Naryn, Kyrgyzstan

Naryn is the administrative centre of the province of Naryn, Kyrgyzstan’s biggest and most highland province. While definitely not a large town, Naryn is home to a number of central Asia government offices, museums and a college. Naryn lies in the middle of Kyrgyzstan’s most traditional (and the coldest) district of Kyrgyzstan on the route to the towns of Torugart and Tash Rabat.

Naryn was established in 1868 as a Russian garrison, although a small fortress was built on Silk Road long before that date. In 1917, the town was controlled by the Red Armed Forces and in1920, there was a confrontation between the Red Armed Forces and the White Armed Forces. Naryn became the province’s administrative centre in 1927. In cases of visa questions Naryn has a Consular Division of the Foreign Minister and, due to its proximity to China, is a free economic zone.

Today, Naryn has approximately 35,000 inhabitants and is located around leafy streets on the banks of the river Naryn. In 2016, Naryn was opened to students from all over the country on a campus from the University of Central Asia. Naryn is renowned for some of the finest meats in the world as well as popular Kyrgyz foods, so take a bite to eat. Arrange a walk of Naryn in the museum, in the art gallery or in the mountains.

Koshoy Korgon, a Mud fortress from the seventh to the tenth centuries CE is situated just outside of Naryn. Koshoi is the name of a Manas Epic character and korgon is a fortified place literally. A small museum of archeological and cultural displays in Kyrgyzstan is near the castle. At-Bashi is not too far from Naryn for those more interested in Kyrgyzstan’s arts and customs. At-Bashi is a traditional Kyrgyz village with local craftsmen, food and an old history. At-Bashi is also a perfect starting point to explore jailoo and woods further into the Naryn mountains.