Issyk-Kul Oblast

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Issyk-Kul’ Oblast


part of the Kirghiz SSR. Established on Dec. 11, 1970. Located in the eastern part of the republic. It borders in the southeast on China. Area, 43,200 sq km. Population, 325,000 (1972). It is divided into four raions and has two cities and six urban-type settlements. The center is the city of Przheval’sk.

Natural features Issyk-Kul’ Oblast is situated in the Tien-Shan and includes the Issyk-Kul’ Basin with Lake Issyk-Kul’. On the north the oblast is bounded by the Kungei-Alatau Range (elevations to 4,770 m) and on the south by the Terskei-Alatau Range (elevations to 5,216 m). The southern slopes of the Terskei-Alatau descend gently and give way to syrts, which are flat surfaces of valley floors and of terrace steps, at an altitude of 2, 500–3, 850 m; on the southeast the syrts are skirted by the Kokshaltau Range with Pobeda Peak (7,439 m).

The climate of the Issyk-Kul’ Basin is moderately continental. The summers are warm, with an average July temperature of 16.9°C at Przheval’sk and 17.5°C at Tamga. Winters are mild, with an average January temperature of — 2°C at Tamga and — 5.7°C at Przheval’sk. Precipitation is from 100–200 mm a year in the western part of the oblast to 400–500 mm in the eastern. The eastern part of the basin has a stable snow cover lasting two to three months. On the syrts the average temperature in July is ll’--C, and in January it is from — 15° to — 16°C; precipitation is about 300 mm a year. In the mountains above 4,500 m temperatures are below freezing throughout the year. The Issyk-Kul’ Basin has west (ulan) and east (santash) winds, and on the shores of the lake there are frequent offshore breezes. East of the lake shore the frost-free period lasts 141 days, and west, north, and south of the shore it is 158, 169, and 182 days, respectively. Within the oblast there are large glaciers: the Inyl’chek, the Kaindy, and the Petrov.

The largest rivers in the Issyk-Kul’ Basin are the Tiup and the Dzhergalan, which are used principally for irrigation. The Chu River flows 3 km west of the lake. The southeastern part of the oblast has the Sarydzhaz River (basin of the Tarim) with its tributaries, and the rivers of the Naryn River basin flow through the southwestern section.

In the western part of the Issyk-Kul’ Basin deserts and semideserts prevail, while the eastern part has mixed-grass steppes to an elevation of 2,100 m; from 2,100 m to 3,200 m there are meadow-steppes and forests (mainly of Schrenk spruce); the belt beyond 3, 200–3, 300 m is alpine meadow; and above 3, 500–3, 600 m there are glaciers and neves separated by cliffs.

Among the mammals of the oblast are the lynx, European brown bear, badger, stone marten, leopard, Tartarian roe, mountain goat, and Pamir argali. Most important commercially are the Altai marmot and acclimatized muskrat and red squirrel. There are large numbers of waterfowl on Issyk-Kul’, which serves as a wintering place for swans, the greylag goose, and ducks. The Issyk-Kul’ Preserve is located in the oblast.

Population Among the peoples residing in the oblast are Kirghiz, Russians, Ukrainians, Kazakhs, Tatars, Kalmyks, Uzbeks, Uighurs, and Dungans. The average population density is 7.5 persons per sq km (1972), with the bulk of the population concentrated on the plain adjacent to Lake Issyk-Kul’. The urban population totals 95,000 (29 percent). There are two cities —Przheval’sk and Rybach’e (a city since 1954).

Economy Issyk-Kul’ Oblast is a region of well-developed livestock raising and developing industry, and it has health resorts and sanatoriums serving several republics.

