Osh is the second-largest city in Kyrgyzstan and is considered to be its southern capital. The population of the city is around 250 thousand people of ethnically different nationalities like Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Russians, Tajiks and other small ethnic groups.
It is the oldest city in the country with a history of almost 3000 years. There are several legends about the origins of the city- claiming that it was founded by Solomon or Alexander the Great or that it is “older than Rome”. Although these are just legends, the fact is that Osh was a central city in Fergana valley and was on the Great Silk Road. It was a guarantee that Osh would become a big settlement.
Osh has an important outdoor bazaar which stays in the same place already 2000 years. It was a major market on the Great Silk Road, which made Osh an important trading city. In 1762 Osh was part of the Kokand Khanate and was one of the 6 main trading centres in the khanate. Osh has been expanded under the Russian role and the city had an industrial base. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it suffered a lot and only recently started to revive.
Osh is a town where you can walk around for hours without much sightseeing, just to get to now to the local culture. However, there are some famous places where you can visit. The most popular and visited place is Sulaiman Too, which is a large religious mountain in the centre of the city. It is the mountain or throne of Solomon and there are many legends about it. Climbing up the hill you can see Babur’s house, which is turned into a mosque nowadays. It was built by the Central Asian emperor Babur who ruled Osh.
The Osh bazaar, which stretches along the banks of Ak-Bura river, is another sight not to miss. If you want to explore the local food and handicrafts, it is the right place to start. There are also several interesting museums, including the Great Silk Road Museum and Kurmanja Datka (The queen of the south) museum.