It seems like the Silk Road has been reduced to little more than a quick chapter in history books these days. Exciting or intriguing aren’t exactly adjectives people use at the mention of the Silkway, but why is that? In actuality, the Silk Road was a 2,000-year-old vehicle for the importation of exotic goods, devastating epidemics, philosophical exchange, and globalization accomplished by face-to-face encounters instead of via computers. Everything was personal and hands-on, basically, down and dirty. There’s nothing boring to gloss over about that!
Most people don’t realize that when they travel the Silk Road these days that Silk Road tours can lead them to some surprisingly spectacular places. It wasn’t all dusty, wind-swept deserts. One country that you may not have heard of along the Silk Road is the Central Asian oasis of Kyrgyzstan.
Located just went of China and south of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan is a vibrant, mountainous Silk Road country filled with snowcapped mountains, rolling pasturelands, and sparkling alpine lakes and rivers. Its tranquil beauty is beyond compare in Central Asia and makes it a rare find hidden along the great Silkway because it provides travelers not only with access to Silk Road history, but also with stunning scenery! Silk Road travel tours in Kyrgyzstan offer a lot for travelers. Here are 3 particularly exciting destinations no traveler should miss out on when taking a Silk Road tour in Kyrgyzstan.
A SILK ROAD TOUR TO AN ANCIENT CARAVANSERAI
A Silk Road inn, or caravanserai, called Tash Rabat still stands within the folds of the Tien Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan. This inn is made up of a large central domed room that is surrounded by 30 other rooms of similar design. It was here that merchants, travelers, and ambassadors along the Silk Road would seek sanctuary for the night to remove themselves from the dangers of the elements and marauders that lurked along the ancient trade routes. A Silk Road tour package in Kyrgyzstan wouldn’t be complete without a visit to this time and weather-tested structure.
LAKE ISSYK KUL
A popular stop for those that would travel the Silk Road in Kyrgyzstan was the alpine lake of Issyk Kul. This gem in the middle of snowcapped mountains would serve as a refreshing stop for merchants. Lake Issyk Kul is actually the world’s second largest alpine lake and to add to that, is shrouded in mystery. Archeologists have recently found the remains of what would have been a great metropolis on the bottom of the lake that could date back at far as 2,500 years ago. Walls extending for 500 meters as well as the world’s oldest existing coins are items found at the bottom of Lake Issyk Kul. Travelers interested in seeing some of these remains on their Silk Road tour can actually arrange for a diving excursion to the bottom of the lake.
A SILK ROAD BAZAAR
In southern Kyrgyzstan lies the 3,000-year-old city of Osh, said to be older than Rome itself. In this city is a picturesque, kilometer-long bazaar that is said to have been open and in operation since the times of the Silk Road!
For this reason, when traveling the Silk Road tours often include a visit to Osh Bazaar. Walk around an open air marketplace still filledwith bags of fresh spices, dried fruits, nuts, clothing, household necessities, saddles, handmade felt products, musical instruments, carpets, the incessant haggling of merchants and customers, crowded narrow walkways, and the constant hum of life. Get a modern taste of ancient Silk Road history during a trip to this exotic Asian bazaar.
MAKE IT A REALITY: SILK ROAD TOURS 2015
The nice thing about traveling the Silk Road in Kyrgyzstan is that citizens of 44 different countries including the EU, USA, and Canada can enter the country visa free! The country is very peaceful and the people, warm-hearted and friendly. To add some dimension to your travels, options for tours of the Silk Road in Kyrgyzstan include tours via horseback, trekking, cycling, or 4×4 vehicles so travelers can experience the Silk Road in the way that most appeals to them. Don’t pass up the chance to experience the Silk Road in this stunning Central Asian country!
Photo from source: www.mountpix.livejournal.com, photo by Lada Stupina