There are 37 industrial enterprises operating in the oblast (1970). They produce 5 percent of the gross industrial output of Kirghizia. Between 1965 and 1971 industrial production increased by 196 percent. The principal industrial enterprises have been built under Soviet power. The leading branch of industry is manufacturing, represented by the Issyk-Kul’ electrical equipment combine (including plants in Przheval’sk and Kadzhi-Sai), a garment factory, breweries, bakeries, a sovkhoz fruit and wine combine (Przheval’sk), a large meat-packing plant, liqueur and vodka enterprises, wood-products enterprises, a shipyard (Rybach’e), and a fish-processing combine (Grigor’evka). There are building-materials enterprises in Ak-Bulak, Przheval’sk, and Rybach’e. Hard coal is mined at Dzhergalan and lignite in the vicinity of Kadzhi-Sai. The Sarydzhaz Basin is the site of a tin deposit. The oblast obtains most of its electric power from the Kirghiz Central Power Administration.

The oblast is one of the republic’s important agricultural regions. In 1971 it had 41 kolkhozes and 15 sovkhozes. Pasturage amounts to 1.4 million hectares (ha) and arable land to 190,000 ha. The main branch of agriculture is livestock raising, chiefly the raising of fine-fleeced sheep; the breeding of beef and dairy cattle and of pedigree horses is well developed. As of Jan. 1, 1972, there were 1, 811,900 sheep and goats, 136,900 cattle, 29,600 pigs, and 46,300 horses.

The Issyk-Kul’ Basin holds first place in the USSR in the production of medicinal poppy. There are 77,800 ha in grain and legumes (including 38,100 ha in winter wheat) and 8,300 ha in potatoes. Fruit growing is very important.

Lake Issyk-Kul’ is used for fishing; among the fish caught are Issyk-Kul’ chebachok, osman, Issyk-Kul’ chebak, carp, and marinka.

A railroad runs from the city of Frunze to Rybach’e, but the major role in haulage within the oblast is played by automotive transport. Highways total 2,800 km (1970); this includes 1,600 km of hard-top roads. The main highway (450 km) girdles the lake. There is regular navigation on Lake Issyk-Kul’.

INTERNAL DIFFERENCES. The eastern part of the oblast (Tiup and Dzhety-Oguz raions), whose center is Przheval’sk, is devoted to crop farming and livestock raising, has a well-developed grain industry and large plantings of medicinal poppy and potatoes, and grows fruit. The western part (Issyk-Kul’ and Tonskii raions) is chiefly a sheep region, and its center is Rybach’e.


Education, cultural affairs, and public health In the 1914—15 academic year there were 32 general education schools with 2,200 students. Higher and specialized secondary educational institutions were nonexistent. In the 1971–72 academic year there were 192 general education schools of all types with 87,900 students, seven technical vocational schools with 2,600 students, three specialized secondary schools with 2,600 students, and a pedagogical institute in Przheval’sk with 3,100 students. In 1970 there were more than 9,000 children in 100 preschool institutions. As of Jan. 1, 1972, the oblast had 207 public libraries (1.4 million books and magazines), two museums—the local lore branch of the State Historical Museum of the Kirghiz SSR and the N.M. Przheval’skii Memorial Museum in Przheval’sk, 160 film-projection units, five Pioneer houses, and a young technicians’ center.

The oblast newspapers are the Russian-language Issyk-KuP-skaia pravda and the Kirghiz-language Ïsï’k-Kölpravdasï, which have been published since 1938 (with an interruption from 1959 through May 14, 1971). The oblast radio broadcasts on two channels in Kirghiz and Russian, and the oblast receives telecasts from Frunze.

As of Jan. 1, 1972, the oblast had 39 hospitals with 3,100 beds (9.4 beds per 1,000 persons), and there were 548 doctors (one doctor per 590 persons).

Situated along the northern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul’ is a health-resort zone (sanatoriums, houses of rest and hotels, Pioneer camps, and tourist centers) and the Cholpon-Ata health resort. Located in the environs of Przheval’sk are Aksu and Dzhety-Oguz, balneological health resorts employing thermal springs and therapeutic muds.


Riazantsev, S. N., and V.F. Pavlenko. Kirgiz-skaia SSR. Moscow, 1960.
Kirgiziia. Moscow, 1970. (The series Sovetskii Soiuz.)
Fizicheskaia geografiia Priissykkul’ia. Frunze, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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