In the south of town, the Manas Village (Mira avenue; 10am-6pm) was built in 1995 in honour of the 1000th anniversary of the epic Manas tale. The village is located in the grounds of the Issyk Kul Hotel, on the site of an ancient nomadic encampment; It represents a surreal collection of concrete flagpoles, symbols and yurts, which hosted the celebrations for the 1,000th birthday of the Manas epic. None of the colour and spirit of the event remain-the games on horseback, the feasts, flags and textiles-and the complex has the feel of an abandoned stage set. It is now used for official functions and makes for an interesting visit.
It is popular with locals and the highlight is having your photo taken in full traditional head-dress in Manas' tent. In summer, horse and cart rides around town depart from next to the ticket kiosk.
Climb the tower for nice views of the city and mountains. It’s fairly desolate on weekdays so time your visit for a weekend when the wedding parties roll through for a photo shoot. Note that most locals mistakenly call it ‘Manas Ordo’ although the real Manas Ordo is near Talas.