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Osh
Ош
Panoramic view of Osh
Osh is located in Kyrgyzstan
Osh
Location in Kyrgyzstan
Coordinates: 40°31′48″N 72°48′0″E / 40.53°N 72.8°E / 40.53; 72.8
Country Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg Kyrgyzstan
Province Osh Province
Population (2003)
 - Total 220,000
A Soviet-era Lenin statue still stands at a square in Osh.
Sunday market.

Osh (Kyrgyz: Ош) is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country and often referred to as the "capital of the south". The city is 3,000 years old. It is notorious in the Russian-speaking world for the bloody interethnic Osh riots of 1990.

Osh has served as the administrative center of Osh Province since 1939. The city has an ethnically mixed population of about 220,000 (in 2003), comprising Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Russians, Tajiks, and other smaller ethnic groups.

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 only World Heritage Site in the country, the 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.

Contents

History

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. The famous trading route crossed Alay Mountains to reach Kashgar to the east. In modern times, Osh has become also the starting point of the Pamir Highway crossing Pamir Mountains to end in Khorog, Tajikistan.

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)" [1]

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 Asia.

In 1990, shortly before the end of Soviet power in Central Asia, Osh and its environs experienced bloody ethnic clashes between the Kyrgyz and the Uzbeks, causing on the order of 1000 deaths. Fortunately, no open violent ethnic conflicts have occurred in Osh since that time.

Sister cities

References

  1. ^ The Babur-nama Ed. & trans. Wheeler M. Thackston (New York) 2002 pp4-5

External links

Coordinates: 40°32′N 72°48′E / 40.53°N 72.8°E / 40.53; 72.8

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Osh is a city in the Ferghana Valley of Kyrgyzstan.

Get in

By plane

There are several flights a day from Bishkek and back. It costs from 30 to 50 euro.

By bus

There are two weekly sleeper buses (Mon and Fri) from [Kashgar] in China leaving at 10:00 (Beijing time) and the trip takes about 18 hours. The price is 470 RMB and the buses depart from Kahsgar international bus station. As the road through Irkeshtam is at high altitude, remember to take warm clothes to the bus even during summer. Sit on the left for better views.

By Car

Prices of shared taxis from Bishkek to Osh vary quite a lot. In spring, when seasonal workers are travelling from Osh to capital and then to Kazakhstan or Russia, it will cost less, and vice versa in autumn. Normally it can be from 600 to 1200 per car. In September it was possible to go from Bishkek to Osh by 7 places taxi and it cost 1100 som per car. Highly recommended road!

By Bike

During the way from Bishkek, road reaches 3600 above see level. In the pass there is 2 km long tunnel, therefore be careful or try to hitch big care in front and get off after that.

  • Sulamain-Too Sacred Mountain. A mountain looming over the city full of ancient sites of worship, some still in use, dating back several millennia. It is considered the most complete example of a Central Asian sacred mountain, and accordingly has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's also just a good place to have a hike and take in the views. 20 som.  edit

Colourful bazaar, open 7/7, biggest on Sundays, smallest on Mondays.

  • The Bazar, (In the north of the town on both sides of the river). A very large market/bazar with plenty of different things for sale. If you are planning to buy souvenirs, do that here. And do not forget to negotiate.  edit
  • Osh Guesthouse, ... 3rd entrance, apt. 48. (A bit difficult to find. It is situated in the block between the Kyrgyzstan rd. and Osh rd. Try to ask the locals or the taxi drivers for directions.). checkout: 12:00. A nice, clean and friendly hostel in a normal Osh flat. There are two 4 bed dorms, a double room and a kitchen. The hostel only has one bathroom so you might have to wait a while to get your morning shower. dm. 220 Som.  edit
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

OSH, a town of Russian Turkestan, in the government of Ferghana, 31 m. S.E. of Andijan railway terminus, at an altitude of 4030 ft. Pop. (1900) 37,397. It consists of two parts, native and Russian. Here begins a good road up to the Pamirs, practicable for artillery. The trade with China is considerable.


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