Jeti-Oguz (The Seven Bulls) gorge is one of the most pictoresque natural attractions of the Issyk-Kul region. There is also a village named Jeti Oguz which is located at the mouth of the valley leading south towards the Tien Shan mountains that are located just south of the Issyk Kul lake. The mountain valley has been formed by the Jeti-Oguz River, which flows towards Issyk Kul.
Just before entering the Jeti-Oguz resort along the road you can spot the “Broken Heart” which is a large cliff that looks like a heart broken in two. The rock cut in half is the source of many tragic love legends. Read more about the legends of both Jeti Oguz and the Broken heart below.
After the Broken Heart rock, next to the sanatorium, you can see a pattern of seven unusual red rocks (similar color with the Skazka valley), reminiscent of seven bulls. If you hike further in the valley you can explore wild flowers and waterfall called “Girl’s braids” or the “Maiden’s tears” located in a nearby Kok-Jayik village. Inside the Jeti Oguz you will also find a cave and at the end of the valley there is the almost 5,2 km high Boris Yeltsin peak that can be seen from far far away if the weather is clear.
The Jeti-Oguz sanatorium itself is famous (from Soviet times) with hot spring treatments and utilizes water enriched with radon and hydrogen sulfide. On the way you might find young guys showing off their big eagles. One can even hold them in hand against a small payment.
Legends about Jeti-Oguz Rocks
Jeti-Oguz Legend 1
In the old days, a rich and greedy khan lived on Issyk-Kul. He drove his herds to jailoo. When all the animals were driven there, he began to count them. Seven red bulls were missing.
Khan strictly ordered his horsemen to find them. Soldiers searched, asked people if they had seen seven bulls. Locals replied to the Khan that seven bulls went down the gorge. Soldiers traveled all over the gorge, searched the forests, but nowhere did they find evidence of seven bulls. Finally, they noticed bull tracks that led to the other side of the river. When the soldiers crossed the river, they saw seven red stone bulls. They say that when the wolves attacked the bulls, they stood in a row, closely pressed against each other, leaned forward, bowing their heads, and got so scared that they turned into seven red rocks.
Jeti-Oguz Legend 2
In the old-times, two warring rulers lived. One of them had a beautiful wife. The second ruler desired her beauty and stole her from his opponent. A bloody war broke out between the rulers. The husband of the beauty demanded the return of his beloved wife. If not returned he would come and destroy the enemy.
The evil khan was not going to give up. One adviser suggested a terrible plan to kill a woman and to give her body to the husband because he had not told whether he wants to get his wife back dead or alive. The evil khan liked this plan. He organized seven-day celebrations by executing one bull each day. When the seventh day came, the last bull was butchered, and the khan killed the chosen woman with his own hands. But evil actions did not go unpunished, and the sword of justice carried over the evil ruler. The blood of the murdered woman sprayed into the rocks and hot streams of water poured into the valley, destroying the khan and his followers.
Jeti-Oguz Legend 3
Way back there was a powerful khan, he had seven sons. As time passed, the khan got older, and the sons grew. Before death, the khan decided to share his wealth among the sons. When he divided his countless herds of animals, seven calves were lost.
People searched for them for a long time but did not find anything. Soon after the khan died. Sons began to live separately. Time passed, and the calves were found. They grew up, became big bulls. Brothers saw them and their eyes lit up. They forgot the father’s orders at once. Each of them wanted to take them all at any cost, even fratricide did not stop them. To stop the terrible fight between siblings, one wise old magician turned huge bulls into seven blood-red rocks.
Broken Heart Rock
Another unusual formation is the famous Broken Heart, iconic sight in the area. Unsurprisingly, it is the source of many tragic love stories. To get here just follow the road to the Jeti-Oguz and remember to look back, stands on the way just back 20 min before the seven bulls rock.
