Exactly 60 years ago, the first human travelled to outer space: On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth for the first time. After is save return back to Earth he quickly became a world-known celebrity travelling around the world. He had a reputation as an adept public figure and known for his charismatic smile – some even say this was one of the reasons he was selected over his fellow cosmonauts in his training program to become the first Soviet cosmonaut to travel to space.
To get some time off to rest and recover, Gagarin was sent to Kyrgyzstan for a vacation at the well-known sanatorium in Tamga at the south shore of lake Issyk-Kul. He strolled around the tranquil mountains, maybe took a bath in the crystal-clear lakes nearby, and visited the impressive waterfall near Barskoon. Rumour has it that he loved this place, so the locals decided to put up a monument near the waterfall to commemorate his visits to the area.
In fact, there are two monuments, one on each side of the road. The first (shown in the picture) is carved from a giant rock and shows Gagarin in his space helmet, contemplating, watching the sky. The other one is a bust on a plinth which marks the start of the path up the mountains towards the Barskoon waterfall.