Osh, the official southern capital city of Kyrgyzstan, is the oldest city in the country. This 3000 years old town is the intersection of cultures, cuisines, and languages. That makes it one of the most exciting places to scout for souvenirs in Kyrgystan. It is a multicultural city with influences from all the empires and dynasties that existed in the city's long history. Here, you can stroll in the old bazaars that existed during the Great Silk Road times, when not only goods were traded but also cultures were blended. So, here, you will find many little treasures that you can bring home besides memories.
Uzgen rice is a special kind of rice that grows only in this region and is used for making plov, a very popular traditional dish in all post-Soviet countries. In Kyrgyzstan, plov from Osh is considered to be the best one, so make sure to bring a pack of this rice back with you. You can be sure that you will not find this rice anywhere else in the world. Brown in color, it has rich flavor and can survive long hours of boiling without becoming too soft. It is perfect for dishes cooked in steam like briyani and others, making it an ideal tasty souvenir to bring home.
Adras, the traditional Uzbek silk with very characteristic ornaments, has become highly popular not only in Central Asia but in the whole world, thanks to the famous designers like Gucci, Valentino, Reem Akra, Osman... Western designers are taking this Uzbek textile and reinventing it to be used in the high fashion panels. A majority of Osh's population is Uzbek, who developed a technology of creating beautiful silk with very brightly painted ornaments. There is even a silk-factory in Osh, and you can find clothes from adras in bazaars and stores.
Tush-kiyiz is a large traditional Kyrgyz wall hanging with elaborate embroidery. Women created them and used primarily to decorate the interior of the yurtas, when the children were about to get married. It is often created by combining different pieces of fabrics, and include the traditional ornament called oymos. The Saimaluu-Tash Art Gallery has an excellent collection of handmade tush-kiyizs. In this gallery, you can also find other beautiful souvenirs and artifacts as well.
In Kyrgyzstan's oldest city Osh, you will not have to break your head thinking about what souvenirs to bring home from the trip, besides the memories. Its picturesque bazaars, historical museums, art galleries, and small stores will provide anyone with a rich and authentic souvenir choices. Delicious, beautiful, practical, unusual? You name it! The city has it all.
Cover photo Ⓒ iStock/JordiStock
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