Balbals are ancient tombstones, stone statues. "Balbal" istranslated from Turkic as "ancestor" or "father". These statues were wide spread from the territory of Mongolia to the southern Russian steppes.

Besh Tash

Balbals are found in the Central Tien Shan in the valley of Sary-Jaz river and on its large tributaries - Uch-Kel and Kaindy rivers, near Burana towerand in Besh-Tash Gorge.

Balbals in Issyk-Kul region

The locals respect the ancient traditions and antiques. Ancient silver women's jewelry, leather and wood utensils, as well as arrow heads and fragments of ancient nomads' chain mail are handed down here with care from generation togeneration. But the most valuable antiques in Tyup district are numerous balbals.


Local stone sculptures are very expressive. Looking at the stone faces, one can imagine a person who lived on the shores of Issyk-Kul Lake several thousand years ago, whose image the ancient nomads took when making the statue. Local balbals differ from the others: in addition to male figures, there are also female ones.

Balbals around Burana tower

There is a whole garden of balbals dating back to the 6th -10th centuries AD next to the tower. They were collected from the ancient Turkic burial mounds of Chui, Kemin and Issyk-Kul valleys.

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