Burana (from Turkic "monara" - minaret). One of the most important historical sites in the Chui valley, about 60 kilometers east of Bishkek. The Burana monument is a minaret left from probably a larger architectural complex on the territory of the ancient city of Balasagun, which disappeared in the medieval era. The history of building the complex still remains a mystery. It was built around the 11th century and the minaret originally was about 45 meters high (one of the highest in medieval Central Asia). The city was captured by Genghis Khan in the 13th century and was heavily damaged. It never recovered again and gradually disappeared in the 15th-16th centuries, though travelers observed ruins of its mud buildings and palaces until the 19th-20th centuries. During the Soviet era several archeological expeditions excavated areas around Burana and their findings can be viewed in the collection of the Historical Museum in Bishkek. After 1991 the site became one of the most frequently visited places in Kyrgyzstan on the route of the Great Silk Road tours.