A Travellerspoint blog

Taldyk pass Kyrgyzstan

In 2012 I took the epic journey across Central Asia and into China, following Alexander the Great to the Jade Gate in China.

One of the most draw dropping journeys was in Kyrgyzstan and the Pamir Highway. Stopping at many places and looking at the Untouched Earth. The mountain Passes were stunning.

Taldyk Pass is a high mountain pass that separates the Fergana Valley from the Chon-Alai. The pass located in Osh Region, 160 kilometers south of the city of Osh.
The Taldyk Pass is one of the most popular passes in Kyrgyzstan. The height of the pass is 3,600 meters and it is a kind of gateway to one of the highest and most beautiful roads in the world – the Pamir Highway.

The northern slope of the pass is famous for its steep serpentine, from which spectacular views of the Ferghana valley are opened. The first road here was laid at the end of the XIX century and this event was an important landmark of one of the most interesting colonial confrontations of the Russian Empire and Great Britain for control of Central Asia, called the “Big Game”.

A rare feature of Taldyk is that it is open all year round, despite the high altitude. On the roadside, through the pass you can see a monument built in honor of Yuri Frantsevich Grushko, an engineer who participated in the design and construction of the road

Posted by TheJohnsons 00:11 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged sky view nature landscape travel mountain green grass scenery blue valley panorama summer beautiful aerial himalayas highway road scenic high central trip asian rocky path asia tourism outdoor windy pass himalaya alps outdoors andes dramatic valleys kyrgyzstan background pamir yaks curve graze winding curvy taldyk serpentines taldok Comments (0)

Naryn to Kashgar

As I look back at these images of my great personal journey along the Silk Route from the West to the East , I realise how much stronger it made me, how much it changed the way I am and the way I see the World and People.

I also lament how much fitter I was(lol) and hardier(stone cold bucket showers, and hot spring caves). It reminds me every time I look at the images of a "not one single regret of a 13mth journey I took" or how I managed to sell (divest myself of most of my worldly goods), and embark on my current living in SEA adventure. Sadly the mountains here are not so peaceful, too many Chinese tourists run like ants all over the places that should be calm.

Am I the only one that misses the desolate quietness of mountains ? or should I say the noise of the mountains. Wind, streams, rivers, sheep, camels, trees, grasses....

I hope you like my quick view of this section between Naryn in Kyrgyzstan and Kashgar in the Western corner of China.

All images taken with my hardy Canon 1100D

Posted by TheJohnsons 23:38 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged town road ancient #travel #tourism #tourist #art #ancient #desert #history #green #mosque #nature #china #architecture #road #city #unesco #kashgar #xinjiang #chinese #asia #kashi #muslim #old #asian #traditional #landmark #islamic #building #silk #heritage #popular #destination #islam #brick #mud #uighur #outdoor #attraction #decoration #minority #taklamakan #world #west #oriental #cultural #stall #uyghur #arch #town #district Comments (0)

Arslanbob to Bishkek and the Tuu Ashuu Pass (Kyrgyzstan)

The epic journey in Kyrgyzstan didn't finish in Arslenbob, but continued on our way to Bishkek.

Through some of the most desolately beautiful World. One of the most exciting and scary tunnel journeys I have ever done, is the main Bishkek-Osh road, which passes over a number of high mountain passes – Tuu Ashu (Flag Pass) crosses the Kyrgyz Range at 3588 meters, but a tunnel under the pass means that vehicle do not have to climb right to the summit.

The Tuu Ashu pass is kept open all year round – it is such an important route – the only route between the North and South of the country for much of the year.

Other passes over the Kyrgyz range are closed right until the height of summer .

The scenery I am sure you will agree more than makes up for it, and always I felt like an intrepid explorer doing this journey.

Posted by TheJohnsons 04:17 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged mountains sky snow water view nature landscape scene canyon travel mountain lake grass river adventure scenery clouds valley panorama summer way no beautiful wild hill national rock road person summit scenic high land spring central rocky asia gorge tourism outdoor pass shan peak cloud outdoors silk colorful environment range kyrgyzstan background Comments (0)

Arslanbob – Wild Walnut Forest & Waterfalls

During my two month stay in Kyrgyzstan, I spent quite a few days here, and I walked up to the Walnut forest via the waterfall and back down the valley...

