buddha statues. These monuments of different religions and civilisations are a showcase of Suyab’s diverse cultures.