The lake is located in the mountains of Zailiysky Alatau at 1756m. above sea level in the Ile-Alatau National Park.
Issyk lake is well-known and popular lake not only in Kazakhstan, but in CIS countries as well. It can be compared to the most famous mountains lakes of the Alps and Caucasus in its beauty.
It is estimated that the lake was formed some 8-10 thousand years ago by disastrous earthquake resulting into collapse of the right slope of the gorge. After the collapse the gorge was obstructed by landslide dam of about 300m. high. The lake was formed besides the dam at 1756m. having size of 1750 х 1500m. and depth of 50 – 90m. Water temperature in the lake in summer does not exceed 8°С, no fish found in the lake. The water is so clean that in a sunny day you can see the bottom of the lake through 10m. of water.
In the XIX century Nadezhdinskaya village was formed in the debouchment and the lake became known in Russia and Europe. Every researcher visiting the lands committed himself to visit the lake. One of the first researchers was N.N.Semyonov-Tien-Shanskiy, the Geographer. He wrote in his notes about the lake: “we had been pleased to see “the green lake” (Zhasyl kol) at the foothills colored in the cleanest and transparent, dense blue-green color of Baikal beryl. We marveled at the challenging and steep high ridge of snow peaks behind the lake … the peak was named Issyk-bash by the Guide”. Currently the peak is known as Talgar peak (5017m).
Caspian () tiger inhabited Issyk gorge and neighborhoods of the lake till the beginning of XX century. The tiger is mentioned in the notes of N.N.Semyonov-Tien-Shanskiy.
Unfortunately the year 1963 brought ultimate changes to the land in just few hours. Powerful flash mudslide broke out in the glacier zone of Issyk riverhead. The mudslide destroyed the natural dam and the lake was emptied in four hours.
The mudslide caused major destruction of Issyk lake and wiped out summer pioneer camps, health resorts, streets and blocks, sown fields on its way. The mudslide reached Kuldzhinskiy highway. Issyk river changed its direction as a result of the mudslide. A small lake was in place of Issyk for a while then.
The destroyed dam and water discharge facilities were reconstructed at the beginning of the1990s. Currently the lake is restored however its size is twice smaller.
Orthodox Memorial Cross was erected to the memory of the perished people on the high hill. Second World War Veterans parkway was established in 2015 in the western side of the lake devoted to the 70th anniversary of the Second World War Victory. The lake was made accessible for the tourists in the year 2000 and became popular sightseeing site in summer time.
The program includes: drive to Issyk gorge, visit to Ile-Alatau National park, lunch in the open air, walk to the lake, visit of “Issyk” state history and culture museum and Saks mounts, taking pictures.
А. Trip plan by hours:
9.00 transfer from the hotel;
11.00 arrival to the National Park
11.30 walk in the neighborhood of the lake
14.00 lunch in the open air, taking pictures
15.00 drive to Issyk city
16.00 visit to the museum
19.00 back to the hotel