Osh (Kyrgyz and Russian: Ош; Uzbek: Osh/Ош) is the second-largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country and often referred to as the "capital of the south".[4] It is the oldest city in the country (estimated by UNESCO[5] to be more than 3,000 years old) and has served as the administrative center of Osh Region since 1939. The city has an ethnically mixed population of 322,164 in 2021,[3] comprising Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Koreans, and other smaller ethnic groups.

Clockwise from top: view of Osh from Sulayman Mountain; Sulayman-Too Mosque; statue of Manas; bridge over the Ak-Buura; view of Sulayman Mountain from Osh; flagpole on Sulayman Mountain; Gapar Aytiev [ru] Street; and Osh State University
Flag of Osh
Official seal of Osh
Osh is located in Kyrgyzstan
Location in Kyrgyzstan
Coordinates: 40°31′48″N 72°48′0″E / 40.53000°N 72.80000°E / 40.53000; 72.80000
Country Kyrgyzstan
RegionOsh City
 • MayorBakytbek Zhetigenov[1]
 • City182.5 km2 (70.5 sq mi)
963 m (3,159 ft)
 (March 2024)[3]
 • City454,858
 • Density2,500/km2 (6,500/sq mi)
 • Urban
Time zoneUTC+6 (KGT)
Area code(s)02, Z, O
Detailed French map of 1882, showing position of Osh (here spelled “Osch”, slightly right of centre, beside the Uzbek city of ”Andidjâne”) in the Fergana valley

Overview edit

Osh has an important outdoor activity bazaar which has been taking place on the same spot for the past 2,000 years and was a major market along the Silk Road. The city's industrial base, established during the Soviet period, largely collapsed after the break-up of the Soviet Union and has only recently[when?] started to revive.

The proximity of the Uzbekistan border, which cuts through historically linked territories and settlements, deprives Osh of much of its former hinterland and presents a serious obstacle to trade and economic development. Daily flights from Osh Airport link Osh—and hence the southern part of Kyrgyzstan—to the national capital Bishkek and some international destinations, mainly in Russia. Osh has two railway stations and a railway connection to Andijan in neighbouring Uzbekistan, but no passenger traffic and only sporadic freight traffic. Most transport is by road. The recent[when?] upgrading of the long and arduous road through the mountains to Bishkek has greatly improved communications.

The city has several monuments, including one to the southern Kyrgyz leader (Kyrgyz: датка, romanizeddatqa) Kurmanjan and one of the few remaining statues of Lenin. A Russian Orthodox church, reopened after the demise of the Soviet Union, the second-largest mosque in the country, built in 2012[6] and situated beside the bazaar, and the 16th-century Rabat Abdul Khan Mosque can be found here. The only World Heritage Site in Kyrgyzstan, the Sulayman Mountain, offers a splendid view of Osh and its environs.[7]

This mountain is thought by some researchers and historians to be the famous landmark of antiquity known as the "Stone Tower", which Claudius Ptolemy wrote about in his famous work Geography. It marked the midpoint on the ancient Silk Road, the overland trade route taken by caravans between Europe and Asia.[8][9][10] The National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex Sulayman is carved in the mountain, containing a collection of archaeological, geological, and historical finds and information about local flora and fauna.

Its first Western-style supermarket, Narodnyj, opened in March 2007.[11]

Osh is home to Osh State University, one of the largest universities in Kyrgyzstan.

Administration edit

Osh city (Ош шаар, "Osh shaar") covers 182.5 square kilometres (70.5 square miles)[2] and, like the capital city of Bishkek, is administered separately and not part of any region, although it is the seat of Osh Region.[12] Besides the city proper, 11 villages are administered by the city: Almalyk, Arek, Gulbaar-Tölöykön, Japalak, Kengesh, Kerme-Too, Orke, Pyatiletka, Teeke and parts of Ozgur and Tölöykön.[12]

Population edit

Osh is the second-largest city in Kyrgyzstan after the capital city of Bishkek. According to the population estimate of 2021, the city population amounted to 322,164, of which 33,315 resided in the 11 villages that the City of Osh administers.[3] At the 2009 census, 47.9% of the population were Kyrgyz, 44.2% were Uzbeks, 2.5% Russians, 2.2% Turks, 1.1% Tatars and 2.1% other nationalities.[2] The population of the built-up (or metro) area in the surrounding Kara-Suu District and in neighbouring Uzbekistan is estimated at 400,000 inhabitants.

