Issyk-Kul lake — Asia Travel

issykkul1-300x225The Issyk-Kul lake is nonfreezing mountain miracle of tectonic origin located in the deep intermountain hollow between Kungey Ala-Too spurs and Terskey-Ala-Too ridge on the 1609 m altitude above the sea level. Mountain ridges protect the lake from cold air from the north and from hot breath of desert from the south. Therefore the local climate is warm and soft – here exhausting heat and strong frosts don’t happen.

Issyk Kul is one of the biggest and most beautiful high-mountain lakes of the world (it has 170 km length and 70 km width, being the second-largest mountain lake in the world after Titicaca – lake in South America). Depths in lake are not everywhere identical (the greatest depth is 700 m) hence the water everywhere gets warm differently.

Translated from ancient Turkic language «Issyk-Kul» means «sacred, reserved lake» and from Kyrgyz it means «warm lake» (because it never freezes). And it is true, in spite of the fact that the lake is high-mountainous, it is famous for its warm beaches, thermo-mineral radon sources, alpine glades and huge coniferous forests. The lake has indented coastline, but due to this here are about 20 picturesque gulfs and bays located.

It is well-known also for its healing properties. Crystal-clear water, mineral sources in combination with mountain, but at the same time soft, almost sea climate, create perfect conditions for resort rest with additional opportunities of mud and thermal treatment. About 80 rivers run into the lake, but no any flows out. In this reason the lake is salty (the water salinity is 5,8 %). About 10 billion tons of various salts are dissolved in the lake waters. That is the reason why from the ancient time people come here not only to have a rest on coast of the natural phenomenon, but at the same time for the health-improvement.

issykkul2-300x225Altyn-Arashan hot source located on a picturesque high-mountain valley at height of 3000 m, jetty-Orghuz canyon consisting of unusual red rocks, huge and a little bit frightening with silence Karkara valley, fascinating and safe trekking in Terskey-Ala-Too – all can be considered as most demanded highlights of the region (certainly, except the lake). Hillsides and gorges of Issyk-Kul side are suitable for the trekking, carving, mountain ski all year round.

It is inexcusable to be on Issyk-Kul lake and not to visit its well-known archeological monuments. In particular, nearby to Cholpon-Ata small resort town the original museum on the open-air where you will see the big congestion of petrogliphs (II millennium B.C. – VIII c. A.D.) is located. Besides petrogliphes, the plenty (up to 1000) burial grounds have been revealed in the territory of Issyk-Kul lake region. In Tamga gorge you will see Tamga-Tash – the huge stone boulder split into half-and-half where inscriptions of Buddhist formulas are carved. And the Muslim mosque constructed without a piece of nail survived till now in Karakol.

The Legend of Issuk-Kul Lake

According to one legend, the appearance of this beautiful lake is connected with a beautiful girl who sacrificed their lives for their beloved. «In ancient times there was an old city. The town is on top of a steep hill stood the castle. Belonged he old and powerful Khan, who was famous not only for its wealth, but even with their brutality. Not a day passed that someone did not become a victim his whim. Despite old age, Khan was lust, but he did not know either love or affection. One day the news reached him that a poor family of nomads is a fabulous girl, and he decided to take her. This girl lived in a small village, nestling in the foothills on the banks of the creek. No one glorious brave in battle laid his head for a beautiful woman, but the proposals of marriage, it all replied that she loves another.
I loved a girl, no one could know, and she herself did not know. I only remember that in one early morning when the sun lit up the mountain peaks, appeared before her on a white horse, the handsome brave, sat her on his horse, and together they soared higher and higher. Remember, as with the swiftness of the vortex, they flew together in the inaccessible heights as he hugged her, kissed, and parted, took off his ring and put on her finger, said: «I’ll be back soon. The ring will never take off until it is yours, no calamity will not touch you. »
And now, when the envoys Khan came to her with rich gifts and offered to marry him, she indignantly repelled gifts and said:
— I love the other, and draw his wife, except for her beloved, I will not!
Having said this, she quietly went into the mountains, hoping to meet again brave rider to seek his protection.
And only then she noticed that the ring has disappeared with her hands, she burst into tears and decided to return home. Before she could reach home, as it was surrounded by armed horsemen, and caught and quickly disappeared into the gloomy gorge. When she was released and took off the bandage from her eyes, she found herself among the fairy-tale splendor. Then she realized that she is a prisoner of the khan, and decided to die rather than become his wife.
Khan fought against it, unheard of luxuries, but no gifts could not shake her. Finally, Khan decided to take by force what fruitlessly sought gifts. He again came to her, promising for the love of everything, even freedom.
— I love another — was the old answer.
Khan threw himself on the girl, but she quickly found the open window, over the yawning abyss.
— No, Khan, I’ll be your — and with a loud cry she threw herself down. At the same moment wavered impregnable wall collapsed granite vaults, fell dark castle of the old khan, and of all the gorges gushing water, has already disappeared under the water, the remains of the Khan’s palace and the water was coming and everything was coming up until no more flooded the valley. »

And so it formed this beautiful lake Issyk-Kul.

Sacred places on the southern shore of Issyk-Kul

Natural holy places are filled with miraculous energy and posses healing and magic properties. They date back to the beginning of time and are closely connected with the geographical sphere and physical characteristics of the Earth.

The road along the southern shore of Issyk-Kul to the east of Bokonbaevo village runs very close to the water. Along the narrow coastline lie some of the best sandy beaches of the lake. Just before Kadzhisay a road marked “Manjyly Ata” leads south along the long mountain valley for five kilometers to some miraculous springs. Nobody knows how many there are. The nine that are active have names: Manjyly Ata, Umay Ene, Ilim-Bilim… Every spring offers health, peace, love, protection from evil, but most of all is the hope that the sacred water will aid fertility.

There is saying: ”If you want to increase your livestock and wealth pray in Cholpan-Ata, if you want to have a baby pray in Manjyly-Ata”. A visit to the holy place usually starts by worshipping the ashes of the great seer Manjyly, whose tomb is not far from the springs.

Tashtar-Ata Mountain rises above the surrounding slopes. Its sacred nature is related in the epic “Manas”. Manas` fellow-fighters, the forty warriors-kyrk choro – had an observation post on the mountain from which they could spy on their enemies. The whole surrounding area and other side of the lake can be seen from the top, now a place of pilgrimage where sacrificial ceremonies take place. The remains of a stone construction still exist, said to have been forty stones, one to hide each of Manas` warriors. There are hollowed out marks dating back to that time, perhaps the imprints of the warriors` hands.

Near Kozho-Say, the gorge of the holy Khodzha is a settlement of the same name. From there a pass runs along the valley of the Tosor River. The holy places of the Tosor River date back to time immemorial. On the river terraces are stone circles made from boulders that seem to grow out of the land. These are remains of ancient sanctuaries where nomads performed devotions, made sacrifices, worshipped heavenly bodies. Rock carvings depict hunting scenes, the main occupation of ancient settlers. There are many burial mounds of Saks, Usuns, and ancient Turks in Tosor. Tibetan and Arabic inscriptions were in the upper section of the river.