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Only 10 km northwest of Karakol, on the banks of the Issyk-Kul, lies the Przhevalsky Memorial Park. Here is the grave of Przhevalsky as well as a monument and a museum to his honors.
Nikolai Mikhailovich Przhevalsky, often named after the Polish spelling Przewalski, was an officer of the Tsar. His outstanding contributions to the study of Central Asia made him an active member of the Russian Geographical Society and a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Between 1867 and 1888, one sent him to the Issyk- Kul region as well as four times to China, Mongolia, and Tibet. He should find a shortcut to Tibet. Przhevalsky brought back many informative data that helped the Zar Nikolai II at its policy of expansion. In Tibet, he met the Dalai Lama.
During the preparations for an expedition to Tibet in 1888, Przhevalsky died of typhoid fever in Karakol. He was buried on the shore of the Issyk-Kul. His monument, that allegedly shows in the direction of Lhasa in Tibet, is marked by an eagle with a branch and a map of Central Asia.
After his death, Karakol was renamed Prhevalsk. After local protests in 1921, the old name Karakol was used. This decision was revoked in 1939 and so the name Przhevalsk remained until the end of the Soviet Union in 1991.
We start our tour of the Przhevsky Museum. The researcher receives us in a large painting. In a small adjoining room, a ceramic relief map shows the routes of his expeditions, which took him through large parts of China and Mongolia.
He repeatedly reported sightings of wild horses until he brought along the skull and skin of a wild horse from one of his expeditions and had it scientifically described. This breed went down in history as Przewalski horses. Today we know that these were not pure wild horses, but descends from the domesticated horses of the Botai. The Botai horses have domesticated already 5500 years ago in Kazakhstan.
As we had lived 30 years in Munich, we know the Przewalski horse for a long time. In the Hellabrunn Zoo, one rears the Przewalski horses and returns them to the wild in Mongolia. After the stock had fallen to 40 horses worldwide, today it is again more than 2000 animals. The breeding takes place in different zoos. Best known for this is the Prague Zoo.
The museum in Karakol exhibits many animal preparations of Central Asian wildlife and many original photographs, drawings, documents and scientific equipment from that time.
We go on to Przhevalsky monument and to its grave. One has a beautiful view of the Yssyk-Kul from here.
In this memorial park, there is a second monument and museum. This honors Karasai Ulu Kuseiin a poet, writer, and politician.
On the way to the car, we see a little snake, probably non-toxic.
Please read on > Kara-Kyz Yurt Camp
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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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