Osh is Kyrgyzstan’s second-biggest city and the administrative centre of the huge, populous province that engulfs the Fergana Valley on the Kyrgyzstan side. It is one of the region’s genuinely ancient towns (with a history dating back to at least the 5th century BC) but few souvenirs remain. In many ways it’s still quite a Soviet place: whereas other cities scrubbed Lenin’s name from their street maps, Osh merely shifted it politely one block away. A huge Lenin statue still stands opposite the city administration building.
Osh suffers a kind of demographic schizophrenia, being a major centre of Kyrgyzstan but with a strong (40%) Uzbek population more in tune with Uzbekistan and the rest of the Fergana Valley, but isolated from it by one of the world’s more absurd international borders.
Osh destination guides
Peak Lenin (7134m) with Simon Yates
A high altitude expedition in the Pamirs led by Simon Yates