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  • Rashid

Kyrgyzstan beyond Bishkek

If you are in Bishkek for a short trip, going on an adventure around Kyrgyzstan might be constrained by time. The good news is, there is history to experience just a couple of hours away (slightly over 80 km eastward). Burana Tower near the city of Tokmok was erected in the 9th century! The historical site surrounding the tower is filled with powerful energy and is guarded by 'balbals' - stone stelae honouring the perished ancestors.

Burana tower. View from a nearby yurt.

The tower used to be 45 meters tall. Over the centuries it was damaged by earthquakes and water, reducing in size to 25 meters. A narrow staircase will take you to the top, opening a spectacular view of the historical site and mountains in the distance.

As with all sites of this magnitude, Burana Tower has its legend. Apparently, an ancient ruler had a daughter and fortune tellers predicted that she would die on her 16th birthday from a spider bite. It was decided to hide the ruler's daughter in the tower, to protect her from spiders (odd logic). On the 16th birthday, the ruler went up to the tower to gift his daughter a basket of fruits. A poisonous spider hid in the basket and did his thing. The daughter died and the ruler cried so hard that part of the tower crumbled.

The balbals are increbile. There are some from the 5th century.

The ever-standing Burana tower guards.

There are some lovely exhibitions in the yurts on site. There is also a small museum, featuring unique artefacts such as ceramic water pipes, jars, tiles, coins, and photographs. The museum is air-conditioned - when it's 35+ outside, it is a wonderful shelter. There are some souvenir stores with VERY reasonable prices. They also sell ice cream.

Open every day from 9am to 5 pm.

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