Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Our facilitator really wanted us to see something called "Burana," which she described as a "monument."  She said it was sort of near the orphanage, and that it was something that people would ask us about if they knew what city our kids are from.

So, she arranged for the medical translator and driver to take us there after our big medical translation meeting.  I was kind of expecting some kind of war memorial or something like that -- maybe something like the statue of Manas in downtown Bishkek?
No, this is a tower -- a very old tower, dating back to the 11th century.  Wikipedia says it's a minaret from an old mosque, but no one in Kyrgyzstan called it that.  Instead, they tell the story of a princess locked in a tower to protect her from a prophesy that she would die when she turned 16 (Wiki says 18, our translator said 16, so who knows).  Her father supposedly built the tower to protect her from all harm, but when she got to the prophesied age, her servant -- the only person allowed into the tower -- unknowingly brought a spider in along with the grapes for the princess's meal.  The girl died from the poisoned spider bite.  I guess you can't tempt fate.

Near the tower itself, there is a little museum.  It shows historical images of the tower, along with drawings of what the tower looked like originally compared to what it looks like today.  Apparently it once had a domed top.

The tower before the restoration work that was done in the 1970s.  Dates become very interesting when everything is written in Russian -- it becomes just about the only thing you CAN read.  Okay, fine, that isn't true -- I can also recognize the words for "restaurant" and "café" along with a few menu items.  Survival Russian for the win! (Even though that wouldn't help us here.)

An old gold plate that was apparently found near the tower.  Right about now is when we found out that you can't take pictures in the museum without paying for a photo permit, so we pled ignorance and illiteracy (at least in Russian) and put our cameras away.  Oh well, we got a picture of the gold plate, which is the coolest thing in the little museum anyway.  :P

Oddly enough, they don't care about picture taking in the gift shop, which is in a yurt next to the museum.

Papa Beast finally found a Kyrgyz hat that fits him.  :P

The view from the platform after the open air staircase.

Here's the best picture I could get of the stairs inside the tower.  Papa Beast was quite the gentleman, forging ahead in the dark to light the way for our translator and me.  Wikipedia does have a better lit photo of the stairs.

There were a few windows on the way up.

Basically, the stairs are pretty tall (each step, that is) and I'm pretty short, so I was climbing using my hands a bit, and gripping the edges of the bricks a bit too.  Yes, I did make jokes about climbing like the spider that killed the princess. 


Here I am!

And here's Papa Beast, collapsed on the floor of the top of the tower.

Another one of Kyrgyzstan's many beautiful views.

And some graffiti, which is actually pretty rare there.

Selfie time!

More selfie time!

That little tiny red dot on the bench is our driver.

Here's the yurt gift shop along with the museum, as seen from the tower.

Papa Beast looking serious.

Here you can see the decoration on the side of the tower.

 Another angle of the tower.

1 comment:

  1. So glad you got time to check out the "local" sites ~ very cool photos! Now the waiting and waiting...hang in there, we're thinking of you!!!