Every Bishkek citizen, inviting you to visit his or her country, will proudly note it only takes half an hour to reach the mountains from the heart of the city. ‘To the real mountains! Tall and harsh! Not any hills!’
And it is true. is stunning how fast the landscape changes as we
head south from the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek; how fast the air becomes cleaner,
purer. It is so near to Bishkek, yet this is one of the country’s best mountain
drives. The road here winds through the hills, revealing a new view, a new
layer of mountains with every turn. It eventually leads to an instantly
adorable resort at Chunkurchak gorge, Supara.
Supara, now three years in existence, has eighteen yurt-shaped cottages, and a number of smaller, traditional Kyrgyz shacks, or ‘beshik’. There is only one view from every room: the sight of mountains, abundantly covered with conifers, a horizon consisting of layers of varying height, snowiness and severity of mountain peaks.
The Supara restaurant serves real nomadic fares, well-cooked and tasty: our favourite are zhukka, a milk soup with slices of thin old bread and ‘dressed’ with melted butter - a pure example of a fast, minimalistic and very nutritious nomadic cuisine. And Talkan, made of crushed wheat and barley, melted butter and honey, and here served covered in dark chocolate, or in the form of ice-cream, with added fresh cream.
Depending on the season, there is much to do at Supara: horseback riding, exploring the surroundings with a local guide, hearing a manaschi recite the world’s oldest oral poem, or simply siting back and enjoying the view, from your own cottage, of the majestic mountains.
Your only neighbours will be a few shepherds in the valley below.