The Kalpak (or Ak Kalpak – “white Kalpak”), is the famous traditional Kyrgyz hat, popular not only among the elderly.
The Kalpak should be kept carefully, because “If you lose your Kalpak, you lose your head”.
This is the Kyrgyz form of the traditional Chapan coat
In Kyrgyzstan, like in any other ex-USSR country, remains of Soviet Union times dominate the built environment, such as these commie blocks, in their human scale version.
Memorials for war victims are a common sight in town and cities, providing a photo-op with a heritage flavor.
This somewhat Brutalist fountain in Osh is still an attractive background for a friends photo
Not far from there, these cute girls enjoy a lovely evening at the park
Wedding photos are popular in parks and heritage sites
Lenin shows the way to the wedding pavillions
Marshrutka, the van taxicab, is the most common means of public transportation in Kyrgyzstan both in and between cities. Marshrutka rides always create opportunities to meet and interact with local people.
Eliza, an English teacher from a village near Karakol, is taking her children in the marshrutka to a family visit.
Waiting for the bus
Occasionaly, ethnic festivals take place in various areas in Kyrgyzstan. It is an opportunity not only for foreign tourists to be exposed to traditional Kyrgyz culture, but also for local Kyrgyz people who gave up these traditions to modern and postmodern life style.
Recreating traditional scenes of family life in the yurt
Three generations, enjoying Issyk-Kul
These women are prepared for a large picnic with several families, a popular weekend activity.
Alexey is a mountain climbing guide, member of the Kyrgyz mountain guide association and climbing club Bishkek. Here he takes a rest in the climbers hut in Ala Archa national Park, a popular climbing destination.
Happy family of Happy hostel in Kochkor. Simple local life included.
Vasily painted the outer walls of his house and yard all by himself, and he’s extremely proud of his contribution to the public space of Osh.
Hospitality is a way of life for Kyrgyz people, a tradition which originated as part of their nomadic life. It occurs everywhere, even on public areas, where people simply greet and show around. These students spoke English very well and gave me a great introduction to Kyrgyzstan.
This was my welcome to Central Asia. I started my journey in an early June morning in Bishkek, and this cute group of students gave me a truly warm welcome.
Not surprisingly for those who know the people of Central Asia, I encountered such a warm welcome everywhere across Central Asia, during my 4 months journey.