Often referred to as the “capital of the south”, Osh is the second-largest city in Kyrgyzstan that is located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country and it is the oldest city in the country. With a history estimated to stretch back 3000 years, Osh has been historically significant in many different eras, from being home to a large bazaar to being the birthplace of Kurmanjan Datka. Layered with centuries of ancient and Silk Road history, modern-day Osh features a fascinating interplay of cultures, cuisine, and people. Shady parks give way to Soviet-era monuments, which are just a stroll away from the region’s oldest bazaar. This is a city pulsing with locals who just love their city, including its quirks, customs, and its sense of community. Discover the history of Osh, as well as the people who make Osh a welcoming destination for travelers and locals alike.
Here are the 5 Stunning Places To Visit In Osh (Kyrgyzstan).
1. Alai Valley
Alai Valley is located in the southernmost area of Kyrgyzstan at 2240-3536 meters above sea level, the average height is 3000 meters. The Alay Valley (Alai Valley) called by locals simply ‘Alay’ (‘Alai’) is one of the most picturesque parts of the Pamir-Alai. The valley stretches 174 km from west to east. It features a number of rich summer pastures hidden in its gorges, while the Trans Alay Range is characterized by very high, inaccessible, ever white summits, which are massive and light at the same time, seeming rather try to reach the sun and the sky than to press upon the earth. The climate of the Alay Valley varies, as its average altitudes decrease from east to west. So, the eastern part of the valley features alpine steppe landscapes, while the climate in its western portion is much milder, the area covered mainly with alpine grass and even suitable for cultivating cereals. So explore the best of the Alay Valley on your Kyrgyzstan trip and discover one of the most stunning mountain regions in the world that are still unknown for now where this off-the-beaten-track combines some of the best landscapes, trekking, and nomadic cultural experiences in all of Kyrgyzstan.
2. Kyrgyz Ata National Park
Kyrgyz Ata National Park is 40 km from the city of Osh, on the northern slope of the Alai Range. Its territory is located at medium altitudes. Juniper forests are well-preserved in the park where you can relax in solitude surrounded by the cool juniper forests of the Kyrgyz Ata National Reserve. The park has an area of 11172 hectares. It was created to preserve the flora and fauna of the Pamir-Alai mountain system. The sound of flowing water and birdsong provides a serene environment for hiking along ancient nomadic trails. Keen eyes may spot furry marmots, soaring eagles, and other birdlife. Walk around the summer camps of local Kyrgyz herdsmen busy with milking cows and mares. Spend one (or more) evening under the wide starry sky and sleep soundly after hours of fun in the fresh mountain air. This park is unique since many historical and cultural monuments are located here such as ancient settlements and burial grounds. Kyrgyz-Ata National Park offers a variety of options for lovers of ecotourism: hiking and horseback riding tours in the scenic gorges, as well as cultural and educational tours to monuments of ancient history.
3. Abshyr Ata Waterfall
The Abshyr Ata Waterfall has located 70 km from the city of Osh, in the Abshyr Sai valley (sitting 1500-2500 meters above sea level). One has to walk about 3 km along the river and through the gorge to see this unique creation of nature. A powerful water flow breaks out from a hole on a steep cliff (1.5-2 meters in diameter) at a height of 12-15 meters. Low-mineralized water is believed to have healing properties. The water contains mineral salts. It is considered sacred, so you can always see here many people willing to fill a vessel with it. According to a legend, once upon a time, a mysterious stranger struck the rock with his staff, and milk started to flow out of it. After this case, Abshir-Ata became a sacred place where pilgrims came from all around, but later, when people no longer cherish the source, there began to flow simple water. That’s why you should visit this waterfall when you’re in Osh.
4. Sulaiman Too
Located in the center of Osh city, Sulaiman Too Mountain is the first UNESCO World Heritage Site listed from Kyrgyzstan and was once a major place of Muslim and pre-Muslim pilgrimage. Some historical and theological works, written sources, and ancient manuscripts mention that 366 of the 124 thousand prophets sent down by God in human history had visited this mountain. Sulaiman Too is a historical and architectural complex at the top and on the slopes of the mountain, where many historical monuments of different eras – such as caves with ancient petroglyphs, the Takht-i Suleiman Mosque, Ravat Abdulla Mosque, the Asaf ibn Burhiya Mausoleum, and the historical museum with a rich collection of archaeological, ethnographic, and zoological exhibits – can be found. Almost every one of these places is a unique ritual object, surrounded by a veil of mystery and legend. So, if you’re a history lover then this place is definitely for you. And you’ll be able to enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the city. Don’t forget your camera!
5. Uzgen Minaret
Forming part of the ancient ruins in Uzgen along with three well-preserved mausoleums located nearby, Uzgen Minaret is located in the town of Uzgen, which became the capital of the Karakhanid Khanate in the 12th century. The minaret is part of The Uzgen Historical and Architectural Complex dating back to the 11th-12th centuries. But due to strong earthquakes, the top of the minaret has been destroyed and now sits at a height of 27.5 meters, however, the structure of the minaret suggests that it originally stood about 45 meters tall. The walls of the building are made of fired brick and are decorated with patterns. The purpose of the minaret was to call the people to commit the namaz (obligatory prayer of Muslims) as well as serve as a watchtower. I am pretty sure that you don’t like to miss this amazing and historical Minaret on your Osh trip.