Issyk is a scenic highland lake surrounded by thick forest and endless flower meadows. This famous body of water is situated at a height of about 1700+ meters, in the gorge of the same name. Many people often confuse Issyk Lake with another lake, which has the similar name “Issyk-Kul”. This is wrong, since these are completely different bodies of water and they are situated on two sides of the Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan borders.
There is an opinion that the water in this lake can change its color depending on sunlight and weather patterns: in clear weather it’s azure, in cloudy it’s gray. At the moment, the lake's depth is more than 80 meters. The water temperature here is almost always cool, even in the summertime.
It is worth noting that the area where the lake is located has excellent ecology. In these places rare plants grow, which are listed in the Red Book. There is a fish that lives only in clear water — this is rainbow trout. Fishing is prohibited here and is an administrative offense. More than 150 species of birds and almost 30 species of mammals live in the mountainous terrain, including mountain goats, deer, brown bears, lynxes, and snow leopards.
Scientists found out that the lake was formed before our era, when a severe collapse occurred in the mountains, due to which a dam almost a thousand feet high arose. In 1939, the area near the lake acquired a civilized appearance: an asphalt road appeared, a camp site and a bus terminal were built. Regardless of the season, tourists and locals come here to enjoy the clean mountain air. The popularity of Issyk Lake can be judged by the numerous tourist cards and booklets that could be bought throughout the former USSR.
But in 1963 all this was destroyed by a very strong mudflow, which came down from the river's upper. Due to the shattered dam, the lake became empty in a few hours. A mudflow demolished pioneer camps, rest houses, entire streets and quarters, fields with crops. The Issyk River has changed its course. Issyk mudflow is considered one of the strongest and destructive mudflows in Soviet Union. In accordance with statistics, more than 100 people died due to this natural disaster.
At the present time, this lake is again filled with water. Only now it is not as big as before, its size has halved. This lake area will appeal not only to lovers of mountaineering, but also for those who like to organize outdoor picnics. Those who prefer an active recreation can go on an exciting trip to the incredible beauty of the rocks, which have a rather unusual name - "Kremlin Walls". Ordinary vacationers who come just to relax can also find here a suitable place by the lake, where they can enjoy the breathtaking mountain scenery and breathe in the very fresh air.
This area has always been of genuine interest to true history buffs: here they can visit such ancient historical sites as the Issyk Barrow, or another no less significant place where archaeologists found the famous Saka warrior, who later became the national symbol of modern Kazakhstan. Another fun object for tourists is an ostrich farm, which is right next to the lake. Farmers allow visitors to take a memory photo with these amazing birds. There is also the opportunity to try delicacies such as ostrich meat or eggs.
There are many legends about the history of this reservoir. Historians from various countries still continue to find interesting facts about Issyk Lake and share their discoveries with the world. Edited 2020apr26