Within our republic's territory, there exist numerous architectural monuments, with one of the most renowned being the Burana Tower. The term "Burana" is derived from the word "monora," which means minaret.
The minaret is a part of the ancient Burana settlement, situated 12 kilometers from the town of Tokmok and 80 kilometers from Bishkek. Burana Tower stands as one of the oldest structures within our republic. Its construction dates back to the 10th and 11th centuries. Originally, the minaret's height reached 40 meters, and according to some researchers, possibly 45 meters. Its upper section was crowned with a dome-shaped lantern, similar to other structures of its kind. However, due to the consequences of an earthquake that occurred around the 15th or 16th centuries, the upper portion was destroyed. As of today, the tower's height stands at 21.7 meters.
The history of the tower begins with the Kyrgyz people's joining of the Karakhanid state in the 10th century. During the 10th and 11th centuries, the Karakhanid territory extended from Eastern Turkestan to the Amu Darya River. The economic and political power of the Karakhanid Empire facilitated rapid growth in trade, various crafts, as well as the construction of new cities and settlements. It was during this period that the city of Balasagun, later known as the Burana settlement, emerged. This city eventually became the capital of the northern part of the Karakhanid Empire.
Today, near the minaret, there are "balbals" - stone sculptures. There are around 80 of these sculptures, gathered from ancient Turkic burial mounds in the Chuy Valley. Some are also from the Issyk-Kul region and the Tien Shan. These monuments are spread across the territory of Northern Kyrgyzstan in areas inhabited by Turkic nomads. These sculptures represent monuments with meticulously crafted facial features, headgear, jewelry, hairstyles, weapons, and more. Among them, there are depictions of male warriors with or without weapons. Interestingly, there are more sculptures of men than women. Essentially, these stone sculptures are portrait representations of Turkic individuals who lived in the past.
In modern times, the tower has become a gathering place for hundreds, and perhaps even thousands, of tourists from all over Kyrgyzstan and the near and far abroad.