Introduction

Exiting the Too-Ashuu tunnel, the snow-capped mountains of the wide Suusamyr Valley (Ущелье Суусамыр) presents a fantastic panorama while descending on the trip from Bishkek, and green summer pastures belie the area's reputation as bleakly cold in winter. With a ring of snow-capped mountains all around, even those just transiting the main Bishkek–Osh highway may be tempted to linger and explore red-rock villages and the homeland of one of Kyrgyzstan's most legendary sons – writer Chingiz Aitmatov.