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The morning after the Osh Fest, Abdullaev Atabek from Destination Osh picked us up for a guided tour in the city of Osh. We are together with destination managers from various regions of Kyrgyzstan, who supported USAID at the Osh Fest.
At first, we go into the oldest district of Osh. The area at the foot of the Sulaiman-Too was already settled in the Bronze Age. Here, workshops produce the traditional ovens, the Tandoor or Tandyr. We want to look at the production of the Tandoor before we go to the bread-making.
In the courtyard, we see a set of prefabricated parts, but the purpose isn’t recognizable at the first look. But our guide Atabek explains it to us.
The basic material, the clay mixture is produced in elongated stripes. These are then formed into rings and stacked on top of each other. The seams must be carefully cemented. On top one forms a cone, narrowing towards the top.
In the summer the tandoor dries in the sun, in the winter with fire. Once the tandoors have dried, they are ready for use.
They are mainly used for bread making. Bread is one of the most important staple foods in Kyrgyzstan. It accompanies every meal. Bread is also a symbol of Kyrgyz culture. So people swear also on the bread.
Since it is the wedding season, one produces a lot of bread.
On the opposite side of the road is a bakery, where the bread preparation is demonstrated. The tandoor, embedded in the masonry is already heated.
Through a window, you can take a look at the bakery where the dough is prepared. Dough pieces of 380 grams each get the final shape. The middle is stamped with the Chekich, the bread stamp, to prevent the dough from rising.Everyone in our group is invited to form the dough. The finished bread dough is passed through the window to the outside.
The baker takes the pre-made bread and pushes it inside the oven against the wall where the pieces stick. So one bread is placed next to the other. Strangely enough, none of these pieces fall down.
After our bread is ready, we take them to the guest room of the neighboring bakery. Here they are producing the meat-filled dumplings, the Samsa.
But of course, we want to try our bread. Atabek bought fresh sour cream as a dip. So we enjoy the bread with a cup of tea.
Atabek demonstrates how one pours the tea and serve to the guests. One hands the bowl to the guest with the right hand, who also accepts it with the right hand.
On the way to the toilet, we discover an e-bike in the backyard. We are surprised because we did not expect so much innovation here.
Monuments and church
After the short break, we drive again to Toktogul Park, the location of the Osh Fest. This time we go to the eastern side, where we have already seen the many bridal couples taking pictures.
Some monuments are hidden among the trees. The first is the Memorial for the Victims of Chernobyl, which commemorates the independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The second is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Second World War (fallen of the Great Patriotic War). It serves as a backdrop for the wedding photos. The third commemorates the ethnic turmoils in 2010.
Behind the monuments, between the trees stands the only Christian church in Osh. It is a Russian Orthodox church, built from 1904 to 1910.
We cross the Lenin Square in front of the city administration and go down the wide stairs to Meerim Park. A large fountain cools the warm air. Since it is Sunday, several small events take place.
On the left side is a cooking contest for Plov, the National Dish. A jury inspects all cooking zones and takes notes.
In front of the fountain, young singers inspire the audience with their performance.
The back of the park is decorated for weddings. A miniature Eiffel tower complements the sights.
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Disclosure: Our trip was organized in cooperation with Discover Kyrgyzstan, and made possible by the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). All opinions are our own.
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