Page 1 of 1

Balykchy: anything to see / ruin porn?

Posted: Thu May 17, 2018 11:10 am
by steven
Got the following question via e-mail:

Just had a query regarding Balychky. I wondered if you had been there recently?

Yuri Boyanin’s feature Unearthing Kyrgyzstan’s Industrial Breakdown: Uptopia in Ruins had some great photos of Balychky and I’ve seen others of ruined boats. I was there last year and stopped briefly en route but didn’t really see the water’s edge and the old ships. I was wondering if they are still there?

I just read the feature on Lake Issyk-Kul on your website and it said that Balychky had been cleaned up and everything removed. I thought there were still a lot of ruined factories, houses etc when I was there in 2016 but want to know whether it has been cleaned up since then. I was planning a second trip to do a photo feature on Balychky.

*********my answer*******

I have to modify that article then. After getting Yuri's article in, I was expecting an apocalyptic landscape in Balychy. What I got was neat gardens. The boats are still there I presume, I don't think anyone has the money to get them out (I was also there last in 2016, they were still there). But I felt Balykchy was not doing too badly, most probably floating on money coming from Russia, but still....

But maybe my standards are different, I am an optimist and I like to portray Central Asia from the sunny side, since Western media is only interested in ruin porn/bride kidnapping/Aral Sea/dictatorstan-type reporting.

I will clarify this on the Issyk-Kul article: the boats are still there, I think I found 2 out of 4 Lenins, some other remnants from Soviet times (besides the pensioners) definitely remain if you dig deep enough.

Re: Balykchy: anything to see / ruin porn?

Posted: Thu May 17, 2018 2:26 pm
by jomkearney
Thanks Steven for your reply. Yes when i was there in 2016 there were just 2 big Lenin statues plus some other stuff. Balychky is probably better than it was. They were tarmacing the residential roads and a new supermarket had opened. Still it was pretty shabby though.

Re: Balykchy: anything to see / ruin porn?

Posted: Thu May 17, 2018 9:25 pm
by cristiano
Balychky? In my opinion, it is simply a not so interesting town. Not so much to see and not so much to do.
I agree with Steven: ruins from soviet times can be interesting for some pictures or for some "look at what happened here in the past" article, but why limit ourself to this? There is beauty over there, why to search for desolation?