Many tourists, when visiting Issyk-Kul for the
first time, admire the beauty of the lake and wonder why they have
never heard of this beautiful place. Why is it that this natural
phenomenon that inspires anyone who sees it for the first time remains
almost unknown to the world?
The reasons for that lie in understanding
mysteries and secrets. Mysteries can be of different kinds; anyone may
are mysteries of a global scale. But to keep a whole country with a
huge lake secret…this would only be possible somewhere like
the Soviet Union. It excelled at secrets; even simple harmless things
sometimes became classified information. But anything connected with
industry or the military was particularly prone to the impenetrable
veil of top secrecy. Our republic found itself involved in that
military-industrial complex system. After World War II it was decided
to locate plants manufacturing electronic equipment for the USSR Navy
here. This was not a random decision. The former Kirghiz SSR was
considered to be an out-of-the-way place and was virtually inaccessible
to any foreigners.
inaccessibility, coupled with the natural properties of lake Issyk-Kul,
its vast size and salinity, similar to that of a sea, determined the
fate of this unusual natural miracle - as a torpedo testing site. The
lake is surrounded on each side by celestial mountain peaks, which made
it easier to impose a regime of complete inaccessibility. A single
mountain road led to the Issyk-Kul valley whose access was strictly
controlled not only for tourists but also for the local people
themselves. No access without a special permit: an authenticated and
certified business trip document, a pass with a stamp. No-one could
reach the resort coast without such a document. As for foreign guests,
Issyk-Kul was totally closed to them.
Through the whole history of the USSR two
high-flying foreign guests were the only exceptions and were granted
the special honour of seeing the unusual lake. One of them was
President of Finland, Urho Kaleva Kekkonen, and the second, a major
ally of the USSR from France.
For the wider foreign public, any information
about the Issyk-Kul lake was classified. So it was that the natural
miracle fell victim to the secrecy policy of the USSR.
the disintegration of the USSR, Issyk-Kul was opened to citizens of any
country. Anyone who comes here cannot remain indifferent to its unique
beauty that combines the best qualities of a maritime and mountain
climate. Healing properties and the huge health-improving potential of
the lake located at an altitude of 1607 m (5271 ft) are inestimable.
The altitude and the surrounding mountains protect the lake from dust
and the contaminated atmosphere of our planet. The resorts of Issyk-Kul
are a natural clinic for a great number of diseases connected, first of
all, with pollution of the environment. There are numerous thermal
mineral springs and therapeutic muds. Indeed, the Issyk-Kul lake is a
precious gift of Nature, preserved here untouched.
Today anyone can take advantage of these natural
gifts of the largest 'secret' lake in the world. But unfortunately, the
Issyk-Kul miracle is far from being known in the world.
These are the consequences of the USSR's top
secret that that affect us even now.