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Jibek Jolu | The Silk Road

Running along the northern edge of Bishkek is Jibek Jolu, a main through-way that allows a fairly simple bypass of the city, through bypassing the city is unheard of behavior.  All roads lead to and from Bishkek, right?  A quick look at the history books will set us aright.  Present-day Jibek Jolu is reminiscent of Bishkek’s early history as an outpost of the Silk Road.  Between the 6th and 12th centuries, it was called “Jul”, a settlement of the Sogdian people that had migrated over from Persia.  At that time it was a minor outpost, giving way to its larger neighbor, Navekat, which was the real attraction during the Silk Road era.

Remnants of this ancient trade route are still evident and worth visiting during a trip to Kyrgyzstan, as they offer well-preserved glimpses at the human ingenuity and resourcefulness that continue to define our race.  Stone towers, domed caravansarais, engraved gravestones, and multiple artifacts leave enough evidence to easily imagine the long journey embarked upon by the early Silk Road traders.

Much of the original route is still in use today.  A highway now traverses the southern edge of Lake Issyk-Kul and winds through Boom Gorge before passing through the wide Chui Valley to reach Bishkek.  From the highway, short excursions will easily reach well-known Silk Road landmarks, such as Tash Rabat in Naryn, Burana tower in Tokmok, and the old settlement of Navekat, now known as Krasnaya Rechka (Red River).

The Silk Road holds significant reverence in history for its role in opening up global trade.  Opportunities to behold pieces of that history and witness the lands through which the early adventurers traveled are chances to regain inspiration and admiration for the world in which we live today.

Ruby Mitchell

Online Content Editor @ White Leopard Travel Co.

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