A Glance At Kyrgyzstan

June 16, 2014

In the shadow cast by the Burana Tower, horseriders stand in the shade resting from the 40 degree heat. Originally 45m high, a major earthquake in the 15th century destroyed the top half of the tower, reducing it to its current height of 25m and leaving the tower with a list.  

You can find remants from the Soviet era throughout the country – from the gate of a farmer's house in the town of Boconbayevo on the south shore of Lake Issyk-Kul, to the gigantic 30m tall statue of Lenin on the outskirts of Osh, the second biggest city in Kyrgyzstan.

The landscape in Kyrgyzstan is diverse, from vast open plains to mountains and crystal clear lakes. Most poeple don't have their own cars, so the options for transport between cities are marshrutkas (minibuses) for short distances and shared taxis for distances that take longer than 6-8 hours.  

Ulak Tartysh is played in front of packed stands at the hippodrome in central Bishkek. This match was laid on for Kyrgyzstan Independence Day. 

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In this ancient game players   fight to place a goat carcass in a pit at the their opponents’ end of the field of play. Ulak Tartysh or “goat grabbing” is the most popular sport in Kyrgyzstan. The headless and disemboweled goat carcass has its legs removed below the knees and is soaked in cold water for 24 hours.

The police and the army, on hand to control the crowds during the Independence Day events, seem just as captivated by the game as the spectators. 

Team Naryn gets the carcass into the goal pit and secure victory after wrestling it away from players from Talaas.