The town sits the middle of the main Bishkek – Osh highway, where Bishkek lies 280 km to Northeast and Osh 340 km to the South. The Tian Shan chain and the Toktogul valley located at the West side of Toktogul have a long history. Toktogul location along the river Naryn and surrounded by mountains allowed it to be easily defend against attacks and to resist natural disasters.
The Toktogul land has been famous for its talents but the main character of the area is the great akyn Toktogul Satylganov, an expert in oral poetry and a composer. Toktogul town is a good place to have a break in between the journey between North and South or vise verse and to enjoy the lovely area between the reservoir and mountains.
The Toktogul valley was home for the Scythian warrior tribes due to its rich nature alread in the 7-4th centuries BC. At that time, the Scythian believed in the existence of an underground world and buried the kings and prominent warriors with their household tools, slaves, horses and arms so that they can use them during their second life in the underground world. The Toktogul Valley was one of the most populated areas of Central Asia the ancient times. During the Soviet period, the archaeologist Alexandre Bernshtam began to seek and explore the tombs of the Scythian people. As a result they deducted that there was a lot of wealth in the area but the excavations only covered a small portion of the history that is now underwater.
In the 1960s, the dam Toktogul forced to stop all the archaeological exploring of all the graves that were buried under the reservoir. In the late 18th and early 19th century, the empire of Kokand had invaded the Ferghana Valley and the territory of modern Uzbekistan. To expand its territory, they began to attack the people of the Celestial Mountains (Tien Shan in Chinese). The conquest began with the Toktogul valley due to the status of one of the most populated valleys of Tien-Shan at that time. The invaders found themselves facing strong resistance from local people, although they had no army. Their location in the middle of Tien-Shan allowed them to defend quickly without wasting much force. Because there was only one entrance into the valley, the number of warriors did not play a big role. But finally, due to a betrayal, Toktogul residents were defeated. The original Toktogul town is also under the reservoir.
The town’s main park is located just behind the center square of Toktogul which is located straight South from the main road. Moreover, next to the entrance rises a monument for the famous son of the town, Toktogul Satylganov. You have to walk through the park, there are some post-war memorials and some broken and abandoned Ferris wheels and a stadium. There is also an excellent view of the reservoir and the mountains behind having a nice contrast with the flat green agriculture area next to the reservoir.
Next to the park (Northeast) sits a local bazar, colorful and crowded as all the regional bazaars usually are. Toktogul bazar is the biggest bazar within the Toktogul district and the most popular for residents from the nearest villages to stock their supplies. During the summertime and autumn fresh fruits are a must thing to try.
Toktogul is also one of the places where Kok Boru horse games take place in the winter time when the locals have more free time in their hands.
How to get Toktogul
Toktogul lies at the middle of the road between of Osh and Bishkek. Toktogul bus station “Avtobek” is located on the Western end of the town, there are a lot shared taxis and marshrutkas that leave to Kara-Köl, Tash-Komur and other southern destinations like Osh. To North towards Bishkek there are mainly taxis with the price of about 800 som in the summertime. During winter the price increases due to the weather and road conditions and the amount of people traveling being smaller.
Thank you for the photos in this page: Toktogul_time
Page updated 31.1.2021
Destinations & sights near Toktogul
Page updated 27.2.2021