North of the Tian Shan Mountains, 1608 m above sea level, is the Issyk Kul Lake, Kyrgyzstan, a natural reservoir of warm water contained in a region famous for its natural resources.
In the Soviet era, the lake was a popular vacation spot for its landscapes and sanatoriums. In the early 2000s, the Kyrgyz authorities developed a tourism revival policy in the region through the enhancement of the major cultural and natural resources of the site. It is in this context that the national authorities requested preparatory assistance for the inscription of the property on the World Heritage List.
In September 2003, a first mission was sent to bring together all the elements necessary for the completion of the nomination proposal. The mission coordinated the work of the UNESCO Office in Moscow, the Kyrgyz National Commission and the Issyk Kul Biosphere Reserve. This support assisted in identification of natural features of Outstanding Universal Value, to understand the values and uniqueness of the property. However, based on the conclusions of this mission, as well as the results of a joint ICOMOS-IUCN evaluation, the World Heritage Centre, with the support of the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement, recommended the Kyrgyz authorities reformulate the nomination proposal for Issyk Kul as a cultural landscape rather than a natural landscape.
The nomination proposal was submitted in 2004, but was subsequently withdrawn by the State Party of Kyrgyzstan.