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Kongur Olon valley

To the south of Bokonbaeva lies the exceptionally beautiful Kongur Olon valley, a 40-kilometre stretch of meadows and swamps at 2,200 metres, which offers great walking and access to the mountains. Kyrgyzstan's most famous film 'Beshkempir' ('Five Old Women'), a rural drama which got an award at the 1999 Cannes Festival, was shot in this area and in the village of Bar-Bulak. Villagers talk of how Charota Bulde, an eighteenth century batir (leader), and his army of 40 warriors captured the valley from foreign clutches, allowing ancestors of the present Kyrgyz residents to settle. The warriors were each accorded an elaborate clay gumbez (mausoleum) after they died. Some of the gumbez are still standing and two can be seen in the village of Kongur Olon. If approaching the valley from the turn-off at Kara-Kor on the lakeside highway, take the first main road east after the village of Dun Talaa. Kongur Olon is four kilometres ahead, the gumbez are in a graveyard just west of the village itself. Dun Talaa, Konur Olon and another main village, Temir Khanat, can be reached by an afternoon bus from Bokon-baeva or by taxi. A very rough road (four-wheel drive only) curls up from Bokonbaeva to Eki Naryn and on to the Balikchy to Naryn road.