Homestay on the Range

There is a single crank for winding all four windows in the aging taxi I hail at Manas International Airport outside Bishkek. "Russian car" is the only explanation — and the only English — offered by the driver. Welcome to Kyrgyzstan, a country still recuperating from its 70-year stint as part of the U.S.S.R., when it was a top-secret site of weapons tests and uranium mines. Despite emerging as the Central Asian destination most welcoming to independent visitors, Kyrgyzstan remains seldom visited.

Kyrgyzstan's history is rich — it includes a showdown between Scythian warriors and...

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