Tamerlan and his soldiers…


Tamerlan – a legendary leader, who was able to conquer the half of the world with extreme wisdom and strength. He left so much heritage for future generations in different countries including Kyrgyzstan as well.

Somewhere around the lake of Issyk Kul there is an interesting place, called San Tash. It is translated as “counting stone” from Kyrgyz language. There is nothing that extraordinary in that heritage; all you will see is the bunch of small stones. However, the story behind why they gave this name is very interesting and touching…

That collection of stones actually shows the number of soldiers, who were killed during the battle. It was Tamerlan, who told his soldiers to leave a stone each to one place and to take them back afterwards. Apparently, not everyone was able to return to do so…

City Under Lake

I guess it was not just a coincidence that those amazing rock arts by unknown artists are located by Issyk Kul. In 1985, group of archeologists were able to find a whole civilization under Issyk Kul lake and it was the remains of an ancient city Chigu Chen, the capital of Usuns.

They found enough amount of proofs to the chinese ancient scripts. Only in those books were written all detailed information about this strong empire, even to the fact that how they called the first or second chinese wife of the Usun king. There were also the household items, such as dishes, arms, tools for farming and harvests, etc.

Those findings, put together with accurate history books can give the reader a great idea of lifestyle, culture and traditions of Usuns and all nations connected with them at the very beginning of our centuries.

Rock Arts #2

Kyrgyzstan keeps surprising the people, who are learning its geography and history. It is definitely because of the rich heritage in the area. Before finishing the researches about one historical place, there appears something new. The same you may feel now, after finding out about the second gallery of petroglyphs in the country, besides Saimaluu Tash.

There is an open air museum in Cholpon Ata town of Issyk-Kul province. Here is what one of the sources describe the valley of embroided stones:

“It is the perfect art gallery, once created by Andronic or Arian tribes and was continued by Saka tribes later on. The amount of those petroglyphs reached two thousand and remained whole till our days.

The rock paintings there represent the values, beliefs and traditions of ancient people. For instance, you can see the pictures of people hunting, verses that seem a lot like a prayer and a lot more heritage. The mysteries of paintings of different animals, some of which do not even live in the area, still remain unsolved.”

Patterned Stone


Today we will go back to the land of the biggest walnut forests, exactly, Jalal-Abad region of Kyrgyzstan! It is amazing that the place is hiding one more huge heritage which is also number one among its kind in Central Asia! Visit site, in order to get more information and pictures!

It is the largest collection of rock paintings in Central Asia – Saimaluu Tash. It is translated as “embroided or patterned stone” from Kyrgyz. The location of the open-air museum is the valleys of the Inner Tien Shar, at an altitude of 3,000 – 3,200 meters. This largest gallery of petroglyphs consists of about 90 thousand masterpieces.

The oldest of them are said to be from the Bronze Age (1st century B.C. to 8th century A.D.) Each has a unique style and subject, including various animals, people, who are hunting or just busy with daily chores, and some verses. They all can take the person to the secret world of ancient society and build a great bridge between!

The Pearl of Kyrgyzstan

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Among the most visited places in Kyrgyzstan there is the one that maintains the first place for years. It is one of the largest alpine lakes in the world – Issyk Kul, the second after Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. The fact that it is surrounded by two mountain chains of the Central Tien Shan Range and the stunning nature make it the real Pearl of the country. Issyk-Kul is a popular vacation spot, not only for the inhabitants of Kyrgyzstan, but also for visitors from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Siberia.

Issyk Kul is rich with historical treasures, such as the caves of Stone Age people, the stone burial mounds of cattle breeding tribes, the art galleries of petroglyphs stretching for hundreds of kilometers around the lake, the stone roads and huge burial mounds of the Scythian kings, silent stone statues and so on. The ruins of ancient and medieval cities which prospered in the times of the Great Silk Road now lie buried underwater, vanished from memory without a trace after centuries of war and conquest.

The most ancient mention of Lake Issyk-Kul can be found in Chinese chronicles. In 629 A.D., Hsuan-zhang, a Chinese Buddhist monk on a pilgrimage to India, reached Lake Issyk-Kul after an arduous crossing of the Tien Shan mountains. The Chinese called the lake Zhehai “the warm lake”, as the lake never freezes, which completely corresponds with the Turkic name. “The color of the water is greenish-black,” wrote Hsuan-zhang, “its taste is salty and bitter at the same time”…

Silk Road Heritage

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History is very interesting and mysterious. On the other hand, it is really confusing when it sounds not the same in different places. The fact is that it is written by people and people always write what they think is true… So sometimes we can do nothing but agree with that someone else’s opinion. However, there are some ways to prove whether something had happened for real or not.

