A new Mosque in Sary Mogol ,beneath the Pamirs - religion has made a small comeback since Soviet times and almost all the Mosques and church's I saw were very recently built. However on the whole neither the Kirghiz or Russian's populating the country seemed particularly interested in religious activities. The Uzbek population on the other hand seemed more inclined to visible participation.
Kyrgyzstan land of mountains
Seemingly endless mountain ranges cross the country of almost every alpine variety. The greater ranges of the World are also represented with the Tien Shan that borders China to the North East and the Pamirs known colloquially as the roof of the World that border China and Tajikistan to the South east. Both ranges have seven thousand meter peaks and the Tien Shan boasts both the beautiful Khan Tengri, one of the classic symmetrical peaks of the world and Pobeda peak one of the worlds more difficult major climbs. However the Pamirs are far more extensive as far as high peaks go and form a huge mountain wall between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Approaching them one see’s this icy white wall stretching from horizon to horizon.
Peak Lenin at 7140 meters is the highest point on that border wall and the dominant feature. Its easy to access , and has the reputation of being an easy major climb – it has a rather more sinister reputation of being one of the most dangerous , indeed in 1990 the worst mountaineering disaster in history happened here on its slopes when 45 climbers died in an avalanche. That not withstanding hundreds , indeed thousands will attempt the climb every year especially as it has no peak fees.
I spent a week in the area around Lenin but found the crowds rather off putting - I expected some people up there but it was my first experience of mass's on the mountain rather than mountain mass's. Fortunately if one stayed away from the main route towards Lenin peak which acted like a human magnet one had the whole place to oneself. Given the extensive glaciation it was sometimes rather difficult to travel alone and a partner or two would have been nice. Eventually I ran out of food and headed back to Sary Mogol to continue visiting Kyrgyzstan by bike.