Issyk-Kul Lake – pearl of Kyrgyzstan
Issyk-Kul Lake for many years attracts romantics and treasure hunters. According to some reports, there might be up to 200 treasures at the bottom of the lake. In addition, there are many legends about sunken cities and about burial place of Genghis Khan in the waters of this wonderful lake.
Issyk-Kul is one of the largest lakes in the world and more than 50 rivers fall into it. It is situated in the northern Tien Shan and its area is 6236 square meters. The lake is 182 km long and 700 m deep. It is surrounded by ridges, that’s why there is no exhausting heat and severe frost here, and the water in the lake does not freeze even in winter.
There are many legends about how the lake was formed, but here is the most beautiful of them, about the girl who gave her life for the sake of love. Once there was a city where the castle of the powerful and cruel khan towered. Khan learned that the poor nomad had a beautiful daughter and decided to possess the girl. But the heart of the beauty belonged to another man. One day a handsome man appeared in front of her on a white horse. They walked all day long and in the evening he took off his ring and put on her finger.
“I’ll be back soon”, he said. “Don’t take off the ring.” When the messengers came to her with gifts and offered to marry Khan, she refused and went to the mountains in the hope to meet her beloved again. But she soon noticed that the ring had disappeared. When she returned home she was captured by Khan’s servants. The cruel ruler wanted to take the girl by force, but she ran out of the window into the yawning abyss. At the same moment the castle of old Khan fell down and the water gushed. It was coming and coming and a wonderful lake Issyk was formed.
In 1218 the Mongol army came to that area. Wealthy people and monks took gold, silver and other valuables, and went along the coast of Issyk-Kul. However, the Mongols caught up with the fugitives and they began to look for a place to hide treasures. They buried one part of their wealth in the coastal waters, and the other – in a cave.
After the 1917 revolution Orthodox priest came to the Tien Shan. He had a map with the location of the treasure. But the excavations were banned. Until now the Issyk-Kul waters keep their secret.
There is a theory according to which the sons of Genghis Khan after his death in 1227, only imitated his father’s funeral in Ordos, and the body of the deceased ruler, together with his innumerable treasures were buried in a secret place. Treasure hunters and archaeologists looked for them in Mongolia, China, and Kazakhstan. But the elderly Kyrgyz believe that the grave of the great conqueror is hidden in waters of Issyk-Kul.
There is a diagram depicting the Issyk-Kul and monastery, located near the lake, in the Catalan Atlas, published in 1375. The creators of the atlas claim that relics of St. Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist are in the monastery. After Jesus’ ascension, his disciple Matthew went to Ethiopia, bringing Christianity. According to legend, Matthew’s body was placed into a silver shrine and transported to the mysterious Armenian monastery near Issyk-Kul.
Archaeologists have discovered at least 10 ancient cities and monasteries, hidden under the waters of Lake Issyk.
In 30-ies of XX century, ichthyologists put several species of fish into the lake, most of them died. Few survived, including trout from Lake Sevan. What happened next is unclear: fish mutated and turned into aggressive toothy monster, according to witnesses, reaching a size of up to 2 m. They say that in 1972 three-meter-long humanoid creatures were found in the lake.
– Issyk-Kul is the seventh in the ranking of the deepest lakes in the world.
– The largest ski resort in Central Asia is located in Issyk-Kul in the city of Karakol.
– Russian explorer Nikolai Mikhailovich Przewalski was so struck by the beauty of the lake and asked to be buried on the shore of the lake. Przewalski’s Tomb is located near the town of Karakol.
– The first information about Issyk-Kul appeared at the end of the 2nd century BC in the Chinese chroniclers, where the lake was named “warm sea”.