Moving along the south coast of Issyk-Kul lake from Karakol town, before you reach the small village named Kadji-Sai, you have an opportunity to get into the most beautiful mountain landscapes.
Turning after Tosor village towards Terskey Ala-Too mountains and after passing about 4 km, we will notice how mountains part, and immediately, as if by the wave of a magic stick we will find ourselves in this valley of fairytales. In Russian, the word Skazka means “Fairy Tale” and the place is certainly a magical place, full of mystery and mysticism, sufficuent to stimulate the imagination of those with the inclination to stand, and stare, and wonder. Legends have it that, at one time, the Issyk Kul basin wasn’t filled with a lake, but was home to a number of rich and powerful cities. There is probably some truth in this because under the lake archaeologists have discovered the ruins of several settlements. According to one legend in particular, in one of the cities lived a beautiful girl and a seven headed dragon fell in love with her and pursued her, asking her to marry him. She, however, declined saying that she loved another. The dragon was distraught and cursed the valley, saying that one a month, on the occasion of the full moon, the water in one of the wells would rise and flood the valley, until such time as she changed her mind. He then went into a deep sleep. The citizens decided to cover the well with a golden lid whenever the Full Moon approached, and agreed to take turns to make sure it was in place. At first, everything went well, but when it was her turn, she “forgot” and the waters duly rose and burst from the well, flooding the basic and drowning the cities. The dragon awoke from his sleep and when he stood on the slopes of the hills above the newly formed lake and saw what had happened, went into a state of shock and turned into stone. The place where he stood was Skazka, and, although the legend tells of only one dragon, it is said that in the sandstone rock formations here it is possible to see the petrified bodies of several, all mingled one with another so that it is difficult to tell one from the other, where the heads meet the tails, and so forth, along with gigantic tortoises, herons, and camels. Amongst the weird rock formations there is a ridge which resembles two walls of fortification, something like the Great Wall of China, rising vertically out of the surrounding sandstone. Looking around and applying your imagination, it is also to see formations which resemble other structures with arches and columns.
They are not manmade, however, and neither are they petrified fossils, but creations carved out of the rock by the effect of the weather, ice, wind and water. It’s a dry valley, there is no stream flowing through it down to the lake. The rocks vary in colour from a sandy yellow to red and orange, and there are also colourful striations visible in places which show the different chemical composition of the rocks. With sand underfoot, there is little plant cover, just the occasional tree, and mainly gorse and alpine ferns.