At the Crossroads of Europe & Asia

Photo credit: Jered Gorman

Postcard from the Road: A Visit to Remote Villages in Kyrgyzstan

Happy villagers. Photo credit: Michel Behar
Happy villagers. Photo credit: Michel Behar

Tour Manager Michel Behar shared some photos from the road while on traveling on MIR’s Pamir Highway: From the Tien Shan to the High Pamirs small group tour a few years ago.

While journeying through remote villages on “the Silk Road Less Traveled,” Michel and his tour group met with several families of semi-nomads in Kyrgyzstan. Michel shared details of the group’s visits:

We met a family with 4 children in Kurtka, some 30 miles away from Son Kul Lake. They offered us homemade bread and kymyz (fermented horse milk). Kymyz is known for its positive health benefits; some locals go on straight kymyz diets for weeks because they believe that kymyz is good for cleansing the body.

Our host was a 43-year-old man, who was intrigued by everyone’s age (he’s the man in the red sweater in the top photo). He had a weathered suntanned face and a broad smile, and told us that he usually spends his time herding hundreds of sheep up in the hills.

We also visited another family in nearby Ak Tala. Our host wore a traditional kalpak (a pointed white felt hat symbolizing the snow-capped mountains). It was a delight to meet with the families here. The kids were especially charming — they were quite curious, and intrigued by the sight of foreigners passing through.

During these visits to remote Kyrgyz villages, we were able to get a glimpse of some the families’ daily routines, such as milking the animals and making felt carpets. Afterwards, we went to a local yurt camp for the night.

Kyrgyzstan is often considered “Central Asia’s Best-Kept Secret.” The country’s dramatic beauty is balanced by deep-rooted cultural traditions and warm hospitality. Although tourism there has been heating up, Kyrgyzstan remains an unspoiled and adventurous place to explore.

A Kyrgyz man stands outside of his yurt, wearing a kalpak. Photo credit: Michel Behar
A Kyrgyz man stands outside of his yurt, wearing a kalpak. Photo credit: Michel Behar

Here are some more photos Michel shared with us from his time visiting remote Kyrgyz villages:

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PUBLISHED: May 17, 2021

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