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How many bulls can you see?

One of the great things about travelling to other countries is finding out about the local legends and Kyrgyzstan has it’s fair share with tales of local heroes like Kojumkul, or stories that seek to explain strange landscapes or rock formations.

One such Kyrgyz legend revolves around a beautiful valley called “Jety-Oguz” which is located in the Issyk-Kul region of Kygyzstan. The valley is part of the Terskei Ala-Too mountain range not far from the southern shore of Issyk-Kul lake – like alot of Kyrgyzstan it is an area of outstanding natural beauty.

So, how many bulls can you see?

The answer to the unusual question posed by the graffiti above is 7.

Jety-Oguz means “seven bulls” and refers to the unusual red rock formation which is said to resemble 7 bulls which in turn forms part of a legend about a khan and a stolen girl. From what I understand the legend goes a little something like this…

A powerful khan steals a beautiful girl from another tribe and they go to war. His clever advisors tell him that if he kills the woman and gives back the body the enemy will get what he wants – the woman back – and the khan can be happy because his enemy will not posses her.

The khan arranges a feast for the two tribes and seven bulls are prepared for the feast. When the seventh bull is killed the khan plunges the knife into the heart of the woman. The woman’s blood is then said to have covered the mountains and the waters of the river rose to sink the valley and the khan, and the bodies of the seven bulls were washed to where the rocks are today.

This is why this beautiful valley is called “Jety-Oguz”.

Well, that is how it was told to me, but as with alot of these legends, I’ve since read another version which tells of a khan’s seven sons fighting over seven bulls and their predicted deaths. To prevent their deaths a wizard turns them into seven blood soaked rocks.

There is also another rock formation at Jety-Oguz which is said to resemble the broken heart of a young Kyrgyz girl. The girl came from a poor village, but was so beautiful that the khan wanted to marry her, but she loved a man in the village, so the khan killed him. The rock formed where she died of a broken heart.

Whichever story you choose to believe I’m sure you’ll agree this is beautiful part of the world…

Here are some more pictures of the seven bulls at Jety-oguz, Kyrgyzstan:

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