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Photographer's Note

Search a stock library for images from Kyrgyzstan. Or Google Images. Or Kasia Nowak’s photos on TE for that matter… You will be presented with vast landscapes, mountains, horses and romantic nomads wearing funny hats.

It is a distorted version of reality though. Kyrgyzstan is not without its urban spaces. In fact many of the nomads that oversee their herds in the summer jailoos go back to towns for the winter.

Balykchy is a town with a population of just over 40 thousand. It’s situated on the banks of the Lake Issyk Kol, the second largest alpine lake in the world, but unless you are standing right by the water, Balykchy has got nothing of the atmosphere of a mountain town, in spite of its almost 2000 metres above sea level elevation. It’s an industrial town with the main road from Naryn to Bishkek passing through it, Soviet-era grey residential blocks, and plenty of sad-looking small businesses with “Issyk Kol” in their name.

Those who follow my adventures will know that I stopped at Balykchy because I wanted to take photos of camels by the Orto Tokoy reservoir. I had only a few hours the next morning to first watch the sunrise by the lake and then take a quick look around the town before I caught a marshrutka to Bishkek from were I was to fly back to London.

Even in that short space of time I was able to discover more than one charming spot in Balykchy: a street lined with lovely old houses (some of which are, alas, being demolished to be replaced with modern buildings), a new but pretty mosque and, of course, the walk by the lake where no tourists venture (as they all go to Karakol or at least Tamchy; I, unfortunately, did not have any time left to travel to those places).

Two more photos in WS. It was hard to choose which one should be the main post.

No_One, holmertz, daddo, jjcordier, ChrisJ, delpeoples, macjake trouve(nt) cette note utile

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Additional Photos by Kasia Nowak (kasianowak) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1375 W: 6 N: 2527] (14285)
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