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  Kyrgyzstan » Kyrgyzstan » Culture » Architecture


ArchitectureThe Kyrgyz people did not have an established architecture of their own before they came under Russian rule. Governmental and urban architecture is in the Soviet style. Cities were designed with many parks and plazas filled with benches that focused on monuments to Soviet achievements. Much of the housing in urban centers consists of large apartment blocks, where families live in two- or three-room apartments. Bazaars come in all sizes, and are divided so that products of the same type are sold side by side.

Most houses are of one story, with open-ended peaked roofs that provide storage space. Outer decorations vary by ethnicity. Families live in fenced-in compounds that may contain the main house, an

Skaters in Ala-Too Square, Bishkek.

outdoor kitchen, barns for animals, sheds for storage, gardens, and fruit trees. The traditional dwelling was the portable boz-ui, made of wool felt on a collapsible wooden frame, which people still live in when they take their animals to the summer pastures.

Furniture is a Western adaptation, and its use varies between the north and the south. In the north most families will have a kitchen table with chairs. They also may have a low table for meals, with either stools or sitting mats called tushuks. They sleep on beds or convertible couches, and usually there is a couch in the room where the television is kept. Many families also have an outdoor cooking area and eating place for summer use. Sleeping, cooking, and formal areas are kept separate.

In the south there is minimal furniture. A table, sofa, and chairs are kept in a formal room, along with a cabinet full of the family’s glassware and books. Large social gatherings usually take place in a special room with two alcoves built into a wall. Decorative chests are placed in the alcoves, and the family’s embroidered sleeping mats and pillows are displayed on top.

Southern families may have a low table, or they may spread a dastarkon (tablecloth) directly on the floor and surround it with tushuks to sit on. The dastarkon is treated as a table and is never stepped on. People sleep on the floor on layers of tushuks, which are neatly folded and placed in a corner of the room during the day. In summer, platforms are set out in the garden for eating and sleeping on, often with railings to lean against. Families may sleep in the kitchen in the winter if there is a woodstove.

Throughout the country, floors and walls are lined with carpets and fabric hangings. Furniture usually is placed along the walls, leaving most of a room empty.



Baitik Khan Memorial Tower (19th century)

Burana Tower , Archaeological & architectural complex (10th-14th centuries)

Chumish rock paintings (early Iron Age)

Saka-Usun Kurgans – archaeological site (3-1st centuries BC)

Issyk-Ata Canyon

Buddhist inscription on a rock (10th century)

Krasnaya Rechka

Archaeological site (6th-12th century)


Ak-Beshim archaeological site (7-8th centuries)



The stops of pristine tribes of the Neolithic period

Rock inscriptions (2nd millenium BC-7 century AD)


Caravanserai Tash-Rabat (10th century)


Ancient settlement (early Palaeolithic period)

Rock paintings of Takht-I-Suleiman mountain (earliest from the 1st millenium BC, latest -11th century AD)


Architectural complex (11th to 12th century)

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