Broken Heart Legend 1
In the old days, there was a very beautiful girl. A lot of guys wanted to marry her, but her heart was impregnable, like a rock. One day, two best friends riders arrived, to seek her favor.
The girl got attracted to both of them. However she couldn’t decide who to pick, yet she had to make a choice. Therefore according to ancient Kyrgyz customs, the guys had to meet in a duel for a girl. The end was miserable, both of them died. Then the girl realized that she would never find her love and the death of two young guys on her conscience until the end. She pulled her heart out of her chest, and it turned into a split rock.
Broken Heart Legend 2
A long time ago there was a Khan, known with his cruel character. He was rich, old and had many wives in his harem. One day, while the khan was hunting near his camp, he saw a gorgeous young girl, as if she were the daughter of the Sun. It was impossible to take off eyes from her graceful walk and her long braided hair.
Khan decided to take her by all costs. Without hesitation, he sent his people to grab the girl and deliver him. The girl was from a poor family. From childhood, she was engaged to a young man. Fate was pleased that they passionately loved each other. As soon as they heard that the warriors of the khan were sent for the girl, the young lovers decided to leave high into the mountains and hide there. The possible separation was unacceptable for them. They set off, but the messengers of the khan found them and seized the lovers, killed the young man, and the girl was tied to the saddle of a horse and headed to the camp of the khan. Passing through the mountain, grief, and a sense of hopelessness that possessed the girl did their job. Her heart could not stand it, and she died. Time passed, and in that place, in the mountain arose.
Jeti Oguz Cave
Moving further South from the Jeti Oguz Resort you will reach the cave at the West side of the gorge. The Jeti Oguz cave is about 20 meters deeps. According to the tourist references, there are some locals who have decided to collect money for a visit and that the price is rather high compared to the experience given by the cave. It is of course up to you if you are willing to pay but according to reports it is not worth the payment.
Waterfall "Maiden's Tears"
The “Maiden’s Tears” waterfall is also known as the “Girls braids” waterfall which actually describes the appearance of the waterfall very well. The waterfall is located in the West part of Jety Oguz gorge. Maiden’s Tears lies at an altitude of about 2500 meters above sea level and it is about 20 m high.
The Maiden’s tears waterfall is quite different from the many other waterfalls in Central Asia as it flows very much along the rocks in a wide area rather than falling straight down.
The best time to get to the waterfall is during the summertime because in autumn and spring rains are often washing the narrow paths making it fairly hard to reach the waterfall.
The road to the waterfall (and to the cave mentioned above) runs along the narrow bottom of the Jeti Oguz gorge, hopping from one side of the Jeti Oguz river to another through wooden bridges.
After about 3 km walk South from the Jeti Oguz resort the road leads West to the alpine valley called Kök-Zhayyk, located at an altitude of 2050 meters above the sea level. The length of the path to West towards the waterfall is about 1,5 km through a pine forest and beautiful forest landscapes.
At the very end of the Jeti Oguz gorge stands the 5168 m Boris Yeltsin peak that used to be called the Oguz Bashi meaning the Head of the Bull.
How to get to Jeti Oguz
There are few options to reach to Jeti-Oguz. Marshrutka and shared or private taxis drive there regularly from Karakol. Distance from the city is about 30 km, hence you should arrive to the town between 30 to 60 minutes. If you prefer marshrutka then you can hop in marshrutka number 371 or 366 in Aldashev / Torgoeva intersection, next to Ak-Tilek bazaar in Karakol.
If you plan going back to Karakol by marshrutka as well, make sure to leave at 17.00 at latest as the service is not available later than that. A shared taxi is a more comfortable than marshrutka but the price is higher, about 100 som one way. A private taxi costs up to 800 per way and if want it to wait it will cost about 100 som / hour. Jeti Oguz can also be reached from West on the way to Karakol and turning South following the road next to the river in the valley of Jeti Oguz.
Destinations & sights near Jeti Oguz
Page updated 27.5.2021