Post-Industry tour: the USSR abandoned objects in Kyrgyzstan


Announcement: Tour to abandoned and unfinished industrial facilities of the USSR in Kyrgyzstan, that once upon a time were secret and closed towns, factories, military facilities, plants for the development of rare metals, uranium mines and burial grounds. Now these are like ghost towns, sometimes as silent Hill :). 

History: Central Asia and Kyrgyzstan became part of the Soviet Union after revolution of 1918. Before this period, Kyrgyzstan was a fully agrarian country, practically without any industry, factories, infrastructure like modern roads and communications. But in the 1920s and 30s, the active construction and industrialization of the country began. The USSR was waiting for big war and began actively develop infrastructure and industry on the periphery and in the depths of its territory, in particular, Central Asia and Kyrgyzstan were to become one of such industrial support centers. Another reason for this decision was the fact that in Kyrgyzstan was found a large amount of minerals, deposits of rare-earth metals, radioactive uranium ores etc.

In 1941, when the war with Germany began, military and engineering plants, high-tech industries, research centers and personnel were evacuated from the central part of Russia to Central Asia and Kyrgyzstan. In this way, during the war, Kyrgyzstan became the industrial hinterland and center of the Soviet Union.

After the war, the leadership of the USSR decided to continue develop industry in Central Asia. Construction of huge industrial and infrastructure facilities began here. Huge even for the USSR, such as cascades of hydro power plants, mining and metallurgical plants, machine-building and military enterprises and uranium production.

In particular, such as the uranium mines and enrichment factories of Ak-Tuz and Orlovka (Chuy province), Ming-Kush (Naryn region), Kadjy-Say (Issik-Kul region), Mailuu-Suu (Jalal-Abad region). Rare earth metal development plants in Inilchek (Issik-Kul) and Tash-Komur (Jalal-Abad). Antimony and mercury mining plants in Kadamjay and Haidarken (Batken), Military Plant like in and Avtomash plants and etc. Many objects were of a secret type, where there was no access for ordinary people and they were not on the common maps. According to some reports, the first atomic bomb was created from raw materials from the Aktuz uranium mines.

Kyrgyzstan had great chances to become an industrialized region developing advanced technologies for the entire socialist bloc. But in 1991, the USSR collapsed. All ties were cut off, the new leadership of the country failed to preserve the existing industry and now everything has fallen into decay. Many industries stopped, many towns, including secret and closed type abandoned. They began to simply die or turning into ghost towns, the population began to leave them.

So, we have the opportunity to see it all, climb them and touch the history. See the remnants of industries, mines, residential buildings, etc. But also in the tour program to see the beautiful places and nature in the heart of Kyrgyzstan, hiking and horse riding, hotsprings bathing, homestay accommodation and driving on reserve military roads.

P.S. The tour itinerary goes through the beautiful places in the country, popular for tourism and unexplored with tourists, along the difficult and high-altitude roads and passes. Tour program include visiting scenic places, horseback riding, hotsprings bathing and homestay accomodation. Anyway, this tour like a highlight landscape tour in Kyrgyzstan, but with special interests. For me, this tour is very interesting because several years ago I worked in government bodies and researched this topic. But I was not able to visit all the facilities and satisfy my interest to the full. Thus, I would like to study in more detail the topic concerning some unopened pages of the history of my country.

The tour program includes visiting of historic places and museums, meeting with local people and culture, participate in local holiday events, horse riding, eagle hunting, bathing in hot springs, overnight in yurt and homestay, hiking in the mountains, skitour at wintertime and etc.

Tour program:

Day 1: Start from Bishkek at 9-00 to the Orlovka town (110 km). Excursion on the territory of the abandoned Mining and Metallurgical Combine and its settlement. Lunch and departure at 14-00 to the Ak-Tuz village (60 km). Excursion on the territory of the abandoned Uranium Processing Plant, mines and burial grounds. at 18-00 Arrive to the guesthouse in the gorge of Chon-Kemin. Dinner, overnight.

Day 2: Breakfast at 8-00. Horse riding to the gorge Chon-Kemin, to the panoramic mountain and birch grove. Return to the guest house. Departure at 13-00 in the Issyk-Kul region (180 km), lunch on the way to a roadside cafe. Visit to an abandoned port in the city of Balykchi, arrival to the Kadzhi-Sai town. Excursion on the territory of the abandoned Uranium Processing Plant, its settlement, mines and burial grounds. At 19-00 arrive to the guest house. Dinner, overnight.

