This Friday I’m featuring photograph of Kyrgyz soldiers taken by Stephen Lioy from Monk Bought Lunch Blog.
I love traveling Central Asia. There is something very genuine about this region.
I enjoyed Stephen’s blog from very beginning but when I saw his photography website I couldn’t resist asking him to take a part in Friday Lens Affair!
Picture Story: Kyrgyz soldiers, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
One of the most interesting aspects of traveling in Central Asia is seeing the various cultural influences that battle for supremacy in this often-conquered land. The traditional New Year celebrations hearken back to Persian roots. Much of the cuisine is based the nomadic Turkic past, and of course so frequently remnants of the many years spent as part of the Soviet Union.
Of all those post-Soviet aspects, one of the most celebrated moments is the anniversary of Nazi Germany’s surrender to the Soviet Union in World War Two. The end of the ‘Great Patriotic War’ is still marked on May 9th of each year in Kyrgyzstan, where these photos were taken.
Still well within the grasp of winter, the snowy streets of the capital Bishkek fill for a day with the sounds of marching and chanting by the country’s military united. Parading down the main avenue of the city, these active military united are followed closely by the sons and grandsons of veterans who fought and fell in World War II. Arriving at Victory Square, the parade falls quiet as wreathes of flowers are presented to the Eternal Flame and the statue of a young Kyrgyz mother eternally waiting for her husband and sons to return home from war.
Shortly thereafter speeches are given and the military band plays, and while entertaining the somehow cannot match that initial moment of emotional poise. Soon enough the snow will melt on Victory Square and it will return to being little more than a place for newlywed couples to take their photos or for drunks to drink. For today, though, it stands as a special reminder to the many Kyrgyz who fought and died to defend a faraway land that no longer even recognizes them as its own.