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Published: June 21st 2017
Geo: 40.5236, 72.799
In the centre of Osh there is a 5-peaked mountain, considered sacred. It is the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Kyrgyzstan. On top of the first peak there is a little prayer room supposedly built (well the original was built) in 1497 by Zahiruddin Babur who went on to be the progenitor of the Mogul Dynasty. It is said Mohammed once prayed there himself - without much supporting evidence. There are various other caves and ritual places and a cave on the far peak now accomodates a museum. So that's the number one sight in Osh.
The people of Osh claim that as a city it is older than Rome. Whether that be true or not it was an important town on the Silk route though little remains of any architectural splendour. It's trading history is evident, though, in the vast bazaar which is like East Street on steroids (sorry - South London reference there) and people come from far and wide to sell all kinds of stuff, food of all sorts, clothes, electronics, lots of cheap chinese rubbish, rip off mobile phones - it goes for hundreds of metres with branches to left and right and the most
gridlocked street you ever saw at the entrances with cars, taxis, minibuses. You can tell from the clothes people wear and their faces that there are a number of different nationalities. According to a local guy I got into conversation with over a beer or two (a rare English speaker) round faces are Kyrgyz, long slender faces Uzbek - there is a history f Khyrgyz/Uzbek friction here.
Close to the bazaar is a large park/fun-fair with lots of different rides and activities with restaurants and cafes. Sounds nice? Actually all a bit down at heel.
So that's Osh - second city of Kyrgyzstan.
Oh - hats. I first saw these hats in a shop that tourists would frequent in BIshkek and thought they must be for tourists. But as you can see - they aren't.
Tomorrow - to Taskent, Uzbekistan.
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