Cholpon Ata, small city of 12,000 residents, is located on the north shore of Issyk Kul Lake, 265 km east of Bishkek. A vacation resort for many Kyrgyz, Cholpon Ata is also a destination for tourists, regardless of its lack of infrastructure. You will nonetheless find several hotels, guest houses and comfortable sanitariums for a peaceful stay at Issyk Kul Lake.
Back in history
The name Cholpon Ata means « Father of the Stars », name given to one of the Kyrgyz protecting spirits.
The village was founded in 1922 and became a city in 1975. It’s during the Soviet Union that Cholpon Ata became a very popular seaside resort.
Cholpon Ata , which signifies « Father of the Stars », is a praised stop for travelers on the modern Silk Road. Today, it is one of the largest resorts of the Issyk Kul region. Although it attracts mostly Kazakhs, Russians and Kyrgyz, the city is also a must-see for many foreign tourists.
Mid-summer, the resort is crowded. This is when it’s best to discover the beauties of the region and enjoy Issyk Kul Lake and its beaches. You can relax under the sun on the warm sand and easily fill in your afternoon with a swim in the lake and a jet-ski session, for example…
Cholpon Ata is also reknown for its touristic and historical sites. Don’t miss out on the ancient petroglyphs while passing by Cholpon Ata. This open-air museum contains thousands of unique stone paintings representing Marco Polos, horses, camels and hunting scenes.
A historical museum was opened in 1979, dedicated to the region’s history from the antiquity to the beginning of our century. Many objects, representing the legacy of the ancient Kyrgyz nomads, are exhibited there. You will also see artwork characteristic of the region, symbolic of the people’s religious beliefs. Written work in this museum refers to the era of Manas.
Another must-see attraction in this city is the Ruh-Ordo cultural center. Built in 2007, this complex and its unusual, contemporary architecture, is both religious and cultural. Apart from visiting the five monuments dedicated to the main religions – Islam, Orthodox, Catholic, Jewish and Buddhist -, you can attend many cultural gatherings in this complex. Ruh-Ordo, which will contrast with the rest of the sites you will see in Kyrgyzstan, definitely deserves to be visited.
If you take a stroll in the city, you will see a statue of Lenin and be able to stop by the famous writer Chyngyz Aytmatov’s museum.
A stop in Cholpon Ata during your trip in Kyrgyzstan will allow to combine swimming, relaxing and surprising historical discoveries, before getting back on the road.
How to get there?
You can reach Cholpon-Alta by plane. The nearest airport is located 15 km east of Tamchy. There are regular transfers from Bishkek and Osh in the summer.
There are also buses (marshurtkas) and public taxis going from Bishkek to Cholpon Ata regularly. It will take between four and five hours to get there.