Discovery Kyrgyzstan
Discovery Kyrgyzstan travel guide #10/2008

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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 welding method.

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 latest expedition.
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 studied.

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 discovered.
"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 nature.
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 Kul.

Discovery Kyrgyzstan #2

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