MOUNTAINS: MOUNTAIN VALLEYS AND RANGE
Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country. Its capital, Bishkek, is located in the central part of the Chui valley at the northern foot of the Kyrgyz Range (Tien Shan) at an altitude of 750-900 m above sea level. Most of the country is covered with mountains, most of the cities are in the foothills and most tourists go here to see the majestic Tien Shan or Pamir-Alay mountains.
Chui valley is known for its bizarre landscapes of gorges, mountain rivers and waterfalls and numerous mineral springs. The most famous is the valley of the Ala-Archa River, on the territory of which the Ala-Archa National Park was created to protect relic juniper forests and unique fauna. In the Chui valley, you can also visit the Chunkurchak gorge in the upper reaches of the Alamedin River, the nearby Alamedin thermal water deposit, the Chon-Aryk State Botanical Reserve in the Besh-Kungey tract, the picturesque natural gorges of Kara-Balta, Aspara, Dzhilamish and Kegeti with its famous waterfall.
According to Top-mba-universities, Talas Range, located in the north-east of the country, strikes the imagination with colossal canyons of mountain rivers, dozens of picturesque mountain lakes and cascades of waterfalls. The Land of Manas – this is how the people call the Talas Valley. According to legend, this is the birthplace of the Kyrgyz folk hero Manas. On the bank of the river at the foot of Mount Karool-Choku there is a mausoleum of the XIV century – a tomb built as a tomb for the emir’s daughter. But the legend says that this is Manas’ kyumbez, erected by his wife Kanykey, who, in order not to attract the attention of enemies who want to desecrate the memory of the hero, ordered to indicate the name of a noble woman in the inscription.
The Central Tien Shan is a real Mecca of climbers, here are the most famous peaks of Kyrgyzstan – Peak Pobeda (7439m) and Khan-Tengri (“Heavenly Mountain”, 6995m). There is also the South Enylchek glacier – the largest glacier in Kyrgyzstan. In the upper reaches of the Northern Enylchek glacier, there is a real miracle of nature – the Merzbacher glacial lake. Despite their inaccessibility, these places attract tourists and climbers from all over the world, although not all of them climb to the peaks. In the mountains of the central Tien Shan, you can find routes of any complexity or simply admire the eternal snow without climbing above the forest zone.
Western Tien Shan located on the edge of the Tien Shan mountain system, the ridges and peaks here are lower than in the central Tien Shan. The highest points of the Western Tien Shan are Chatkal Peak (4503 m) in the eponymous range, Manas Peak (4482 m) in the Talas Ala-Too and Mount Babash-Ata (4427 m) in the western part of the Ferghana Range. The greatest interest for lovers of extreme sports and beautiful landscapes in this area are numerous rapids rivers (Naryn, Chatkal and others).
The pearl of Central Asia and the largest lake in Kyrgyzstan is Lake Issyk-Kul located in the northeast of the country. The lake is located at an altitude of 1600 m above sea level between the ridges Terskey Ala-Too and Kungei Ala-Too. The water in the lake is transparent blue and crystal clear, slightly brackish, so you get the feeling that someone moved the sea to the mountains. Issyk-Kul is one of the largest mountain lakes in the world. From one side of the lake you can barely see the misty mountains on the other side.
Cholpon-Ata is the largest resort town on the northern coast of Issyk-Kul. There are boarding houses and sanatoriums here, you can see the nearby mountain gorges and petroglyphs or swim in the lake.
Karakol is a regional center located on the coast of Lake Issyk-Kul, a gate for routes leading to the mountains of the Central Tien Shan. Among the architectural monuments, the Dungan mosque stands out, built in 1910 from wood without a single nail in the style of a Buddhist pagoda. A Russian church (1872) and a trade pavilion (1893) were also built in the city. The Memorial Museum of N.M. Przhevalsky, located near the city. In Karakol, you should definitely go to the bazaar, there are even two of them in the city: upper and lower. In addition, in the city center there are shops selling national souvenirs and an interesting antique shop.
Jety Oguz (seven bulls) valley is located near the city of Karakol. It got its name from seven majestic detached rocks, built of reddish-red rock. If you climb higher along the valley, you will see a view of the peak of Oguz-Bashi, which also makes an unforgettable impression. In addition, in the mountain valleys descending to Lake Issyk-Kul, you can ride horses and try ayran, koumiss, cakes and delicious mountain honey of local production.