Arslanbob (Written and pronounced in Kyrgyz as “Arstanbap”) is one of the most famous places in Kyrgyzstan. Arslanbob (Kyrgyz: Арстанбаб – Arstanbab; Russian: Арсланбоб; Uzbek: Arslonbob) is the name of the large wild walnut (Juglans regia) forest, but is also the name of the big Uzbek village nestled right at the base of some of the most spectacular mountains in Kyrgyzstan.

In addition to the similarly named sub district, valley, and mountain range all located in the Jalal-Abad Region of Kyrgyzstan. The vast tracts of lush green woodland with nut and fruit trees in the valley of the River Arslanbob are actually the largest of their kind in the world.

This scenery combined with some of the best guesthouses in Kyrgyzstan make it one of the places not to miss on any visit to Central Asia.

The fairy-tale walnut forest of Arslanbob in southern Kyrgyzstan is a year-round destination for hiking, skiing, horse riding and food enthusiasts. The suffix ‘Bob’ is commonly used in the region meaning “a traveler and explorer”; so COME be a ‘Bob’ to Arslanbob!

Posted by TheJohnsons 23:08 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged mountains trees sky snow view nature park hiking landscape travel vacation mountain town village green grass tree scenery blue white valley house woods holiday autumn beautiful rock road scenic forest high central natural beauty asia tourism outdoor peak peace alps silk environment alpine season altitude fresh kyrgyzstan background walnut arslanbob jalal-abad Comments (0)

Altyn Arashan valley- Kyrgyzstan 2012

Altyn Arashan valley

With 90% of the country land above 1500m in elevation, Kyrgyzstan has some amazing valleys. Altyn Arashan is one of the most famous ones for its dreamy landscape and hot springs. It is even more enjoyable that it is not so easy to reach it!

During 2012 during my journey across Central Asia and following the Silk route to China, I spent two months in Kyrgyzstan. This trip to the hot springs was a trip I shall never forget in the beaten up but bullet proof UAZ 452 (Commercial) Part minivan, a throwback to times long gone when things were made to last. The beginning of the road looked smooth but as you can see (although pictures cannot really show it), it quickly became rocky and bumpy, and sometimes unbelievably accessible!

Many times we crossed animal groups that were being moved to higher grass fields for the summer. Other old soviet vehicles, and horse riders, it is a great place if you want to get around on a horse, hacking is one of the popular activities there. We went for the hot springs and they were worth every minute, we had one to ourselves and your hut will be next to the river(well not far), a concrete pool will have all the perfectly clear,clean hot spring water you need. Afterwards we had a perfect picnic nearby and then the return teeth juddering journey back!

I hope you like my slideshow if so please subscribe, I am always working on new ones from my actually visited destinations.

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:45 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged mountains sky horses view nature park hiking landscape traditional travel mountain trekking green grass tree river adventure white valley summer beautiful wild hill national rock stone animal scenic forest cliff central sunny asia climb gorge tourism outdoor peak cloud outdoors meadow alpine kyrgyzstan background karakol arashan altyn-arashan altyn cloudscape tian-shan Comments (0)

Fairytale canyon "Skazka" Каньон "Сказка"

During my two month visit to Kyrgyzstan, a good amount of my time was spent in the beautiful Lake Issi Kul area.

Moving along the south coast of Issyk-Kul lake from Karakol town, before you reach the small village named Kadji-Sai, you have an opportunity to get into the most beautiful mountain landscapes.

The canyon was named because of its bizarre rocky landscape, which for many years has been transformed by erosion into amazing sculptures and formations. Some formations look like The Great Wall of China and you can also find other formations that look like snakes, dragons, sleeping giants and even whole castles. From the canyon you can see a majestic panorama of Lake Issyk-Kul and snow caped mountains.