History edit

Early history edit

The name of the city of Osh derives from the river Vakhsh, anthropomorphised there as a water goddess of the same name, who was worshipped (in tandem with Atar, sacred fire) in a Zoroastrian shrine or fire temple situated in the Eagle Cave in the ancient sacred mountain Sulaiman-Too. The river Vakhsh itself, known also as Surkhob or Kyzyl-Suu ( Turkic: “red water”) is a tributary of the Amu Darya, the course of the Vakhsh lying outside and to the South of the Fergana valley, rising as it does on the west side of the 3,536m Taunmurun pass (east of the village of Sary-Tash) [13][14] and flowing southwest to its confluence with the Panj at Takht-i Sangin to form the Amu Darya. Oxus, the ancient name of the Amu Darya, like Osh, is cognate with the river name Vakhsh, revealing that the present day Vakhsh/Kyzyl-Suu was conceived to form the upper reaches of the river now known as the Amu Darya.[15][16]

The inhabitants of Osh repulse the occupiers of their city and assist Babur.

The city is among the oldest settlements in Central Asia. Osh was known as early as the 8th century as a center for silk production along the Silk Road. The famous trading route crossed Alay Mountains to reach Kashgar to the east.[17]

Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire and descendant of Tamerlane, was born in nearby Andijan, in the Fergana Valley, pondered his future on Sulayman Mountain and even constructed a mosque atop of the mountain. Babur somehow concludes that the confines of the Fergana would cramp his aspirations as a descendant of famous conquering warrior princes. He wrote of the city:

"There are many sayings about the excellence of Osh. On the southeastern side of the Osh fortress is a well-proportioned mountain called Bara-Koh, where, on its summit, Sultan Mahmud Khan built a pavilion. Farther down, on a spur of the same mountain, I had a porticoed pavilion built in 902 (1496-7)" [18]

Imperial Russian and Soviet rule edit

The city was occupied and annexed by the Russian Empire in 1876 when Russia overwhelmed the Central Asian khanates during the so-called "Great Game", the contest between Britain and Russia for dominance in Central Asia. This conquest was achieved and the inclusion to the Russian Empire made by the mid-1880s, with main credit to General von Kaufman and General Mikhail Skobelev.[citation needed]

In the 1960s Osh and other towns in the south of the Kyrgyz SSR began to be industrialized. The population of Osh and other towns in the Fergana Valley that falls within Kyrgyzstan has traditionally consisted of a significant number of ethnic Uzbeks.[19] When Osh started to industrialize the ethnic "Kyrgyz were encouraged to move from the Kyrgyz populated countryside to the cities to work in industrial jobs and public administration."[19] This contributed to the rise of social tension between the two groups.

1990 riots edit

In 1990, shortly before the end of Soviet power in Central Asia, Osh and its environs experienced bloody ethnic clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. There were about 1,200 casualties, including over 300 dead and 462 seriously injured.[19] The riots broke out over the division of land resources in and around the city.[20]

2010 ethnic violence edit

In 2010, after riots in Bishkek and other major Kyrgyz cities, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev took refuge in the city to hide from protesters denouncing his government and its response to the nation's struggling economy. On May 13, 2010, Bakiyev supporters took over government buildings in Osh and seized the airport, preventing interim government officials from landing.[21] The protesters demanded Bakiev's return, and forced the regional governor to flee. The former Osh regional governor Mamasadyk Bakirov was reinstated.

