Juuku Valley also written as Zhukuu and Dzhuuku, is the longest gorge on the Terskey Ala-Too Range, popular for its various nature, beautiful landscapes as well as wide area. The gorge is located on the southern shore of Issykul lake about 70 km along the road Balykchy – Karakol and 17 km to the south towards the ridge Teskey Ala-Too. Today, the gorge mainly attracts tourists with its natural beauty, however in the past, it was part of the routes of numerous merchants and travellers.
Despite the challenging terrain of the gorge, Dzhuku has long been the only way to get to China from the Issyk-Kul valley. In various periods there were found shelters from the ancient Turks, Nestorian Christians, and, nomadic Kyrgyz people. The gorge provides a pass intermountain route to the western part of the Tien Shan. The oldest traces left by hunters from antiquity to the present day are wild animals inscribed on blackened stones and symbols called petroglyphs.
The path of this red rocks gorge leads to the city of Ak-Suu in China. Here, the caravans of the Silk Road ran along the river, descending from the harsh Bedel Pass and moving through the high-altitude deserts – syrts, where the famous Kumtor gold mine is now located. In the 7th century, in the valley of the Juuka River was a settlement of Christian Nestorians, immigrants from distant Syria. The Buddhists also left their sign here, having carved their eternal mantra on a huge stone. Dzhuku Valley was visited by the famous monk Xuanzang, one of the main heroes of the Chinese legend about Sun-Ukun as well as there was the famous Russian traveler Petr Semenov-Tyan-Shansky.
Dzhuuku hot spring known as “Dzhuuku Zhyluu Suu” from Kyrgyz translated as Dzhuuku warm water. These indoor hot springs are inside the concrete building in the form of a yurt. There are two separate rooms with a hot spring pool. The capacity of each is about 10 to 15 people, and each visitor can bathe for about 30 min, due to the water composition and temperature which is around 45 degrees.
The cave Kyzyl-Unkur in Juuku gorge is believed to be the remains of the fortifications of the Issyk-Kul manap (a representative of the privileged feudal class) Borombay. He lived in the 19th century. The cave received popularity as “Sim-Sim open”, for its similarity to the rock in the famous Soviet movie “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves”.