Dedicated to my dear Photographer Compatriot; Natalia Arentseva!
This would make a great place for a photo shoot!

You can see Natalia's work here ; https://www.facebook.com/photographynataliaarantseva/

Posted by TheJohnsons 20:55 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged mountains trees sky architecture tower view nature landscape canyon travel mountain trekking lake scenery blue building woods summer beautiful red castle romantic rock old medieval scenic forest land attraction yellow natural asia gorge tourism geology german landmark orange fairy european tale bavarian bayern kyrgyzstan fantasy fairy-tale issyk-kul fairytale skazka fuessen Comments (0)

Bishkek's Stretched Limos!

Bishkek stretched Limos, Why? I hear you ask? well Bishkek is a popular place for the Kyrgz people to get married and no where is more popular than the Wedding Palace.

A restored Soviet throwback (1987) which now serves as a very kich registry office, no religion here! Primarily because of the soviet ban on religious ceremonies. Instead they agreed to a multi faith building.

A cross between a church, a castle and a Temple on the outside its brutal architectural lines belie the interior "fairytale palace" sadly on the day we visited it was closed as October is the popular month for weddings!

On wedding weekends, (rented) luxury vehicles abound: decorated stretch limos and Mercedes lead the honking wedding convoys.

During the quiet season(when we were there) we were able to walk round and see some of the stretched limos waiting for their bookings, a bit like a Limo car park. Again there are some others besides the Hummers/ Lexus/GMC/ etc that are to be seen, there is even reports of a fairytale carriage style car(which, sadly we did not see).

Bishkek is an eclectic mix of cars many from the Soviet era, and they certainly like restoring and cutting and shunting some of the modern ones.

Posted by TheJohnsons 19:04 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Comments (0)

The Wakhan Valley

This is a longer than my usually video but documents the stunning Valley and mountains of the great Pamirs and stunning views of the Hindu Kusch. A road totalling 440 km it covers the full journey along the Wakhan Corridor of Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

All the images were taken with my Canon 1100D and my two lenses the Canon Kit lens 18-55 mm and the Tamron 70-300mm(which I used mostly for this journey)

Welcome to my pictures from the Wakhan Valley. This was a journey through some of the most breath taking, unspoilt places on this Earth in 2012.

We picked up our car in Dushanbe and took the Wakhan corridor to Khorog and then onto mugharb, then the epic crossing to Osh in Kyrgystan. This is a longer than my usually video but documents the stunning Valley and mountains of the great Pamirs and stunning views of the Hindu Kusch. A road totalling 440Km

General info: Courtesy of; https://againstthecompass.com/en/wakhan-valley-tajikistan/ A guide to the Wakhan Valley in Tajikistan The Wakhan Valley is a mountainous region which belongs to the Pamir and Hindu Kush ranges, most of it being part of northeast Afghanistan.

For centuries, the Wakhan Valley was an important principality of the famous Kushan, a great empire which extended from southeast Tajikistan to the Ganges Valley itself in India. For this reason, despite being a very mountainous area, in the valley you find several fortresses located on the top of very high hills, offering the most epic and impressive views ever.

Historically, the region served as a division line between west and east Asia, so the valley became an important Silk Road route as well. In the 20th century, it also marked a clear border between the Soviet Union and the British Empire. With all this historical context, its incredible landscape, and awesome people, the Wakhan Valley is the ultimate adventure and a place you can’t miss in your journey through Tajikistan. By the way, even though most of the valley is in Afghan territory, the Lower Wakhan is located in Tajikistan which, unlike the Afghanistan Wakhan Corridor, is very easy to visit with just a bit of planning, a little money and following the advice shown in this comprehensive guide to the Wakhan Valley in Tajikistan

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:08 Archived in Tajikistan Tagged mountains sky water desert view wildlife nature park hiking landscape travel mountain river rocks clouds valley panorama holiday summer way life beautiful countryside hill day stone farm wilderness highway road shore cliff sunny flood asia tourism outdoor wallpaper corridor altitude riverside tajikistan pamirs wakhan afghanistan panj pamir khorog badakhshan wachan Comments (0)

Mahan Gardens Iran

Mahan Gardens Iran
Whilst staying in Kerman in Iran in 2012, and about too visit The Arge e Rayen, I first called at the oasis which is the gardens of Mahan.

