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23 July 2014 / leggypeggy

Jeti-Öghüz is worth as many visits as you can manage

Jeti-Öghüz, Kyrgyzstan

Approaching Jeti-Öghüz, coming from the Valley of Flowers

Amazing how you can see a place you’ve never heard of before and then have it stick so permanently in your memory. The breathtaking canyon and red sandstone rocks at Jeti-Öghüz are just such a place.

We first visited this icon in eastern Kyrgyzstan in 2011. I never expected to visit Jeti-Öghüz once in my lifetime, let alone twice. But it was certainly one of the drawcards that lured us back in 2014 for another overland trip across Central Asia.

This grouping of sheer cliffs, a unique geological formation composed of red conglomerates, is also known as the Seven Bulls, for the seven main bluffs. There’s a folklore tale of seven calves growing up big and strong in the valley’s lush pastures. Over the years, the elements have taken their toll and those burly bulls have multiplied. In fact, it’s hard to determine exactly where the seven begin and end.

In 2011, we camped beneath the cliffs, but this year we drove on another five kilometres to camp in the higher pastures (the Valley of Flowers) where sheep, cattle and horses graze throughout summer. That gave us the luxury of being close to the starting point for a hike to the waterfall and dwarfed by the magnificent backdrop of surrounding mountains.

The morning we drove out of the Jeti-Öghüz region, Neil, and Poor John and I headed out on foot a couple of hours earlier than the truck so we had plenty of time to photograph and wander around the Seven Bulls. It was a five-kilometre walk and the view of the bulls was the bonus toward the end.

I may be wrong, but I reckon the bulls are virtually unclimbable. I didn’t see any avid rock climbers clinging to the rocks, and I certainly wouldn’t want to be dangling from a rope anywhere near the rugged cliff faces.

So instead we climbed the gentler rocks that rise on the opposite side of the road that cuts through to the village of Jeti-Öghüz. The views of the cliffs and the surrounding countryside are sensational.

Although we couldn’t figure out exactly where it is, there is supposedly a spa in the village that has been frequented by big names from Central Asia. Russian President Boris Yeltin and Kyrgyzstan President Askar Akaev had their first meeting here in 1991.

A river runs through the valley and some of the braver ones in our group took ‘baths’ in the icy waters. I only managed to wash my face and hands.

I’ve read that this area is so loved that it is the subject of songs, paintings and even music videos. It will always be famous in my mind’s eye. Stay tuned for a post about our stay and drive to get to our mountainside campsite in the Valley of Flowers.

P.S. I’ve had major problems posting to the blog from northern Kazakhstan. I have eight photos to add to this entry, but after four hours of trying to load the pics, I give up for now. I’m posting anyway and you can come back to see all the amazing views. See the next post—assuming I can get it to post—for details of my whereabouts.

Jeti-Öghüz, Kyrgyzstan

Looking back at a section of Jeti-Öghüz


Leave a Comment
  1. lambsearsandhoney / Jul 23 2014 10:15 am

    Not enough photos, Peggy! Want more!!


    • leggypeggy / Aug 5 2014 2:02 am

      Oh my, you are all harsher critics! hahaha
      And I promise more photos soon.


  2. suchled / Jul 23 2014 5:24 pm

    It’s abit like the Bungle Bungles but with pine trees. I agree with lambsearsandhoney – did you break your camera?


    • leggypeggy / Aug 5 2014 2:03 am

      Now I have to go see the Bungle Bungles. And the camera is fine, but the internet hasn’t been. 🙂


  3. weggieboy / Jul 23 2014 9:28 pm

    See what happens when you give us a lot? We want more, more, more! Yes, I agree with the others: This was so interesting, I’d love to see more photos of the place!


    • leggypeggy / Aug 5 2014 2:04 am

      I’ve had a good laugh from all the comments/complaints about the lack of photos. I guess I don’t have to ask if I post too many pics!


  4. lmo58 / Jul 29 2014 7:05 pm

    They look gorgeous Peggy as I’m sure your photos will when you’re able to post them. I’m pleased to see that you’re having such a good time.


  5. David / Feb 10 2015 6:36 am

    I’d agree, more photos! These are qite interesting and thank you for sharing.

    There are many places I too have been and feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to return, it’s a wonderful feeling.


    • leggypeggy / Feb 19 2015 1:59 pm

      Sometimes it is possible to return to a place and find it unchanged.


  6. MichaelStephenWills / May 17 2023 9:34 pm

    If the mucky-mucks gather there it must be special. Great post!!

    Liked by 1 person

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