ANTIQUITY AND SACRED PLACES

Kyrgyzstan presents a great destination for ethnographic tours. Ancient petroglyphs on the walls of mountain caves date back to the 8th century BC, and ancient burial grounds near battlefield sites throughout the country mark the passing of various cultures and people through Kyrgyz lands. Roughly 5000 historical and cultural places across the country offer snapshots of Kyrgyzstan’s ancient past. Excavations in the shallower waters of Lake Issyk-Kul reveal the architectural remains and preserved artifacts of an advanced civilization of considerable size. In southern Kyrgyzstan, the City of Osh, in the rich Fergana Valley, draws many admirers of ancient artifacts, mausoleums, and mosques. In the heart of the city, Mount Sulaiman-Too, named after the Prophet Solomon, features 101 human and animal petroglyph sites and 17 identified ancient places of worship that bear witness to its role in the religious rites of antiquity. Two 16th century mosques, largely restored, confirm that Sulaiman-Too served worshipers from both Islamic and pre-Islamic times. Located at the crossroads of a Silk Road artery, the mountain is a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site. Its museum, built into a cave, displays relics of its history through the ages.