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Home » Issyk-Kul region monuments. Hisrory monuments of an antiquity of Kyrgyzstan.

Ornok petroglyphs.

Rock Art Tours Kyrgyzstan.

“That was the day the ancient songs of blood and war spilled from a hole in the sky
And there was a long moment as we listened and fell silent in our grief and then one by one, we stood tall and came together and began to sing of life and love and all that is good and true
And I will never forget that day when the ancient songs died because there was no one in the world to sing them” 

Brian Andreas.

Petroglyphs Walking Tour on Issyk-Kul lake.

The location of Ornok petroglyphs is in the west of Cholpon-Ata, on the outskirts of the village with the same name, occupies an area of about 6 x 8km. According to experts, Ornok is the largest location of petroglyphs in the Northern Near Issyk-Kul Region, with three clusters, the most important being east of the Cholpon-Ata–Kazakhstan highway.
There, a total of 463 rocks with petroglyphs were recorded, indexed, described, photographed, and individual surfaces with drawings copied. As in Cholpon-Ata, other archaeological sites belonging to different historical epochs were identified in addition to the petroglyphs.
In general, Ornok petroglyphs are similar to Cholpon-Ata engravings by their technique, style, and dating (Cultural-Historical... 2003: 70; Nurmametov 2006: 64). However, their repertoire is more diverse, as reflected, for example, by the presence of images of people with a careful depiction of costume details, mounted warriors (battle scenes), very large images of deer, an anthropomorphic figure of “the sun-headed”, solar signs, etc.
Protection and Management. The locations of petroglyphs on the northern coast of Lake IssykKul are specific because they are in the main resort area of Kyrgyzstan. The sites are located in the plains of a narrow coastal strip and many within an area of active economic activity, close to human settlements, or even in their midst.
Over the past fifty years, a significant number of stones with petroglyphs were lost to road and housing construction and one can often find modern graffiti on top of them. The List of Sites of National Importance of Kyrgyzstan includes petroglyph locations at Cholpon-Ata, Tamchi, Chok-Tal, Ornok, Chon-Sary-Oy and Kara-Oy, but no protection zones have been set up.
Kara-Oy, Sary-Oy, Chon-Sary-Oy and Ornok have since 2002 been nominally under the protection of the Museum Association established on the basis of the Issyk-Kul State Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve which includes an Archaeological Open-Air Museum with petroglyphs in Cholpon-Ata City.
The Museum-Reserve is under a dual administrative authority: the Issyk-Kul district Administration, which provides funding and the State Agency for Culture that provides overall management and control over the activities of the institution.
Proposals for Serial Nomination. The following sites are proposed to be included into the serial nomination:
a) a group of petroglyph locations in low-hill terrain concentrated on the northern coast Rock Art in Central Asia 52 of Issyk-Kul – Cholpon-Ata, Karak-Oy, Chon-Sary-Oy, Chok-Tal, Tamchy;
b) a group of locations on the southern coast – Ak-Ulen, Kesken-Bel, Tamga, Dzuuku, and others; c) it is advisable to combine cave paintings in Ak-Chunkur with a group of rock painting sites in Southern Kyrgyzstan.
There is also a need to continue inventory-taking and documentation of the sites located on the southern and eastern coasts of Lake Issyk-Kul.

«Rock Art in Kyrgyzstan». Bakyt Amanbaeva, Aiday Suleymanova, Chynarbek Zholdoshev.

Photos by
Alexander Petrov.