Discovery Kyrgyzstan
 
Discovery Kyrgyzstan travel guide #10/2008
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The southern shore of Issyk-Kul Lake: realities and outlooks

Kyrgyzstan - Land of the Tien ShanThe shape of Issyk Kul lake resembles a blue lens that has been stretched wide. The top of the lens or northern shore of the lake is for some reason more populated than the southern one. Many villages, rest homes, pensions, tourist centers and modern recreation and entertainment centers are to be found here and in the neighboring mountains, most dating from the second half of the last century. The tourism services provided here today are many and varied.

The southern shore on the other hand is only partially developed with a handful of small pensions and rest homes. Strange when you consider it was the first choice for the location of the early settlements at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Kyzyl-Suu (formerly Slivkino or Pokrovka) and Bokonbaevo (formerly Koltsovka) were built there and Koi-Sary was one of the first rest homes to be built. There is historical evidence to show that people dwelt on the southern shore a thousand years ago and that the area prospered between the 8th and 12th centuries.

The southern shore is not short of natural advantages such as pure water and excellent beaches as well as geographical and historical places of interest. The area surrounding the villages of Tamga and Tosor is typical.

The southern shore of Issyk-Kul Lake: realities and outlooksTosor is a Turkic word meaning "front post" or "outpost" as confirmed by the ruins of the small (100m x 100m) fortress, Tosor I, situated on the western outskirts of the village. Historic monuments abound in the surrounding area and on the flood plains of the River Tosor. One of the most interesting is the palaeolithic settlement also known as Tosor. The settlement is located on the flood plain to the right of the River Tosor and 5 km from the Balykchi-Karakol road. The settlement is thought to be between 100 and 40 thousand years old.

Tamga is from the Turkic for "letter", "patterned stone", "brand" or "stamp". The village and the surrounding area are named after four famous stones located about 2 km from the village which bear Tibetan inscriptions: 'Oh, you, a treasure on the lotus…'

Between the villages of Tosor and Tamga the coastline curves round, forming the Ak-Chiy creek. In Soviet times the Still Bay (Tikhaya Bukhta) tourist center stood here but now only the foundations remain. Nearby, on the sandspit a yurt camp has been set up and next to the Still Bay site, a new sports and health camp/hotel is being built. It is hoped that this will be a recreational and training center for sports activities and and tourism (mountain tours, riding, diving…). The Terskey Ala-Too mountain range, crowned with snowy peaks, rises up from the lake. At the foot of the mountains are unique forests of ancient fir trees and in the mountain gorges are waterfalls and hot mineral springs.

It is not possible to list all the advantages of the southern shore of Issyk Kul in this article but hopefully this brief overview will show the huge potential for development of recreational tourism on the southern shore of the lake. The future of the region is here.

Discovery Kyrgyzstan #5

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