Przhevalsky Museum

Pristan Przhevalsk, Issyk Kul Oblast Travel Blog

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The Przhevalsk Museum: this was after the custodian had finally appeared and opened up
An hour or so later the road started to veer south-east at the easternmost extremity of the lake, which is less than 10 miles from the Chinese border. Our destination was the Przhevalsky Museum, dedicated to the memory of Nikolai Mikhailovich Przhevalsk, a noted Russian explorer and spy who in 1888 died hereabouts of typhoid contracted through drinking water from the River Chui; he asked to be buried at the lakeside. The Museum is a little outside Pristan Przhevalsk and is difficult to find; without a map or any road signs we had to ask the way from a passing farm worker. Finally, after a couple of wrong turnings, we found the Museum at last, and once again Irina's father chose to snooze in the car while Irina and I explored the museum and the gardens in which it is set.
The Przhevalsk Memorial, made of 21 blocks of stone; Issyk Kul is just behind the trees


One certain thing is that the Museum does not attract many visitors. There is a custodian, but she is not always in evidence and we had to wander around a bit and shout a bit before anyone appeared. This shortage of custom was evident from our admission tickets, which were pre-printed showing a charge of 25 kopek. Kyrgyzstan abandoned the rouble-kopek currency in 1991, so either some central planner grossly overestimated the number of visitors, or somebody's brother-in-law got an unjustifiably large printing order. Either way, the tickets were at least 15 years old.

The Museum itself is well-worth visiting, and some of the information is given in English. During his career Przhevalsk coducted expeditions through Siberia, Mongolia, Central Asia and China, but his name mainly survives today in the Przhevalski horse, a miniature wild species that he found in Mongolia. It became extinct in the wild in the 1960s, but survived in captivity, and has recently been reintroduced into its natural habitat: a stuffed specimen is on display. The Museum is set in extensive gardens at the end of which, almost at the margins of Issyk Kul, is the Przhevalsk Memorial, constructed from 21 blocks of stone, one for each year of his exploring career. We had the gardens almost to ourselves, and in the hot afternoon sun the numerous trees - there are said to be 31 species growing there - provided some very welcome shade.

Then it was back in the car for the final leg of the journey!
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Pristan Przhevalsk, Issyk Kul Oblast
photo by: londonstudent