Phenomenon
Mazar-Terek

It is better not to appear here with bad thoughts and intentions. Retribution will be quick and severe. Nobody who has broken the unwritten law of Mazar-Terek can escape punishment. From ancient times Ak-Tailak spirits living here have been guarding this holy place in one of the mountain canyons on the southern coast of Issyk-Kul Lake.

The village of Ak-Terek in the Djety-Oghuz area lies far below. The village itself is unique. It was established by a woman, the wise Sherbet-Ene (Sherbet-Mother). Around us there is a rich collection of archaeological monuments and you can see burial mounds everywhere, reminders of nomadic tribes. In some places you can see ancient pictures on the rocks, preserved from the sixth-third centuries B.C. There are also ruins of ancient towns and these tell us of a settled population that lived here at that time. Inhabitants of those settlements were closely related and understood "Zoroastrian" dogmas: worshipping fire, earth, springs, trees, stones and rocks populated by kind and envious spirits.
People call these spirits Ak-Tailak and Az-Aziz. Everybody tries to go around their patrimony, the local poplar forest. Woe betide you, if you break even a small tree branch in the forest. There are quite good reasons for that.

Centuries-old holy traditions were sacrificed to the October Revolution in 1917. Communists appeared in this forest and declared it evidence of believers’ ignorance. They struggled against superstitions with the rudest measures. People say that one of the"Ulguluu-Djash" Collective Farm’s Chairmen, Abdrakhmanov, headed the group of communists and decided to personally discredit his ancestors’ beliefs in the omnipotence of the other world forces. They barbarously hacked a path through the poplar kingdom of Mazar-Terek. Punishment came immediately. Several days later "the red bashkarma (chairman)" was consumed by an incurable fever. His colleagues suffered in different ways. Somebody’s house completely burned out, someone’s wife gave birth to a baby with Down’s syndrome, others experienced the death of their cattle and since that time not many people have tried to desecrate the holy place.

Pilgrims come here from everywhere. Some people have been called by Mazar in their dreams and others have come hundreds of kilometers in the hope of getting support from the powerful forces here and others rush here with illnesses that even experienced doctors cannot treat.
At Mazar-Terek more than ten crystal clear springs break through the rocky wilderness. The oldest of them, Jety-Bulak (seven springs) was discovered at the beginning of the last century by a local clairvoyant wise woman Kaliypa-Ene (Kaliypa-Mother). Each of the silver springs has its own designation.

People visiting the Gods are disciplined people and they never break any branch; remove their rubbish completely and do not paddle in the spring waters. At the same time, needy villagers have again become regular visitors to the forbidden forest. They come here to remember their ancestors and follow century traditions. Youths sometimes decide to do something bad here. Early in the morning or in the darkness they may cut a tree and think they may avoid misfortune.
Never! Ak-Terek’s inhabitants will tell you dozens of stories witnessing how envy was punished. Poachers invited terrific illnesses, misfortunes and unexplained deaths on themselves and their relatives. It is up to you to believe or not in what happens here. But it is not possible to explain everything by a chain of coincidences.

The forest appeared in the lowland unexpectedly and looks like an optical illusion in a desert with its silver transparency. It is small because poplars occupy an area of one third of a hectare, divided into several parts. Everything around is saturated with smell like fresh raspberries. The discomfort caused by masses of snakes that threaten you on the approach to the goal of your travels disappears somewhere. There are no snakes under the poplars as if its taboo is spreading to them as well. Mazar has a wonderfully light aura.
A photographer from a local newspaper, Mr. Askarbek Mambetov, is taking lots of photos and we later find out that all his pictures came out well. But the negatives of Mazar itself are disrupted shafts of light emanating from the land and beams pulsating from underground. It is a mystery. But maybe this is an anomalous zone. If serious researchers with modern equipment were to come here they would be able to make discoveries that amaze your imagination.
Now only the son of the devout Kaliypa-Ene complains that nobody brings tourists who want to experience these sensations to these places. They could come to the mysterious poplar forest and feel the presence of powerful miraculous forces here, drink water from curative springs and obtain spiritual peace. Maybe Mazar-Terek’s spirits would be more gracious to people and help them believe in tomorrow. Top

VB-2003.07.04
Kyrgyzstan travel