On June 10, 2010, riots erupted in Osh, killing at least 81 and injuring hundreds of others.[22] "An explosion of violence, destruction and looting in southern Kyrgyzstan on 11–14 June 2010 killed many dozens of Kyrgyz and Uzbek people. The total of over 2000 buildings were destroyed, mostly homes, and deepened the divide between the country's ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks."[23]

Local media reported that gangs of young men armed with sticks and stones smashed shop windows and set cars aflame in the city center. Several buildings and homes across the city were also set on fire. The city's police force proved incapable of restoring order resulting in a state of emergency being declared and the army being mobilised.[24]

The Kyrgyz intelligence agency claimed that the just-deposed president initiated the 2010 violence, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who is said to have made a deal with foreign narco-jihadist gangs to take over southern Kyrgyzstan and initiate a shariah state in exchange for the Bakiyev family's being returned to controlling Bishkek.[25] However, to the day no serious proof has been presented to the public and media. According to various sources, up to 100,000 ethnic Uzbek refugees fled to Uzbekistan. Many refugee camps have been organized in the Andijan, Fergana and Namangan regions of Uzbekistan for Uzbek citizens of Kyrgyzstan who cross the border seeking safety.

Geography edit

Climate edit

Under the Köppen climate classification, Osh features a continental climate (Dsa), with hot, dry summers and cold winters. Osh receives on average roughly 400 millimeters of precipitation annually, the bulk of which typically falls on the city outside the summer months. Summers are hot in Osh, with average high temperatures routinely exceeding 30 °C. Winters are cold with average temperatures below freezing during a good portion of the season. Spring and autumn are transitional seasons, with temperatures rising during the course of the spring season and falling during the course of the autumn.

Climate data for Osh
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 2.8
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −3.8
Average rainfall mm (inches) 18
Average snowfall cm (inches) 10.3
Average rainy days 6.3 7.9 11.5 14.6 13.3 10.9 7.0 5.3 5.0 6.6 7.5 5.7 101.6
Average snowy days 7.5 7.3 2.7 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0.4 2.7 6.8 27.6
Average relative humidity (%) 67 69 58 53 48 40 32 32 34 44 53 61 49
Mean daily sunshine hours 7.1 7.1 8.0 8.6 10.8 11.7 11.5 9.9 9.8 8.9 6.5 5.9 8.8
Mean daily daylight hours 9.7 10.7 12.0 13.3 14.4 15.0 14.7 13.7 12.5 11.1 9.9 9.3 12.2
Average ultraviolet index 2 2 4 5 6 6 6 6 4 4 2 2 4
Source: Weather Atlas[26]

Cityscape edit

Downtown Osh, seen from Sulayman Too on 7 August 2006

Notable people edit

  • Anvar Artykov (born 1951), a Kyrgyz politician, and current member of the Supreme Council of Kyrgyzstan. He served as governor of Osh Region between March and December 2005, and was previously a deputy between 1990 and 2000.
  • Aynuru Altybayeva (born 1958), a Kyrgyz politician, and current member of the Supreme Council of Kyrgyzstan
  • Roza Otunbayeva (born 1950), a Kyrgyz diplomat and politician who served as the President of Kyrgyzstan from April 2010 until 1 December 2011
  • Zhantoro Satybaldiyev (born 1956), a Kyrgyz politician who was Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan from September 2012 until March 2014
  • Susana Camaladinova (born 1983), a Ukrainian singer of Crimean Tatar origin, winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2016

Twin towns - sister cities edit

Osh is twinned with:

