Jeti Oguz, the seven bulls
Jeti Oguz (Жети-өгүз) is a valley, west of Karakol. The valley is known for its beautiful red rock formations. In 1975 the area was declared as protected nature reserve.
The most known rocks are the Jeti Oguz rocks, which means seven bulls in Kyrgyz. Seven (if you count correctly, there are more, at least nine) brick-red rocks rise majestically from the rolling landscape. A visit is therefore more than worth it.
For photographers among us: in the summer the red of the rocks are most beautiful in the early morning light. In winter however, the light is always breathtaking due to the alternation of the white snow , that is laying on the ground.
Kyrgyzstan is a land with a thousand and one legends and of course has the valley of Jeti Oguz also some beautiful ones. One tells us the story of why the seven bulls actually look like seven bulls.
A very long time ago there were once two khans. The first khan had a very beautiful wife, the second did not. The second khan fell in love with the first khan’s beautiful wife and stole her from her husband. As a result, the first khan unleashed a bloody war that dragged on for years and years, wihout an end. The second khan asked advice from a wise man. He asked “How should I win the war? “Kill your wife,” said the wise man, “so that the first khan may never take her back.” No sooner said than done, he did what the wise man told him. The second khan organized a great feast where seven bulls were sacrificed. No sooner than the blood of the last bull dropped on the ground, the beautiful woman was killed. The beautiful woman’s heart bled so profusely that all the partygoers and khans were swept away in a torrent of her blood. When everything settled down, the seven bulls turned into the rocks we still see today.
Walking a little bit further you will find the broken heart – a rock formation where you can see with a little imagination a long lost love. The story goes that two rivals who loved the same woman both lost their lives in a duel. The rock broke, like the heart of the woman who mourned the two lost souls.
Hiking in Jeti Oguz
In summer, Jeti Oguz is a wonderful valley for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding or even kayaking. Beyond the red rocks, the landscape opens up and you enter in the Valley of Flowers, a valley full of flowers (as the name suggests). The valley is perfect for both day trips and multi-day hikes. You can extend the popular route Karakol – Ala Kul – Altyn Arashan by a day or two to Jeti Oguz . Well worth it. You will also find an old spa town (Jeti Oguz Sanitorium), a reminder of the Soviet period. It is however open to the public. The spa also looks a bit creepy (but don’t let that stop you).
Jeti Oguz can be easily reached by taxi or marshrutka. Do not fotget to ask the taxi driver in your best Russian or Kyrgyz to drop you off in Jeti Oguz Sanitorium!. Jeti Oguz town is still about 12 km from the famous rock formations, which is a long walk.