The Burana Tower, not far from Bishkek, is an important monument to the ancient culture of the Khui Valley and the famous Great Silk Road that runs through it. The tower, once the tallest minaret in Central Asia, was the centre of the capital of the Karakhanid state, the city of Balasagun, which was located in this area in the 10th to 12th centuries. Originally it was 40 metres high, but during the earthquake the upper part of the tower collapsed, and since then the tower is only 21 metres high.
The Burana Tower is of great cultural significance for BIshkek and Kyrgyzstan, as it is the only surviving example of ancient architecture in the region that has been preserved to this extent. In addition to the tower, the entire area of the Burana settlement is also of great interest. On the site there are numerous burial mounds, remains of ancient fortifications and the so-called “Garden of Stones” – a collection of balbal (ancient stone gravestones) and stone tools (millstones, etc.).
The complex is located in a very picturesque area, near the Shams and Kegeti gorges, just south of Tokmok. A magnificent panorama of the eastern part of the Kyrgyz mountain range opens up from here, and in May and June you can see flowering poppy fields.
There is a museum on the grounds of the settlement where you can learn about the rich history of the place. There is a souvenir shop and places to rest. Entrance to the complex costs 60 som. The price includes a visit to the museum and the opportunity to climb the tower itself.