As an example, they say that Kyrgyzstan is so ancient and important part of Silk Road, so on and so far. But as we see, it is now a very small and unknown country, which does not really have that spirit of Great country! Thanks to the proof, we can definitely be sure about the statement: there is one of the most famous caravanserais of Silk Road in this land!

It is a beautiful 15th century Caravanserai, called Tash Raabat (Stone Door). Situated in Naryn region of Kyrgyzstan, the place now remains as ruins of ancient vibrant caravanserai. Despite the fact that it is pretty hard to reach and away from civilization, tourists are always excited to visit the place and even stay there for couple days!

Broken Heart

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Let me share one of the legends in Kyrgyzstan, which broke my heart… It is about one of the beautiful gorges Jeti Oguz and its heart-shaped mount.

Once upon a time, there was a khan famous for his cruelty. He had everything he wished: many beautiful wives in his harem, countless gold in treasure. In a blink of an eye, he had reached the age of seventy-five.

One day when the khan was hunting around his camp, he saw a very beautiful girl. She walked in a graceful way, and she had long plaited hair. Without thinking twice, the khan made up his mind to have her for his own by any means, and he sent his men to seize the girl and deliver her to him.

The girl was from a poor family, and she had been engaged to a young man from her childhood. The young people loved one another so much; they could not imagine being out of each other’s sight. As soon as they learned that the khan’s warriors had been sent after the girl, the young lovers decided to run away up the mountains to hide there. But the envoys, obedient to the khan’s will, killed the young man, put the girl on horseback and started to the khan’s camp.

On the way across the mountains, the girl was overwhelmed with grief and hopelessness. Her heart gave way, and she died.
On that very place appeared a mountain. If you stand at the foot of it, high against the sky you will see the shape of a broken human heart. In the middle of the mountain there is red clay. It seems as if the heart is bleeding…

Patterned Stones

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Patterned/embroided stones or Saimaluu-Tash in Kyrgyz is a place, situated in a narrow canyon on a northeastern slope of  the Fergansky range, in the region of Kugart pass. Crossing this pass from the agricultural Fergana Valley to the valleys of the Inner Tien Shan. In the region, at an altitude of 3,000 – 3,200m, is the largest concentration of petroglyphs in Central Asia, which have been gouged out of basaltic rock.

Petroglyphs have survived on stones and rocks at many sites throughout the globe. In spite of the fact that people have been studying them for 200 years, some of them still remain a mystery to us. Saimaluu-Tash is the largest gallery of petroglyphs in Central Asia and consists of about 90 thousand individual specimens.

A wide range of ages shows the best correlation with the richness of its subjects, characters and symbols. The animal world is widely represented at the site, there are elephants, lions, snow-leopards, wolves, ibex, red deer, birds and reptiles. Domestic animals are shown: horses, bulls and yaks. Multi-image compositions depict scenes of hunting, domestication of wild animals, migrating along mountain paths, ritual dances of masked people, sun and moon shaped men driving on harnessed chariots and carriages, dances of demons, resembling human creatures with canine heads and hypertrophied huge arms. Authors with high academic credentials regard Saimaluu-Tash as monument of culture of universal importance.

Since the place is situated in such high and deep inside area, it can be visited during only 2 months a year: July and August. Otherwise, snow will make it impossible to reach.

Greek walnuts in Kyrgyzstan?

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Is it not a bit strange to hear about greek walnuts in Kyrgyzstan? Maybe it sounds pretty simple, but after the little fact I’m going to share, you may also think the same.

Did you know that the biggest walnut forest is situated in Kyrgyzstan? Yes, the biggest one on Earth! That amazing walnut forest is situated on south of Kyrgyzstan, in Jalal-Abad region. The place itself is called Arslanbob. There are some legends about how greek walnut could appear in the heart of Asia.

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Many of them say that the walnut tree was brought by Alexander the Great, who conquered the whole world and has been in the territories of modern Kyrgyzstan as well. This is when he planted the walnut and it grew into thousands of other trees during centuries. These long-living trees can give fruit for up to a thousand years!

Nowadays, the forest is not only the source of yummy and useful walnuts, but also the perfect place to spend vacations. The local people enjoy the beautiful mountain view, coolness of amazing waterfalls during hot summer days.

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The city under ground

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Kyrgyzstan is so rich with history that I still cannot go on to another topic. Today, let me take you to the northern part of that country, which is not less attractive with ancient treasures.

Just an hour ride from the country’s capital Bishkek, there is an old town, called Tokmok. Each and every tourist, who come to Kyrgyzstan, definitely has to visit that town to see the remaining ancient city ruins and its main tower Burana. It carries so much history and legends within, that makes the listener look at it with awe!