There is an alternative karst area in Kuraves River Valley. Mountain slopes are covered with dense walnut trees. Almost all the foothills and midlands of southwestern slopes of the Ferghana Range are covered with dense forests. Limestone cliffs are exposed only in the upper part of the mountain range, which are quite difficult to reach. In 2019, we carried out a reconnaissance of the area. We used a good off-road car. As soon as we got to the forest, a heavy downpour overtook us. As a result of heavy rain, the dirt road got soaked and we were forced to pull our car out of the trap.

But, we managed to take some photos of the area before we got out of there. The next day, we rented an old military soviet car from a local villager. This time we could reach again the forest and made sure that we can move our base camp under the rocks. Unfortunately, with our vehicles we were not able to do this.

Locals told us about caves, which seemed very interesting to us. Later, in old soviet publications (1975), we found a description of some researchers who explored 2 caves. That is why; we decided to return there in 2020.

Tales about caves

A local Kyrgyz man said that, a cave entrance is at an altitude of more than 2000 m. Kyrgyz people call the cave Kyndyn-Kyry or Zindan, which in local language means a prison. The path to the entrance is very difficult, unless to use horses.

Inside the cave, in a large hall, even in summer time one can see ice stalagmites and huge thin crystals. On the left side of the cave is a glacier. Local elders heard from their ancestors that in the IX-X centuries, the cave was an ore mine.

In 1971, a learned historian and archaeologist Leonid Ogudin partially explored the cave. According to him, he found there a new biological species of a multiped insect. The insect lived on ice. Biologists confirmed the discovery and called it “Ogudin’s kivsyak.” But whether the discovery was approved by the scientific community, we do not know. If during prospective expeditions, speleo-biologists find again this species in the cave, then the cave is ought to be taken under state protection. The length of the cave in 1971 was 220 m. The depth was 30 m.

Near Kindyn-Kira cave there is another cave called Tash-Unkur. Valentin Ogudin discovered there bones of a cave bear, a skull and part of the spine. Ogudin took the bones from the cave and made the age determination. The hydrocarbon analysis delivered that, the age of the bones was about 7-8 thousand years. This was a particular subspecies of a brown bear; very large (doesn’t occur in Tien-Shan now). It was called Ursus Arctos Ogudinus, that is, “brown bear of Ogudin.” Since then, the cave has been explored neither by cavers nor by other scientists. The size of the Tash-Unkur cave is about 200 m. But as Ogudin wrote, the cave has a continuation.

We believe that further excavation of bones together with paleozoologists is a topic for scientific research and a gut idea to organize an expedition to the karst region.

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