The portal of this Persian garden as a clear structure frames the interior space of the garden so that when you stand under its arch, you face a beautiful scenery which comprises of the garden, the main pavilion and its fountains.

The interesting point about the fountains is that no electricity has been used for making the fountains work. The stream of water enters some crocks and then after reaching one of these crocks arrives at another of them which plays the role of elbows in today’s plumbing systems. The water then erupts out in the form of fountains and after passing the stone and mortar paved yard and then after passing the ponds which are beautifully placed upon each other reaches the main pavilion.

The choice and arrangement of plants and trees in Shazde Mahan Garden with its towering trees play a significant role in the identity of Persian Gardens. This garden with its fruitful trees paints colourful and scenic views during the fruit bearing seasons.

All in all, this garden shines like a priceless diamond in the centre of desert. Visiting this relaxing attraction is highly recommended for curious tourists. Wish you a pleasant visit!

For thise that are interested I have inserted a plan of the garden below
large_The-Prince-Garden-Plan-Source-Iranian-garden-book-a-reflection-of-paradise.png

Posted by TheJohnsons 01:09 Archived in Iran Tagged architecture water desert nature park fountain history travel plants province blue building world garden heritage historical holy muslim tourist near unesco site religious destination asia ancient tourism iran kerman persia landmark color decoration colorful persian ornaments century iranian march prince 16 2010 islamic built mid shia mahan shazdeh shahzadeh muddle Comments (0)

Arge e Rayen- Iran

Arge e Rayen- Iran

I wanted to visit Arg-é Bam on my trip along the Silk Route in Iran, but went to Rayen castle instead. When i saw a picture of Arg-e Bam I knew I would go there no matter what. To my regret the horrible earthquake of 2003 ruined it completely and many people told me that there is nothing left to see besides piles of rubble and few ruined walls (below the Bam castle before and after the earthquake).

The medieval mud brick city of Rayen is similar to the Agr-e Bam but smaller in size. It is extremely well preserved, despite numerous natural disasters that have destroyed similar structures nearby, and it is one of the most interesting sites in Iran. Arg-e Rayen was inhabited until 150 years ago and, although believed to be at least 1,000 years old, may in fact have foundations from the pre-Islamic Sassanid era.

The outer walls of the castle enclose the main governor’s citadel, houses and other structures around the latter. Most of the houses are dilapidated and just few still stand but you can easily imagine how the city looked in the past. Especially with some of the continuing restoration that was/is going on.

Remaining walls and buildings were freshly covered with hay-mud mix in the course of reconstruction and you can see in one of the frames i took where this has been done, even the hay is still on the ground ready for mixing!

The castle is quite small and you will need much time to walk around. The most interesting part is the governor’s citadel. It has a square shape and many buildings on its territory, which include a governor’s bedroom, his office, rooms for official ceremonies and guests The whole area of the citadel is covered with a roof, with several staircases leading to up. The citadel includes several yards similar to traditional Iranian houses which have square form and no roof above them for access of light to rooms facing these yards.

You can climb up to the roof and the walls and walked around the citadel. From up there you can see all around the castle and will have a better view of the houses surrounding the citadel. The yards, rooms and other structures in the citadel are freshly renovated. You can see that some more lights will be installed soon here and there. A big hall looks like a kitchen and there may be a restaurant in the near future. Besides that all the spaces are completely empty.

Posted by TheJohnsons 00:34 Archived in Iran Tagged architecture desert tower culture history traditional travel fort mountain province city building world heritage mud castle rock stone old big medieval wall east asia middle ancient tourism historic brick fortress iran kerman bam persia construction landmark e persian protection era iranian citadel sandstone arg sassanid stronghold rayen arge pre-islamic mudbrick Comments (0)

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