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Бакытбек Жетигенов назначен мэром города Ош" (in Russian). 24.kg. 2022-11-29. Retrieved 2022-12-13.
  2. ^ a b c "2009 population and housing census of the Kyrgyz Republic: Osh City" (PDF) (in Russian). National Statistics Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic. 2010. pp. 14, 27.
  3. ^ a b c https://24.kg/obschestvo/289724_territorialnaya_reforma_oshskiy_gorkenesh_uvelichilsya_v26_raza/amp/
  4. ^ "Osh & The Fergana Valley". GeoHistory. 2017-02-28. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  5. ^ UNESCO, UNESCO (2 March 2024). "The Diary of Young Explorers: The City of Osh, Kyrgyzstan". UNESCO. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  6. ^ "Сулайман-Тоо: музей vs мечеть(Радио Азаттык)" (in Russian). 18 June 2012. Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  7. ^ "Osh Travel Guide | Caravanistan". Caravanistan. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  8. ^ Dean, Riaz (2022). The Stone Tower: Ptolemy, the Silk Road, and a 2,000-Year-Old Riddle. Delhi: Penguin Viking. pp. 173–85. ISBN 978-0670093625.
  9. ^ Dean, Riaz (2015). "The Location of Ptolemy's Stone Tower: The Case for Sulaiman-Too in Osh" (PDF). The Silk Road.
  10. ^ von Reden, Sitta (2023). The Handbook of Ancient Afro-Eurasian Economies (Volume 3: Frontier-Zone Processes and Transimperial Exchange). De Gruyter Oldenbourg. p. 20. ISBN 9783110604641.
  11. ^ In Osh opened a supermarket "Narodnyj" Archived 2012-03-27 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ a b "Classification system of territorial units of the Kyrgyz Republic" (in Kyrgyz). National Statistics Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic. May 2021. pp. 81–82.
  13. ^ https://central-asia.guide/kyrgyzstan/destinations-kg/osh/alai-valley/ Retrieved at 1.56 on Sunday 19/5/24.
  14. ^ Middleton, Robert and Thomas, Huw with Whitlock, Monica and Hauser, Markus, Tajikistan and the High Pamirs: a Companion and Guide, pub. 2012 by Odyssey Books and Guides, ISBN 978-962-217-818-2, pps.263-4 (map of Eastern Tajikistan shows location of Taunmurun Pass and altitude).
  15. ^ A little history of the city of Osh https://osh-hospital.narod.ru/history_osh.htm; Live the East. info@centralasia-travel.com; Retrieved 17/4/2024.
  16. ^ http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/uzbekistan/index.htm Retrieved at 1.53 on Sunday 19/5/24.
  17. ^ Rowan., Stewart (2008). Kyrgyz Republic : Kyrgyzstan : heart of Central Asia. Weldon, Susie., Harris, Paul, 1958 September 28-, Fairclough, Ceri. (3rd ed.). Hong Kong: Odyssey Books & Guides. ISBN 9789622177918. OCLC 154707602.
  18. ^ " The Babur-nama" Ed. & trans. Wheeler M. Thackston (New York) 2002 pp4-5
  19. ^ a b c "Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry into the Events in Southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010" (PDF). The Independent International Commission of Inquiry (KIC). Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  20. ^ Lubin, Nancy; Martin, Keith; Rubin, Barnett R. (1999). Calming the Ferghana Valley: Development and Dialogue in the Heart of Central Asia. New York, NY: The Century Foundation Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-87078-414-9.
  21. ^ "Former Kyrgyz President's Supporters Take Over Government Buildings In South". Radio Free Europe. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  22. ^ google.com 12 June 2010
  23. ^ "The Pogroms in Kyrgyzstan". International Crisis Group. Archived from the original on 3 June 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  24. ^ "Twelve killed in new wave of unrest in Kyrgyzstan". Associated Press. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 10 June 2010.
  25. ^ "Бишкек обвинил Бакиева в финансировании попытки госпереворота". Wsinform.com.
  26. ^ "Climate and monthly weather forecast Osh, Kyrgyzstan". Retrieved August 9, 2022.
  27. ^ "Osh and Yozgat city of Turkey became twin cities". Kabar National News Agency. 5 November 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2013.

External links edit

40°32′N 72°48′E / 40.53°N 72.8°E / 40.53; 72.8