Talas Region

The Talas Valley is located in the north-west of Kyrgyzstan,between the Kyrgyz Alatoo Range in the north-east and the Talas Alatoo Range in the south, which converge in the east and then diverge in the west. The northern slope of the Kyrgyz Range is steep, glaciers and large fern fields are absent. The slopes of the opposite Talas Range are better hydrated, strongly dissected and form a complex system of foothills

The main stream is the Talas River, from the confluence of the Karakol and Uch-Koshoy rivers with headstreams in glaciers and snowfields. The valley is 230km long with a maximum width of 80km. Absolute altitude within the valley ranges from 650 to 4,500m.

Administratively, Talas Valley is divided into four districts. It is a relatively small and somewhat detached part of Kyrgyzstan occupying 6% of the country’s territory. The population is upwards of 200,000 people. Predominant are the Kyrgyz, but other ethnic groups are also represented – Russians, Germans, Kurds, and others. Agriculture, crop and livestock farming are the main occupations

The town of Talas is a town in northwestern  located in the Talas River valley between two mountain ranges and is the administrative headquarters of Talas Region  (Oblasty). The town was founded by East Slavic settlers in 1877.

To the south is the Besh-Tash (five rocks) valley with the Besh-Tash National Park.

Talas on the Silk Road

Talas’ economy has traditionally been oriented towards the ancient city of Taraz (once named Talas and Dzhambul) in present day Kazakhstan.

During the Middle Ages, the Talas Valley was one of the mining centers that supplied silver to most of the Muslim world.  Nomadic and settled agricultural culures coexisted at that time and multiple sites–ancient settlements, mines, burials, stone statues, epigraphy and rock art have been preserved.

After the 13th century, sedentary life was nearly over, while the middle and upper reaches of the River were mostly home to nomads. Sites with ancient Turkic runic script, for the first time found in Central Asia

Getting to Talas

The Talas valley has suffered severely from the imposition of rigid border controls by Kazakhstan following the demise of the Soviet Union, as transport and trade links to the rest of Kyrgyzstan are now constrained by the mountains separating it from the Chuy Valley and Bishkek.

Though much transportation does occur from Bishkek to Talas by transiting through Kazakhstan via the border crossings at Chaldovar in Chuy and then re-crossing into the Talas valley of Kyrgyzstan at Taraz.

The only drivable road within the borders of Kyrgyzstan to Bishkek and the rest of the country crosses two mountain passes that rise to heights of more than 3000 meters above sea level over the Ötmök Pass into the Suusamyr Valley and then again the Töö Ashuu Pass before descending to the Chuy Valley and Bishkek.

Ötmök Pass


Suusamyr Valley


Things to Do in Talas

Gumbez of Manas

Place to learn more about the Kyrgyz hero Manas. Stop by if you travel around Talas region.
The legendary hero Manas plays the key role in Kyrgyz culture and keeps forming the society in today. The cultural complex is dedicated to Manas and his batyrs. Small museum exhibition will introduce you the life of Manas from his birth through the most important events to his death. The sacred place on the territory is the mausoleum (gumbez) of Manas. If you decide to visit Talas region, take your time and stop here to learn more about Manas. The location is popular among local people, less visited by tourists, yet.

Roughly 20 km outside of the city of Talas stands one of the most treasured monuments in Kyrgyzstan silk road: the Gumbez of Manas. This mausoleum, while slightly small (11 meters tall, 50 square meters), is ornately decorated as befits the legendary Kyrgyz hero of Manas known for uniting all the different Kyrgyz tribes despite their differences.
Gumbez of Manas
The Gumbez of Manas is made of brick, has Arabic inscriptions, is decorated in traditional Kyrgyz style, and topped with a dome. Something you may notice and find odd is that upon inspection of the mausoleum, there’s an inscription on that outside that says the daughter of a wealthy ruler from the Middle Ages is buried there, not Manas. However, as the legend goes, it was actually commissioned by Kanykei, Manas’s wife, and built by expert craftsmen all the way from Bukhara and Samarkand. The inscription was merely a ruse to confuse the enemies of Manas at the time so they would not defame his resting place.

The Gumbez of Manas is part of a complex dedicated to Manas. Near the mausoleum you can also visit a museum dedicated to the epic of Manas, a traditional epic poem highly regarded among the Kyrgyz people that was passed down orally for generations.

The Gumbez of Manas is visited by many in Kyrgyzstan tourism packages and treated as a national treasure.

his mausoleum is most ancient of those similar structures which survived on the territory of Kyrgyzstan. It is located in the foothill of Manastyn Chokusu rocky hill near the city of Talas. This unique monument of history is another landmark of the Silk Road epoch.

Gumbez of Manas is a rare kind of structure made from burnt bricks and carved terracotta. The architecture of the mausoleum is of portal type.

The square building is covered with a hipped dome. The portal of the main facade is entirely covered with ornate tiles from carved terracotta. The ornament includes calligraphical inscriptions; under the bright light they create surprisingly complex and subtle combination of light and shade. In cloudy weather they acquire tonal softness and beauty.

The scientists have found that the Gumbez of Manas was erected in 1334. It was built above the tomb of the daughter of Emir Abuki Kianizek-khatun. However, the national memory has preserved it as the mausoleum of the legendary Manas, the warrior. The legend runs that that Kanykei, the faithful wife of Manas, built the mausoleum above his tomb. To save the tomb from being robbed Kanykei ordered to make the inscription saying his bride was buried there. The national memory preserved it as the mausoleum of the legendary warrior Manas.

Manas Peak


Aisha Bibi – Chongkapka Border

It’s easy to get transport from the bazaar in Talas to take you to the border crossing and then you can walk though or drive through and it’s easy to get a taxi in Taraz.

Besh-Tash Lake

Besh-Tash Lake (Kyrgyz: Беш Таш) is a rock-dammed lake in Talas Province of Kyrgyzstan. It is located at the altitude of about 3,000 m in riverbed of Besh-Tash river, left tributary of Talas River.

The alpine lake of Besh Tash, whose waters reach down to a depth of 28 meters, resides in the Besh Tash Valley (2,997 m) in the province of Talas. The lake’s turquoise waters are home to a variety of fish including osman, marinka, and trout.





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