In Cholpon-Ata, there is a very unusual open-air museum, which is sometimes called the Stone Garden, which is located on an area of 42 hectares.
The open-air museum features prehistoric monumental images: cromlech, tombstones, border stone fences, as well as petroglyphs dating back to 2000 BC. – 4th century AD On the stones there are tablets on which the time of its creation and its purpose is written. You can get around the Stone Garden by following several routes indicated by arrows. The shortest route is designed for 20-30 minutes. There is also a longer route leading to the upper part of the museum, where visitors can carefully examine the collection of stone balls, study inscriptions made on stone, cromlechs, and enjoy the enchanting view of Cholponatinsky Bay. Trekking in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan
It is believed that the best time to visit the museum is early morning or late evening, when the outlines of the drawings are clearly visible, and the atmosphere is filled with the sounds of morning or evening prayers. Perhaps earlier there was a temple on the site of the museum, where ancient people prayed to the gods, especially the sun god. The size of the boulders varies from 30 cm. up to three meters. Many of the drawings are made in the Saka-Scythian style: images of hunters, hunting scenes with the participation of tamed snow leopards. One drawing depicts hunting leopards in motion. This is the only image of such a plan in Central Asia.
Most of the boulders are turned to the southeast and southwest, which is why there is reason to associate their origin with religious ceremonies. It is assumed that cromlechs served as an astronomical instrument. The symbol of the Sun is often accompanied by chariots depicted on the rocks along with images of people (hunters) and animals. Among the images of animals, the image of a deer is most often found, and for Altai, Semirechye and Southern Siberia, the image of the Mother Deer is more characteristic. It is noteworthy that one of the largest Kyrgyz tribes was called the Bugu (Red Deer). Although, it is possible that the Kyrgyz moved to this area much later after the appearance of the drawings. With the spread of Islam, the art of cave paintings gradually became obsolete, because cave paintings were banned. Nevertheless, many of the images used in petroglyphs – images of horns, wings, paws – are still found in the patterns of shyrdaks (Kyrgyz felt carpets) and other handicrafts.