Osh

Southern Kyrgyzstan falls within the desnely populated Ferghana valley which also spans Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. As a result, a fascinating mixture of ethnicities can be seen in any city, which include Uzbeks(the largest majority), Kyrgyz, Tajiks, Uighurs and Kurds. This cultural amalgam comes partly as a result of the complex borders drawn up by Stalin in the 1920s (see map), allegedly to quell any nationalist solidarity amongst ethnicities by dividing them; the Ferghana valley borders did not matter much until their solidification after the Soviet collapse.

With the city allegedly founded by Alexander the Great, the Prophet Suleyman or the Biblical Adam, Osh only recently celebrated its 3000th birthday. Famous for its sprawling bazaar and the mount of Suleyman, the regional center offers numerous interesting tourist sites and also serves as an inevitable starting point for border-crossings to neighboring countries, as it has since the Silk-road era.

The small town of Ozgon is located at the convergence of the Pamir and Altai mountain ranges. Sporting brilliant mausoleums and a minaret dating back to the Karakhanid dynasty (10th century), the town is a natural stop on any tour of the South. The towns of Jalalabad and Arslanbob also serve as beautiful stopovers and a good place to buy the regionís famous honey products, as well as providing a natural launch pad for nearby treks.