Day 3: Breakfast at 8-00. Departure to the abandoned Inilchek town (230 km). Lunch with snacks. Arrival to the Inilchek town at 15-00. Excursion through the territory of the Processing Plant and its settlements, visiting caves along the way. Dinner and overnight in the family of local residents.

Day 4: Breakfast at 8-00. Departure to the Karakol city (140 km). Lunch in the Karakol city, a trip to the ski base on the panoramic mountain, cultural and culinary excursion around the city. Dinner and overnight in the guesthouse.

Day 5: Breakfast at 8-00. Departure to the Naryn region (350 km) along the northern shore of the Issyk-Kul lake. Visit the museum complex Ruh-Ordo in the city of Cholpon-Ata and Hot springs in the Oruktu village. Lunch in the city of Balykchi. Arrive at the guesthouse near the village of Min-Kush. Dinner and overnight.

Day 6: Breakfast at 8-00. Departure to the half-abandoned Min-Kush town. Excursion on the territory of the abandoned Uranium Processing Plant, its settlement, mines and burial grounds. Lunch in the form of snacks and dry rations. Departure to the Kara-Kul town (300 km). Arrival in Kara-Kul, short excursion in the town. Accommodation in a guest house. Dinner and overnight.

Day 7: Breakfast at 8-00. Departure to the Mailuu-Suu and Tash-Komur towns (170 km). Viewing of the Kurpsay, Tash-Kumyr and Shamaldy-Say hydroelectric stations. Excursion around the Tash-Komur town, the territory of an abandoned plant of rare-earth metals. Lunch at the cafe. Excursion around the Mailuu-Suu town, the territory of the abandoned Uranium Processing Plant, its settlements, mines and burial grounds. Departure at 17-30 to Kara-Kul, accommodation in a guest house. Dinner and overnight.

Day 8: Breakfast at 8-00. Departure to the city of Bishkek (370 km) through the pass Too-Ashu. Arrival at 13-00 in the town of Kara-Balta, lunch in a cafe. Excursion to the once closed side of town, the territory of the Mining and Metallurgical Combine, inspection of graves. Departure at 17-00 in the city of Bishkek. Arrival in Bishkek at 18-30.

Additional information: Tour of the program for 8 days, but can be extended up to 10 days due to the unpredictable situation on the mountain roads, especially in winter time.

The total distance of the tour path is 2300 km.

The cost of the tour includes accommodations in guesthouses or homestays and meals 3 times a day, on some days lunch in the form of snacks and dry rations, payment for entry at all facilities, horseback riding.

The cost of the tour does not include borderzone permits. You should connect with me before 1 week at least.

The tour program can be discussed and modified. Optionally, in the warmer months possible to visit the Son-Kul and Sary-Chelek lakes, Arstan-Bab nut forest, Tash-Rabat Historical Complex and and abandoned plants and industrial settlements in the south of Kyrgyzstan - Kadamzhai, Sulukta and Haidarken.

Vehicle - TLC Prado 95 (2001), 4x4. Maximum 5 person.

Price per group:

2 pax: 1270 USD; 

3 pax: 1620 USD; 

4 pax: 1930 USD; 

5 pax: 2240 USD.

Number of days: 8
Covered regions:
Bishkek City
Osh City
Included services:
Accommodation (Hotel/Guesthouse)
Accommodation (Homestay)
Entrance tickets (e.g. museums, parks etc.)
Beverages (non-alcoholic)
Car (with driver)
Fuel, Petrol
Bus/Train tickets
Domestic flight tickets
Not included: insurance, alcohol
What to bring: warm clothes
Transport: SUV 4x4
Tour season:
Tour categories:
Private tours
Cultural tours
Adventure tours
Offroad tours
Sightseeing tours
Winter tours
Special Event tours
Wildlife tours
Highlight tours
Photo tours
Hiking tours
Horseback riding tours
Circle tours
Short tours
Budget tours
Payment Method

For a confirmed booking, a deposit of (10%) is required. Deposit is paid by credit card (secure payment via Stripe, no credit card fees). The remaining balance can be paid in cash upon start of the trip - unless Host & Traveler agree on different payment methods.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations can be made free of charge up to 30 days prior to the beginning of the booked service. The deposit (10%) is only refundable if the booking is canceled at least 30 days in advance.