This weekend a couple local friends and I drove out to Burana Tower, a former minaret in a town called Tokmok, about an hour by car outside the capital Bishkek. The minaret, along with mausoleums, grave markers, and castle remnants, is all that remains of a 9th century town in Kyrgyzstan’s Chui Valley. As usual in such a diverse country, Burana Tower makes for a fascinating and beautiful scene. The brick minaret and its winding staircase tower over the area, while grave markers resembling Easter Island statues are scattered throughout the valley.
While on a командировка in Jalalabad, Kyrgyzstan this month, I had some free time to visit Arslanbob, the largest walnut grove on earth. In Russian, the term for walnut is грецкий орех, which literally translates to “Greek nut.”