Talas, Kyrgyzstan

Talas is a small, but well-known town and the Talas Province administrative centre. Located in Kyrgyzstan’s western corner, Talas has a mountain range from the region, but is reachable via the Teo Ashuu Pass. The Province of Talas is known as likely home of the mythical hero of Manas and Chingiz Aitmatov, the most well known writer in Kyrgyzstan.

The Battle of Talas in 751 is possibly the largest influence of Talas on world history. This fight marked once the Chinese forces were fighting by Arab forces (in this case, Abbasid Caliphate) (the Tang Dynasty). The Chinese also rapidly expanded to the West, taking influence of Kabul and Cashmir. The Abbasids began to retreat, and in 751 two armies gathered on the banks of the Talas River and won a decisive Arab victory. Following the triumph, Islam became more than a Buddhist prevailing faith in Central Asia, and for the first time Chinese prisoners of war in Central Asia were sharing the secrets of paperwork outside China.

In his account of his pilgrimage from Beijing (where he was born, although ethnically Turkish) to Jerusalem, Rabban Bar Sawma mentions Talas as a kind of reverse Marco Polo. On his way westward to Jerusalem, he encountered Kaydi Khan, the cou of Kublai Khan in Talas.

The settlement was not anything more than a village until the Russians broadened in 1864. As it now seems, the city was founded in 1877 as Dmitrievskoye Village by Russian and Ukrainian settlements, and soon 100 farmer’s houses were there. In the 1920s, in the middle of town and the banks of the river were constructed a brick church and a picturesque garden.

Manas Ordo, the so-called burial site of the legendary Manas is one of the most famous places in the Talas valley. As the held-in-chief of the Epic, Manas gives stability to the region and unites the fighting Kyrgyz tribes. As Manas was meant to have been born in Talas, the valley is now a hub of everything connected with the national hero of Cyrgyzstan.

There are three ancient camps approximately 20 kilometers northeast of Thalas: Kulan Sai, Terek Sai and Tash Kurgan. Cave drawings and petroglyphs are close to these camps. Besh Tash (“five stones”), a wonderful valley, is located to the south of the town.

Chingiz Aitmatov was born on the Kazakhstan border in Sheker, a small town on the province of Talas.

The second largest reservoir of Kyrgyzstan is the Kirov Reservoir that creates a huge, worth visiting lake on the Talas River. Since 1996 Besh-Tash National Park has been a protected area and boasts some of the country’s rare and beautiful juniper woods. Manas Mountain, the highest peak in the Talas range at 4.482 meters, is an excellent spot to explore for those who want a little more fun.