Anastasia Raevskaya — Here are some reasons why Kyrgyzstan should become your next destination on your travel agenda.
Enjoy breathtaking beauty of Kyrgyz nature
The territory of Kyrgyzstan is covered by endless mountains, snowy peaks, canyons and lakes, including Issyk-Kul Lake, which is the second largest mountain lake in the world. Issyk-Kul Lake is a popular holiday resort and a unique place famous for its warm sandy beaches, stunning mountain peaks and pine forests.
For those who love hiking, the ideal place could be Ala-Archa national park, which is located about 30 km from the country's capital of Bishkek. The place is amazing in its beauty, and is open for tourism all year round.
Experience Soviet legacy
When you plan a trip to Kyrgyzstan, you should definitely visit its capital, Bishkek. The city still has its Soviet roots, with its numerous Soviet-era buildings, old monuments and statues of Vladimir Lenin, dozens of which can be seen all across its territory.
The country has to some extent preserved the cult of Lenin, with many inhabitants having a very positive stance toward the founder of the Soviet Union. During the Soviet times, Kyrgyzstan achieved great successes in science, art, industry and other fields. Therefore, it is not surprising that many people talk about the Soviet era with nostalgia.
Visit oriental bazaars and enjoy low prices
The Kyrgyz bazaars have a lot to offer to their visitors. Travelers will be impressed by the variety of dried fruits and nuts, sweets and herbs being sold at very low prices.
Almost everything can be bought here, ranging from food to clothes and domestic appliances. In the meat department, ram's heads are even on display! Although it might look scary for an unprepared visitor, it is quite a common occurrence in the region. The head of a young ram is widely used in Central Asian cooking and, according to ancient customs, is served first to most respected people.
Learn new traditions and customs from friendly locals
People in Kyrgyzstan are, in general, very sociable and friendly. They are ready to tell visitors everything about their country; from its history and traditions to the current political situation and modern life.
One of the local traditions which might seem most striking for a foreigner is the "bride kidnapping" or the so called "marriage by capture." Even today nearly two-thirds of all marriages in Kyrgyzstan are the result of the abduction of the bride. Although in big cities, this custom has already trailed away and since 1994 has been considered illegal, in many of the country's villages the practice, when a man kidnaps a woman he wants to marry, is still widespread and considered quite normal.
Visit local events and get insight into the Nomad way of life
The country recently hosted the second World Nomad Games which has become a major international sporting event in Central Asia and attracted visitors from all over the world.
The rules of the game are like football, with the difference that the two teams consist of horse-mounted players seeking to place a goat carcass in a goal instead of a usual ball.
The Nomad Games are expected to take place every year. So if you are looking for a new experience, this sporting competition could probably be the right event for you to visit next year.