A Kyrgyz woman warms up a kettle in a traditional yurt where she lives with members of her family, shepherds herding horses in a mountain pasture in the Suusamyr Valley lies at 2500 meters above sea level in Kyrgyzstan's Tian Shan mountains 170 kilometres (100 miles) south of the capital Bishkek, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. The milk is used to make kumis, a fermented drink popular in Central Asia that proponents say has health benefits.The grass and herbs lend flavor to the milk that locals draw from the mares in the fields where they graze. The milk then is left to ferment, or sometimes churned to promote fermentation, until it becomes mildly alcoholic. (AP Photo/Vladimir Voronin)
SUUSAMYR, Kyrgyzstan — High up in the Tian Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan, the season for making the fermented drink known as kumis is in full swing.
Connoisseurs of kumis, an important part of nomadic tribes’ diets for untold centuries, say the Suusamyr valley is home to the best version of the drink.
In winter, the valley, which is 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) above sea level, is covered in meters-deep snow. When the thaw comes, the abundance of water feeds dense grass and herbs. By the end of summer, the valley is awash in a thick, emerald carpet of juicy blades of grass that horses eagerly devour.
The grass and herbs lend a particular flavor to the milk that locals draw from the mares in the fields where they graze. The milk then is left to ferment, or sometimes churned to promote fermentation, until it becomes mildly alcoholic.
Cows’ milk can also be used, but it is regarded as inferior. Mares’ milk has a higher sugar content, making it more amenable to fermentation.
Rustam Tukhvatshin, a Kyrgyz medicines professor, says kumis promotes the growth of blood cells and detoxifies the body, among other benefits. He says he never misses coming to Suusamyr when kumis production is at its height.
Tourists and people from other parts of Kyrgyzstan also are taking notice of the region’s kumis. Large wood-framed tents known as yurts have been set up along the road with tables where kumis is sold. With time to spare, a buyer can relax in the yurts while drinking the highly regarded beverage.
ATHENS - The criteria wasn’t explained but Athens will take it - rated the 6th Most Beautiful City in the world, ahead of renowned places such as Paris, Budapest, Venice, Boston, Kyoto, Florence, Amsterdam and Sydney.
Have an idea for a story, or know of an event we should cover? We want to hear about it!
The National Herald is the paper of record of the Greek Diaspora community. Through independent journalism, we bring news to generations of Greek-Americans, with stories on the individual, community and international level. Visit and support our 106 year-old sister publication Εθνικός Κήρυξ.
You’re reading 1 of 3 free articles this month. Get unlimited access to The National Herald. or Log In