Winter Expedition " The Silk Snow" 2015, Part 6 Enilchek


"Enilchek, City with no Future"

Next morning we head towards Enilchek (Inilchek) city. This city is also called “city with no future” and later you will understand why it’s called so.

 asiamountains, expedition, the silk snow


We left the unseasonably warm Karakol and head to the East. Turgen Ak-Suu gorge is located 50 km from Karakol city.  Turgen Ak-suu had its own uniqueness, the valley had deep snow and surrounded with high peaks that can reach to five thousands. The beauty of the valley makes you want to stop everything and just enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Chon Ashuu  (3822 m) is next george that we had to pass through.  This pass had a lot of snow and from the ski tracks left by unknown skier you can tell that we were not first who is also hungry for some adventure. Since there was enough snow our guests chose slopes where they can ski from.

Chon Ashuu became last place of skiing, next day’s team moved without skies towards to mysterious city.

asiamountains, expedition, the silk snow

asiamountains, expedition, the silk snow


Mysterious city located in valley where two rivers Inylchek and Sary-Djaz instersect.  Houses with little windows and a lot pictures and signature of the soviet time makes you wonder how people manage to live here in Inylchek village. Rarely among small houses and broken buildings are features of life appear.

Team decided not to camp, and ask for permission to stay in local families. Among destroyed building there also buildings that were in fine condition. About 30 families are live here. One of the things that surprised me is that even they are isolated from “civilization”, they all could speak Russian very well.  After talking with locals we found out that 30 Kyrgyz families live here and since we were looking place to stay they send us to small hotel.

Hotel had cozy rooms that had stove. Stove was heated by dung.  The family that owns this small hotel is doctors of the local hospital.  Their four children were raised here, but after they moved to Bishkek to get education. Hospital where they worked existed only till 2002. Nowadays it has only medical assistant post.

Owner of the hotel kindly agreed to share with us with story of formation and changes of the village.

 asiamountains, expedition, the silk snow

In  Soviet times, when the Soviet Union held a policy of Communism, and the goal was to build a bright future everywhere, they targeted isolated places. In the fifties, sixties geological exploration and construction of the town began.  First factory that had to operate here was factory on the processing of tin and tungsten concentrate.

Grand plans were planned for the future of the Enilchek. The factory had to serve 15 thousand people. And it was planned to construct schools, hospitals, and the modern infrastructure. Homes were equipped with central heating, sewerage system, gas heater. Geologists and the family had to live in comfort, and there was no need.  Procurement was provided from Moscow. Good hotels, sport complexes and other recreational building had to be here according to development plan.

Unfortunately a lot of plans were left on the paper.  Due to different reasons contractions stopped in the late 80s and the factory has stooped operating in 1992. A lot of people lost jobs which caused massive outflow of residents. 

The team wanted to see what is left from city that had to be one of the biggest industrial cities in a country.

Among destroyed buildings was a boarding school. Boarding school offered 10 years education. Children of local shepherds and geologists from all over the valley would come to study here, even children from neighboring village Ak-Sheerak.  Now in destroyed school some items are still there, as desks, boards and patriotic pictures with calling to study are still hanging on the walls.

Next places we explored were theater and bomb shelter.

asiamountains, expedition, the silk snow

We liked bomb shelter. Kyrgyz legends were put in pictures and were drawn on the walls. According to the residents, during the life of the town there were entertainment facilities. Celebrations and feasts were held.

asiamountains, expedition, the silk snow

Talking about education nowadays, since there are only 150 people live here, so school offer educations till 4th grade and now there are only 16 students.

 asiamountains, expedition, the silk snow

After seeing the condition of the city and hearing stories of locals, the question that comes to head is what people do here and why they still remain here?

 asiamountains, expedition, the silk snow

And the answer we got is they that peope actually are satisfied and live happily.  Each resident has not less than 100 sheep, yaks that helps them to survive. Also each of them has property in Karakol city. And they just like this place. Local residents are also actively participating on land issues. They go on strike if Kyrgyzstan permits chines people to explore or if the governments’ sells rest parts of the factory.  May be in the beginning of the existence of the village locals hoped for better future that had soviet union provide, now they are hoping for better future that will be bring the joint of the Kyrgyz Republic to custom unions.

Uniqueness about this place is attitude of locals towards the left constructions that represent history. We respectfully agreed not to film, instead beautiful valleys and mountains were shown by the owner of the hotel we stayed.

This place didn’t stop surprise us. Hot springs, place that we fell in love with. Hot spring is located in outfall of the Sary -Djaz River. Locals built little stone pool; it will help rivers not to mix waters. This is really treasure; I wish they would be able to have hot water in the village.


asiamountains, expedition, the silk snow

We left this place with mix feelings, in one hand people live in need, in other hand there are guards of the history and seems they don"t mind to live life they have.


Photo by: Ice-berg films