Issyk Kul, the huge salt mountain lake, has
from ancient times served as an alluring oasis on the Great Silk Road.
Through the ages hundreds of traders have stopped here to dip their
weary feet into the fresh waters of the lake.
Many legends, as well as written sources, mention treasure hidden in
the mountains and under the waters of Issyk Kul. Now its existence has
been confirmed by a joint Kyrgyz and Russian archaeological expedition
conducted on Issyk Kul by Vladimir Ploskikh, the vice-president of the
National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic.
The finds of this expedition are stored in a small room of the
Kyrgyz-Russian (Slavic) University named after B.N.Eltsin. During the
past two years, a team of skin-divers from the Russian Confederation of
Underwater Activity under the direction of Professor Stanislav Prapor
has participated in the work of the Kyrgyz expedition.
Two bronze sacrificial coppers are without doubt the most unique
discoveries. According to preliminary data the sunken treasure is about
two and a half thousand years old. Svetlana Lukasheva, historian and
skin-diver from Moscow, discovered the larger of the two coppers during
her diving sorties. Its good condition is surprising and scientists
have concluded that our ancestors possessed a unique knowledge of
chemistry. Moreover the copper was repaired several times by ancient
metallurgists. They soldered the handles to the copper using a specific
Riddle №1: Did a welding system
exist in ancient times?
"The second small copper with three legs shaped like birds' feet each
with four claws, probably served as the vessel for khaoma
(a ritual drink) preparation. This was associated with the sakam-khaoshavarga
, who usually danced round the copper praying to
the Sun and Wind, as part of a Zoroastrian ritual", said Svetlana
Gromova, a senior lecturer in History and Culture.
Another interesting finding is a piece of the vessel on which a
hexahedral star with two spirals is engraved. Studying the image,
scientists concluded that it was the Star of David, the symbol of
Judaism. The vessel itself is characteristic of local production
methods which indicates that our ancestors were rivaling the
achievements of civilization at that time. The bronze jug can be also
ranked as a unique discovery. It was made by local craftsmen some time
during the 10 th or 11 th centuries AD. Such are the findings of the
According to legend, Alexander the Great took several noble grandees
captive during the conquest of the Persian Empire. On leaving for India
Alexander decided to take them with him, but then had to leave the
Persians on the banks of Issyk Kul. Having given up hope of returning
to their homes, they settled here and built cities. Perhaps Alexander
the Great called in on his way to see his soldiers and captives, or
just to take a rest before the long way home.
Riddle №;2: Did Alexander the Great
visit Issyk Kul?
The decrease of the volume of water in Issyk Kul is still not being
Riddle №3: Where does the water
flowing into Issyk Kul from mountain rivers go to?
Twenty small skulls and some hoop-like objects were also discovered
here. Strangely all the sculls showed the same oblong shapes in the
cerebral hemisphere. The sculls belonged to teenagers, who, it is
thought, had to wear the hoops. These squeezed their foreheads and led
to the intense development of the back hemisphere. This is another
riddle of the region. Nobody knows what other secrets are hidden in the
emerald water of Issyk Kul. They remain on the bottom, waiting to be
"Asian Roads" travel agency
invites you to experience this mystery and to plunge into the
fascinating mystic beauty of the lake. Tourists are drawn to the huge
variety of tours to be found centered around the lake, some interested
in watching the animals and birds, others in riding through the alpine
meadows. Many are drawn by ethnographic trips looking at national
traditions; others are into mountain cycling. Some like to express the
passion of the treasure hunter, others like to roam freely through
For trekking and boat trips, for botanical and geological tours to the
most beautiful places round the huge warm salt Issyk Kul lake, and for
many other interesting routes along the Great Silk Road visit us at
In the next issues we will continue the story of the majestic Issyk