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  Home  »  Kyrgyzstan  »  Main cities

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Main cities



Osh is an ancient city in the Fergana Valley of southern Kyrgyzstan, allegedly 3,000 years old. It has an ethnically mixed population of about 220,000 (in 2003), comprising Kyrgyz, Uzbeks and Tajiks. Serious ethnic clashes occurred here and in nearby Uzgen in 1990.

Osh is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan and is often referred to as the "capital of the south". It has served as the administrative center of Osh region since 1939. The oblast's best-known and most popular governor during Soviet times was Sultan Ibraimov, who subsequently became Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Kyrgyz SSR before being assassinated in 1980.

Osh is a lively place, with the largest and most crowded outdoor market in all of Central Asia. The city's industrial base, established during the Soviet period, largely collapsed after the break-up of the Soviet Union and has started to revive only gradually. The proximity of the Uzbek border, which artificially cuts through historically linked territories and settlements, deprives Osh of much of its former hinterland and presents a serious obstacle to trade and economic development. Daily flights link Osh - and hence the southern part of Kyrgyzstan - to Bishkek and the north, and the recent upgrading of the long and arduous road through the mountains to Bishkek has greatly improved communications.

The city has several monuments, among them one to the southern Kyrgyz "queen" Kurmanjan Datka and one of the few remaining statues of Lenin. A Russian-orthodox church can also be found (reopened after the demise of the Soviet Union), as well as the biggest mosque in the country (situated beside the bazaar) and the Rabat Abdul Khan Mosque (from the 16th century). The popular Sulayman Mountain offers a splendid view over Osh and its environs and a cave in the mountain is the site of a museum containing a collection of archaeological, geological and historical finds and information about local flora and fauna.


The city is among the oldest settlements in Central Asia. Osh was known as early as the 8th century as a center for silk production along the Silk Road.

Babur, founder of the Mughal dynasty of Indian emperors and descendant of Timurlane, was born in nearby Andijan (Uzbekistan) in the Fergana Valley and set out from there on his conquest of northern India. He allegedly pondered his future on Sulayman Mountain, concluding that the confines of the Fergana would cramp his aspirations as a descendant of famous conquering warrior princes.

He wrote of the city:

"There are many sayings about the excellence of Osh. On the southeastern side of the Osh fortress is a well-proportioned mountain called Bara-Koh, where, on its summit, Sultan Mahmud Khan built a pavilion. Farther down, on a spur of the same mountain, I had a porticoed pavilion built in 902 (1496-7)".

The city was occupied and annexed by the Russian Empire in 1876 when Russia overwhelmed the Central Asian khanates during the so-called Great Game - the contest between Britain and Russia for dominance in Central.

Bishkek is the capital of Kyrgyzstan. It has population of approximately 1,000 000. Originally founded in 1878 as the Russian fortress of Pishpek, between 1926 and 1991 it was known as Frunze, after the Bolshevik military leader Mikhail Frunze. The name is thought to derive from a Kyrgyz word for a ...

Tokmok is a city of about 75,000 (2005) in northern Kyrgyzstan, east of the country's capital of Bishkek. Its geographical location is 42°50N, 75°17'E; its altitude is 816 m above sea level. From 2004 until 19 April 2006 it served as the administrative seat of Chui Region.Tokmok was established as a ...

Cholpon-Ata is the largest town on the Northern shore of the Issyk-Kul lake, about half way along, some 250 kilometers from Bishkek. Summer always saw large numbers of tourists in one of the nearby sanatoria or tour resorts (Cholpon-Ata boasts one of the two Presidential residences on the lake), and ...

Karakol (Каракол - black arm in Kyrgyz) is a city of about 75,000, located at 42.49 N, 78.39 E near the eastern tip of Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan and about 150 km from the Kyrgyz-Chinese border. It is the administrative capital of Issyk-Kul Region.HistoryA Russian military outpost founded on 1 July ...

Naryn is the provincial administrative center of the Naryn region in central Kyrgyzstan, with a population of 40,049 (1999). It is situated on both banks of the Naryn River, one of the main head waters of the Syr-Darya, which cuts a picturesque gorge through the town. The city has a regional museum ...

Talas is a small town in northwestern Kyrgyzstan, located in a long valley between two imposing mountain ranges. Its population is 32,538 (as of 1999). It is the administrative headquarters of Talas region. The town was founded by East Slavic settlers in 1877.Its economy traditionally oriented towards ...

Jalalabat (also Dzhalal-Abad; since 2003 also spelled Jalalabad and Jalal-Abad) is the administrative and economic center of Jalal-Abad Region in southwestern Kyrgyzstan, with a population of about 75,000. It is situated at the north-eastern end of the Fergana valley along the Kugart river valley, in ...

Uzgen (Ozgen) - Some 55 kilometers north-east of Osh – with a predominantly Uzbek population and this region was the scene in 1990 of ethnic conflict between elements in the local Kyrgyz and Uzbek communities in which there was a large loss of life. There are many claims made the city, that: it has ...

Batken city is the center of the oblast and rayon of the same name. The town of Batken obtained its city status when it was designated the administrative center of the oblast in year 2000. The city is well known for its Batken apricots, for their taste is well known both in the republic and beyond. ...

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