Trans Eurasia travel

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This is sizeable village 52km from Cholpon-Ata. The village's name derives from that of a Soviet hero who was born in the village, Nikolai Ananyev, one of the 'Panfilov Heroes' who died defending the small village outside Moscow during World War II. There is a memorial to him in the village in a small park just off the main street (the next village east along the road, Zharkinbaevo, is similarly named after a local World War II hero).

Ananyevo was founded as a Cossack settlement in the 1890s and still retains much of tins identity, with its quaint Orthodox church and plenty of Slavic faces and blond hair on the streets. Slavs Russians and Ukrainians still constitute more than half of the population heir, with Kyrgyz and a few Dungans making up the rest.

The Orthodox church, with its blue and yellow spire, is just off to the left at the start of the village coining from Cholpon Ata. There is also a newly built mosque with a pepper-pot minaret along tins stretch of road. The village is typical of the region, but more attractive and better preserved than most, with low houses that have tidy gardens and blue window-frames Heading east, there is a road (Lenina) that leads of to the right to a small bazaar and a threadbare Univermag store. Taxis congregate on the corner here and marshrutki stop at the junction too.

One of the monks, Irakily, survived the ransacking of the monastery at Svetly Mys and escaped here in 1916. After the revolution some Ananyevo villagers are said to have built a secret cell for him, in which he died in 1937. It was discovered 38 years later, in 1975, when another villager was being buried, that the monk's remains had not decayed at all. He was canonised by the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow in 2000 and his body was exhumed and transferred to Bishkek's Orthodox cathedral.