|The second day is not a whole lot more productive. At breakfast a German guy here for work regales me with tales of life in Baghdad when he lived there while building Saddam's bunker. Later, I pay 9? fee to climb Solomon's throne, a mountain peak that overlooks the city and is a minor Muslim pilgrimage site. Then, the Silk Road Museum. Osh is older than Rome, though nothing of real antiquity remains extant. The museum contains an assortment of pot shards, rugs, bugs pinned on a board, and moth-eaten stuffed animals. The city's Lenin Museum has closed, so added to the collection is an aggregation of soviet detritus: B&W mug shots of party bosses (though Gorby is in living color) and medals that they awarded themselves. Particularly interesting are photographs of local heroes in the Great Patriotic War (WWII) -- their faces vivify the Nazi's nightmare of being overrun by Asiatic hordes.|| |
Until 1991 Bishkek was called Frunze in honor of a local boy who made it big with the Bolsheviks, led the Red Army campaigns in central Asia, and succeeded Trotsky. Stalin offed him and named the capital of the newly-formed Kyrgyz SSR after him.