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Winter is Coming | G.o.T. and Kyrgyz Tourism

Coincidentally, or ironically, GoT aired its first season in 2011, which is also the year when Kyrgyzstan saw a significant bump in income from tourism that has steadily increased ever since (WTTC).   The final season of GoT aired at this time last year, and as in most places in the world, it had a strong following in the Kyrgyz Republic.   Unlike other places, however, the wintery scenes and onset of “Winter” were not quite so deeply feared.

Winter in Kyrgyzstan is met with excitement and competence, for here is a country whose cultural traditions are intertwined with the flows of the seasons.  After countless hours of summer, the people and land have absorbed enough sunshine.  The heat of the city and the dust from drying soil begin to get old.  Just on cue, the leaves turn to dazzling colors, temperatures drop, and soon the nights are freezing, leaving the air with a crystal freshness that is inhaled gladly in deep breaths.  

Kyrgyzstan is teeming with natural life, and it thrives in abundance because of the seasonal cycles.  Blankets of snow and freezing ground put vegetation to sleep:  the country hibernates in crystalline beauty, waiting for the warming breath of spring to start breaking open buds.  But work never ceases!  A day of snow will often be followed by a week or two of sunshine, plenty of time to continue construction projects, mend fences, care for animals, and even spend a day or two enjoying at the lake.   The mountains, on the other hand, receive fresh powder much more frequently, thus providing both excellent skiing conditions and the stunning white backdrop that makes even the most amateur photographer drool.  

Some of the red rock canyons, like Konorchek or Skazka, absorb the suns rays at a higher rate and stay warmer, thus providing access to fairly easy hiking in the midst of winter wonderland.  The contrasts between red rocks and white snow is breathtaking and delightful, similar to the contrast between the unmelting blue of Lake Issyk-Kul dressed to it’s shores in white layers of snowflakes.

While trekking over mountain passes or making attempts at a peak is out of the question during the winter season, much of Kyrgyzstan is still highly accessible, easy to traverse, and ready to welcome guests.  After a day exploring in the brisk beauty of the country, a pair of wool felt slippers, some hot tea and fresh baked bread by a crackling fire are standard in a Kyrgyz home.   Winter is here… are you coming?


Ruby Mitchell

Online Content Editor @White Leopard Travel Co.

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