Meaning "1,000 Birds" in Kyrgyz, the industrial town of Min Kush was known throughout Kyrgyzstan as "little Moscow." Despite being a closed zone in Soviet times -- not appearing on maps and requiring special permission to enter -- people from all over heard about its stores stocked with imported fruits, a wide selection of shoes and jewelry, and plentiful, lucrative jobs. Salaries were 50 to 100 percent higher than elsewhere. Min Kush's reputation was such that there was a waiting list to work in its factories.
Today, Min Kush's skeletal remains are withering away; its buildings looted for scrap metal and construction materials.
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David Trilling is the Central Asia news editor for EurasiaNet.