Issyk Kul, the largest lake in Kyrgyzstan

Monday, 12 October 2015 - 01:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  5 minutes

Tamchy on Lake Issyk Kul © Vmenkov/cc-by-sa-4.0

Tamchy on Lake Issyk Kul © Vmenkov/cc-by-sa-4.0

Issyk-Kul is an endorheic lake in the northern Tian Shan mountains in eastern Kyrgyzstan. It is the tenth largest lake in the world by volume (though not in surface area), and the second largest saline lake after the Caspian Sea. Although it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, it never freezes; hence its name, which means “hot lake” in the Kyrgyz language. Issyk-Kul Lake is 182 kilometres (113 mi) long, up to 60 kilometres (37 mi) wide, and its area is 6,236 square kilometres (2,408 sq mi). It is second largest mountain lake in the world behind Lake Titicaca in South America. It is at an altitude of 1,607 metres (5,272 ft), and reaches 668 metres (2,192 ft) in depth. About 118 rivers and streams flow into the lake. The first nature reserve in Kyrgyzstan, Issyk-Kul State Reserve was established in 1948 to protect unique nature landscapes and waterfowl at Issyk Kul. In 1975, it was acknowledged as a Ramsar site. Biosphere Reserve Issyk Kul covered by UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves was established in year 2000 within the administrative borders of Issyk-Kul Region.

Issyk-Kul Lake was a stopover on the Silk Road, a land route for travelers from the Far East to Europe. Many historians believe that the lake was the point of origin for the Black Death that plagued Europe and Asia during the early and mid-14th century. The lake’s status as a byway for travelers allowed the plague to spread across these continents via medieval merchants who unknowingly carried infested vermin along with them. A 14th-century Armenian monastery was found on the northeastern shores of the lake by retracing the steps of a medieval map used by Venetian merchants on the Silk Road.

The lifeguard station at a Lake Issyk Kul beach resort at Koshkol © Vmenkov/cc-by-sa-4.0 Issyk Kul © Hardscarf/cc-by-sa-3.0 Issyk Kul Beach © Msoos/cc-by-sa-3.0 Issyk Kul Beach © Kerstin Stolzenhain/cc-by-sa-3.0 Issyk Kul beach © flickr.com - Chen Zhao/cc-by-2.0 Tamchy on Lake Issyk Kul © Vmenkov/cc-by-sa-4.0
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The lifeguard station at a Lake Issyk Kul beach resort at Koshkol © Vmenkov/cc-by-sa-4.0
During the Soviet era, the lake became a popular vacation resort, with numerous sanatoria, boarding houses and vacation homes along its northern shore, many concentrated in and around the town of Cholpon-Ata. These fell on hard times after the break-up of the USSR, but now hotel complexes are being refurbished and simple private bed-and-breakfast pensions are being established for a new generation of health and leisure visitors. The towns and some villages around the lake, listed clockwise from the lake’s western tip, are: Balykchy (the railhead at the western end of the lake), Koshkol’, Tamchy, Cholpon-Ata (the capital of the north shore), Tyup, Karakol (the provincial capital near the eastern end of the lake, formerly named Przhevalsk), and Barskon.

During the Soviet period, the Soviet Navy operated an extensive facility at the lake’s east end, where submarine and torpedo technology was evaluated. In March 2008, Kyrgyz newspapers reported that 866 hectares (2,140 acres) around the Karabulan Peninsula on the lake would be leased for an indefinite period to the Russian Navy, which is planning to establish new naval testing facilities as part of the 2007 bilateral Agreement on Friendship, Cooperation, Mutual Help, and Protection of Secret Materials. The Russian military will pay $4.5 million annually to lease the area. India also plans to invest in the facility to test all types of torpedoes such as heavy weight torpedoes and those that have thermal navigation system. Another advantage that works for the testing center is that the torpedoes fired can also be recovered allowing scientists to make physical verification of a torpedo structure for further study. India is also planning to use the torpedo test facility to test the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle being developed by NSTL. For this India has proposed to engage local companies with know-how in torpedo technology to further co-develop the facility.

Read more on Wikitravel Issyk Kul and Wikipedia Issyk Kul. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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