In the Jeti-Oguz Valley

Jety Oguz Travel Blog

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A dramatic entry to the Jeti-Oguz valley - the "Broken Heart"; in the distance is the Terskey Alatau range
Both to the east and west of Karakol several valleys run southwards, leading into the Terskey Alatau range, and we proposed to visit one of the most scenic of these valleys, namely Jeti-Oguz, which lies about 10 miles west of Karakol. Clearly, Irina and her father had no intention of letting the slow puncture on the car interfere with our plans! Jeti-Oguz is actually the name of a village, of the valley in which it lies, and also of the clear and rapid stream of wonderful cleanliness and liveliness that runs through the valley. The stream is, of course - like most of the watercourses in Kyrgyzstan - fed by snow-melt fresh from the mountain tops, and feeds into Issyk Kul.
The "Seven Bulls", the rock formation from which the stream, valley and village get their name


The entrance to the valley is truly dramatic. Much of the geology hereabouts is of pinky-red sandstone, a fact that is brought forcibly home by the "Broken Heart", a great heart-shaped rock formation partly covered by vegetation and about 200 feet high. It is immediately clear that it could have been called nothing else, for it is riven by a cleft which separates it into two almost identical halves. There is, of course, a legend about this - there's always a legend, it's what helps to pad out the guide-books - but you can probably make it up for yourself; I guarantee that you won't be far wrong.

From there the road, which is quite good to start with, gradually narrows and becomes more track-like as it follows the stream up the valley. We drove until the track crossed the stream by a bridge apparently made from old railway sleepers, and there we halted to explore a little on foot, and take some photographs.
A traditional yurt; it is supported by a wooden trellis framework that can be collapsed, allowing the whole thing to be moved between higher and lower ground with the seasons
Eventually the track leads into the mountains, and it is a popular starting point for trekking expeditions on horseback, but time did not allow us to go any further. At first the valley had been quite open, but here, at the bridge, the pine trees started to close in and the general aspect changed to that of woodland. I was fascinated by the way substantial pines were managing to cling to almost vertical surfaces of what looked like bare rock.

Returning down the valley, we stopped at the village of Jeti-Oguz - the name means "Seven Bulls". It lies immediately below a striking rock formation said to resemble seven bulls, and from which it derives its name. I wasn't trained as an auditor for nothing, so I counted the outcrops - not particularly bovine, it has to be said - and made it five. Concluding that perhaps I should count some of the littler ones I counted again and made it nine. I can only conclude that the Kyrgyz did the same and, making the best of a bad job, took the average. The village itself, although poor, is beautifully situated and is also the site of one of the sanitoriums with which the area abounds. There were very few people about, but from the few whom we did see it was clear that, in these parts, the horse is an important a form of transport.

Then it was into the car again, and onwards to the coast road for the next stage of our journey back to Bishkek.
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A dramatic entry to the Jeti-Oguz …
A dramatic entry to the Jeti-Oguz…
The Seven Bulls, the rock format…
The "Seven Bulls", the rock forma…
A traditional yurt; it is supporte…
A traditional yurt; it is support…
The icy Jeti-Oguz stream, fed by s…
The icy Jeti-Oguz stream, fed by …
Irina and her father artfully hidi…
Irina and her father artfully hid…
Irina snapping me snapping her
Irina snapping me snapping her
Looking further south into the val…
Looking further south into the va…
Pines clinging to the near-vertica…
Pines clinging to the near-vertic…
The bridge that marked the limit o…
The bridge that marked the limit …
Part of Jeti-Oguz village nestling…
Part of Jeti-Oguz village nestlin…
Another part of the village; the c…
Another part of the village; the …
A Kyrgyz horsewoman; in my anxiety…
A Kyrgyz horsewoman; in my anxiet…
A typical village dwelling, with a…
A typical village dwelling, with …
This Kyrgyz horseman is wearing a …
This Kyrgyz horseman is wearing a…
The horsewoman again - we had over…
The horsewoman again - we had ove…
Showing the local rock formation i…
Showing the local rock formation …
This, whatever it was, cannot exac…
This, whatever it was, cannot exa…
A final view of the Broken Heart…
A final view of the "Broken Heart…
A common hazard, but at least it g…
A common hazard, but at least it …
Jety Oguz
photo by: Biedjee