An unusual monument to a gentle giant who became a Kyrgyz hero.
Kojomkul was a seven-and-a-half-foot tall Kyrgyz giant who weighed over 350 pounds and was reportedly able to lift and carry a full-grown horse. In another demonstration of his incredible strength, he reputedly once lifted a 1,500-pound boulder. Born in 1889 in a small village called Suusamyr, he became a sensation of his time by winning each and every wrestling and strength competition along the Silk Road.
Feats of strength aside, Kojomkul’s many good deeds earned him a “gentle giant” reputation. He gained widespread respect for donating sheep and horses won in competitions to villagers in need, which would explain why after his death in 1955, the village was eventually named after him. A small museum in town houses a collection of Kojomkul’s belongings and some pictures of him lifting heavy weights.
At the outskirts of Kojomkul village is an unusual monument dedicated to the memory of Kojomkul the hero. It consists of a mud building in the shape of a yurt covered by a rickety wooden shelter. Sightings of these wooden shelters are not uncommon, but they are usually no bigger than an average umbrella and are fixed in tombstones, whereas the one in Kojomkul is much larger, and it encompasses the whole mud-yurt. Along one of the poles radiating from the sustaining pillar, people have tied several cloths as a tribute to Kojomkul’s superhuman strength.
Know Before You Go
The memorial is located just beyond the village on the road to Kyzyl-Oi. There is also a statue and museum honoring the local hero within the village itself. A wooden pillar set in the center of the yurt sustains the whole structure, but huge cracks in the upper sections of the yurt suggests that sooner or later, the ceiling will cave in if structural reinforcement is not put in place.
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