Burana Tower- the Minaret of the lost city of Balasagun in Kyrgyzstan
Updated: Aug 2, 2020
An hour an a half on the road crossing strawberry fields, cows crossing the highways, and endless views of green and yellow harvested land, we arrived at the Burana tower in the town of Tok Mok. Burana Tower is a 25 meter ancient minaret that is believed to be part of a large mosque from the medieval city of Balasagun.
Balasagun, a 9th century city has long disappeared and what remains is the minaret to remind people of the importance and glory of the city before an earthquake hit in the 15th century. The Minaret itself was double its height before the earthquake, and was later in 1970 during the soviet times renovated.
There is a dark and tight spiral staircase that leads to the top of the Minaret, of course, it's not for anyone that cannot stand to be in tight dark spaces.
The small museum in the same area displayed many artifacts and interesting findings from the earlier ancient city. From pots, to different coins used on the silk road, as well as tools.
The small museum highlighted a poet, Yusuf Has Hajib, known for writing the Kutadgu Bilig, who was thought to have been born in Balasagun. Hajib was known for his central Asian poetry, philosophy and was born to a wealthy prominent family in that time. Many streets in Kyrgyzstan bare his name including the Kyrgyz National University.
In the surrounding area is a collection of Balbals which are carved stones with faces and some of which had words in different languages. These are believed to have been tombstones from the times of the Turks. However, some of the Balbals had Farsi text too.
Burana Tower had the only gift shop seen across the Issy-Kul lake region until the town of Karakol. A small Yurt, a local nomad house has been built perfectly suiting the surrounding area showcasing local handicrafts and felt made items. Perfect for souvenir to take back home.
On the downside, having been in a car for over an hour, one would think a touristic spot as such would provide an international toilet facility, but they don't. Instead be prepared to be faced with what I have learnt to call the one-eyed friend. A hole in the ground in a cubical. Squating is required,and toilet paper. (Make sure to get your squat game on and enough toilet roll supply for your journey, perhaps also a nose clip to avoid the aroma!)
More on Kyrgyzstan coming up soon, but for now check the top things to see and do in Kyrgyzstan! Subscribe to receive my updated posts.
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