Historical and Cultural Museum in Cholpon-Ata

The Issyk-Kul State Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve

Address: 69, Sovetskaya str.
Telephone: 996 3943 4214 8
Open hours: from 8:00AM to 06:00PM, seven days a week
Admission: by tickets
Price: for KR residents - 10 KGS, for tourists - 40 KGS.
Museum website: http://www.unesco.kz/

The Issyk-Kul State Historical and Cultural Open-Air Museum is located in the center of the city of Cholpon- Ata, about 1 km away from Lake Issyk -Kul and Rukh Ordo Cultural Center named after Ch. Aitmatov . The museum has existed since the Soviet times and since its foundation it has not much changed. The facade of the museum and its exhibition halls which are historic landmarks themselves take us to the 80s., at the time when the museum was set up.

Historical and Cultural Museum in Cholpon-Ata
Historical and Cultural Museum in Cholpon-Ata
Historical and Cultural Museum in Cholpon-Ata

The museum includes the main exhibition and a gift shop. The museum represents valuable historical and archeological artifacts, nomadic household items, items of folk arts and crafts, along with the information about Lake Issyk -Kul.

The museum building is divided into halls by themes. There you can find the exhibition dedicated to the flora and fauna of Issyk -Kul region, items relating to the life of the nomads in the period from X to early XX centuries, artifacts of Buddhist culture, ancient coins, weapons, etc. Also, some booths are devoted to such themes as the main Kyrgyz national epic – “Manas “, the Lake of Issyk -Kul , applied arts and painting, folk musical instruments , people of culture and art of the Eastern Issyk-Kul region, national clothing and the Great Patriotic War of 1942- 1945.

Historical and Cultural Museum in Cholpon-Ata
Historical and Cultural Museum in Cholpon-Ata
Historical and Cultural Museum in Cholpon-Ata

Most of the exhibits in Cholpon-Ata are original artifacts that are particularly valuable for the exhibition visitors. Of great interest are robust and still, very functional stone and bronze tools of trade dating back to the II-I centuries BC, found in the town of Salomat-Bulak . Impressive for its size and manufacturing technique there are huge Saka bronze cauldrons (the III-IV centuries BC), raised from the bottom of Lake Issyk -Kul. A collection of ancient coins is also of great interest, telling the story of the development of commodity-money relations in Kyrgyzstan, from cowrie shells, performing the function of money among the underdeveloped tribes to the coins of more skillful coinage during the reign of the Karakhanid dynasty (the X-XII centuries). There are also Chinese coins as well as Buddhist and Tibetan artifacts, indicating the close historical ties between Kyrgyzstan and neighboring China.

The pride of the Issyk -Kul Museum is a pavilion with great Kyrgyz wool carpets, where you can also see a mini installation of White Kyrgyz Yurt.

Historical and Cultural Museum in Cholpon-Ata
Historical and Cultural Museum in Cholpon-Ata
Historical and Cultural Museum in Cholpon-Ata

Looking inside of this traditional dwelling of Central Asian nomads, you will see its walls from floor to ceiling hung with colorful and warm felt shirdak and ala-kiyiz (carpets), neatly folded in a juk (opposite the entrance to the yurt), squabs-mattresses and pillows, before, the place of the host of the yurt or a guest of honor, and a mandatory attribute of a yurt - a large wrought iron chests with clothes and utensils. In the center of the yurt there is a hearth - tyunduk, to the left - male, and to the right - female parts of the dwelling. Kitchen utensils and food are partitioned with a mat of embroidered patterns - Ashkana chiy. The White Yurt is a symbol of Kirghiz lifestyle, a place where they spent childhood, youth and old age.

The museum-reserve in the open air or museum of petroglyphs, which is a branch of the Cholpon-Ata museum, located in the foothills from Kara-Oy village to Khutor village. In the vast territory of the reserve there remained stone blocks with numerous petroglyphs depicting animals, people, hunting scenes and rituals etc. The other museum branches are scattered in the surrounding villages: Ananevo, Korumdu , Komsomol , Bosteri , Chirpykty , Toru-Aytyr and Semenovka. In total, the branches of the Issyk -Kul museum contains over 15,000 exhibits, including individual collection.