km South West of Karakol is a lush valley with some striking red
sandstone rock formations (the "seven Bulls" from which the valley
takes its name).
There is a legend about the rock formation. A
Kyrgyz khan stole the wife of another, who sought advice from a "wise
man" about how he could reap his revenge. The wise man was reluctant to
give advice but in the end relenting, telling the khan that he should
kill his wife and give the body to his rival - "Let him own a dead
wife, not a living one". The Kahn made his plans and at a funeral feast
arranged to sit next to his stolen wife and as the last of the nine
bulls were being slaughtered as part of the ritual, he took out his
knife and stabbed her. From her heart gushed blood and other fluids,
which carried away the bulls down the valley and where they came to
rest they became these cliffs. As you approach the valley, you pass
another rock formation, which resembles a "broken heart" and legend
says that this is the heart of a beautiful woman who died of a broken
heart after two suitors killed each other fighting over her. These two
rock formations have almost become symbols of the Issyk Kul region and
are favourite images for photographs and paintings.
In the village there are an
ancient cemetery and some barrows (burial mounds) dating from from the
7th to the 5th centuries BC - they are currently between 16 and 28 m in
diameter and 1.7 and 3 m high, but once they were even larger.
Not far up the valley is the Djety Orguz
sanatoria, built in 1932 - and the sight of the first meeting between
Presidents Akaev and Yeltsin in 1991 after the abortive coup in Moscow.
About 5 km south of the Jety Orguz sanatoria, is
Dolina Svetov (Valley of the flowers) a valley opens out which is
ablaze with colour from May - when there are multitudes of poppies -
throughout early summer. Apparently there are reputed to be petroglyphs
here - but no-one seems to know exactly where. There are often yurts
here, which can offer accommodation.
In 2003, a new Guest House opened in the village.
In the valley is the Djety Orguz State Zoological reserve. Nearby is
the village of Jele Debe - where Eagle hunting demonstrations can be
organized. Trekking permits are necessary for the valley.