Issyk-Kul – (in Kyrgyz “hot lake”) is the second highest (after Titikaki) alpine lake in the world, located at an altitude of 1609 m. The lake is 180 km long and 70 km wide, the depth at the deepest point reaches 668 meters (average depth 300 meters). The lake never freezes (hence its name), despite the fact that it is surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks.
The Issyk-Kul region was unknown to the Western world until Russian explorers, such as, for example, Semenov-Tian-Shansky, visited the expedition here.
In the East, these places have been known since ancient times. The Chinese traveler Zhang Jian wrote about the lake, who visited Issyk-Kul in 128 BC. during his travels in 138-126 BC The mention of the lake in the written sources of another Chinese researcher, Xuan Zhan, is found in the description of his 16-year-old expedition.
The name “Isi-Kul” is first found in the anonymous work “The Borders of the World from East to West”, written in Tajik language in 982 AD. The exact dimensions of the lake are also mentioned in this work.
Ruh Ordo is the only open-air museum of its kind on the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul in the city of Cholpon-Ata.
The complex includes 10 mini museums, including: “The House Museum of Ch. Aytmatov”, “The Hall of Kyrgyz Art and Culture”, art gallery and photo gallery, “Sheds of Sayakbai Karalaev”, “Treasury of Knowledge” and five chapels, each which represents one of the world religions, namely: Islam, Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Buddhism and Judaism, as a symbol of the fact that God is one for all.
Also on the territory of the complex there are expositions of dozens of sculptures and hundreds of paintings made in various techniques, handicrafts, which have been carefully passed down from generation to generation. At the same time, the exposition fund “Ruh Ordo” is constantly updated with new and interesting exhibits.
The guide will tell you about everything fascinatingly and in detail. For an hour and a half interactive tour you will not only learn the history, culture and life of Kyrgyzstan, but also try to sing, dance a national dance, participate in games, traditions and much more.
Grigoriev Gorge is considered one of the most famous sights of Issyk-Kul. The sweet smell of pines, the green mountain slopes, the noise of the mountain river, the high-mountain lakes lure tourists to holidaymakers in Issyk-Kul. In this gorge grow beautiful Tien Shan spruce. The mountain slopes of the Grigoriev Gorge are covered with red mountain poppy, which is spread throughout the valley. The length of the valley is 35 kilometers. Rough glacial water of crystal purity rushes along the bottom of the gorge. The middle part of the valley is crowned by two snowy peaks: the peak of Kum-Bel (4200 m.) And the peak of Eshenbulak (4647m.).
Jety-Oguz is a picturesque sandstone mountain located approximately 25 km south-west of Karakol. The name means “seven bulls” because of the similarity of the outlines of the seven rocks with the silhouettes of huge bulls. The rocks of Jeti-Oguz are a protected natural monument.
There is a legend about the origin of these mountains. In ancient times, two Khans lived in the neighborhood. One of them had a beautiful wife. The second han stole her. When the beautiful husband’s husband demanded the return of his beloved, his enemy conceived a terrible evil deed. He gave a feast that lasted seven days. Every day he killed one huge bull, and on the last day he slaughtered a prisoner with his own hands. Blood spattered from the wounds of the woman and, where the red drops fell, seven red rocks appeared – Jety-Oguz.
Driving into the Jety-Oguz gorge, travelers pass through another gorge that looks like a broken heart. This landscape, like Jety-Oguz, has already become a symbol of the Issyk-Kul region and a popular image for photographs and paintings.
In the village there is an ancient cemetery and several mounds dating from the 7th to the 5th century BC – today their sizes range from 16 to 28 meters in diameter and 1.7 and 3 meters in height, but once they were more.
The Dzhety-Oguz sanatorium, located in the gorge, built nearby in 1932. It was the first meeting place of President Akayev with Boris Yeltsin in 1991, after the coup in Moscow.
About 5 km south of the sanatorium there is the Valley of Flowers, which since May-month is replete with flowering poppies.
Canyons “Fairy Tale” – an amazing place where the sandy red formations take on different fabulous shapes. Soft breeds of various shades are very malleable to the action of external forces. After another rain, the relief of the fairy tale can really change noticeably. And the shades of colors on the slopes of the canyon can dramatically change with strong gusts of wind. Moreover, staying in the Fairy Tale with full calm and clear sky from morning to evening, the observer will be revealed new details of the landscape every hour. They will be differently highlighted by the movement of the sun in the sky. And the movement of shadows on the ground.
A walk through this gorge while relaxing in Issyk-Kul brings not only aesthetic pleasure, but also unity with nature. With care you make every step so as not to disturb the creator.
“Blue sky, blue Issyk-Kul, between them a white battlement wall, in the foreground a bare, red-yellow shore – this is the whole look, very simple, but from which the eye can hardly break away: so majestic coloring, so elegant and light ridge outlines … “N. A. Severtsev