Lake Issyk-Kul
(KYRGYZSTAN)


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Katja and the petroglyphs Issyk-Kul means 'warm lake'. Actually, the water is not really warm, but it never freezes up in winter. That is partly because it is a bit salty, and partly because some underground thermal activity.

It is one of the biggest alpine lakes in the world: it has a length of 170 kilometers, a width of 70 kilometers and a maximum depth of 700 meters.

On the North shore, near Cholpon Ata, there is a huge field with glacial boulders. In many of these stones pictures of goats, deer and hunters are scratched. Some of those petroglyphs ask for a bit of imagination, but others are very impressive.

Prezwalsky and his horse

In Karakol, at the East end of the lake, lie a monument and museum for mister Przewalski. We only knew the name because of the horse, and never even guessed the importance of the person who gave his name to this horse. At this museum we found out he was a great explorer, who mapped a large part of central Asia.

WoodenOrthodox Church

Dinner with a Dungan family

We took the opportunity to have dinner with a Dungan family, one of the minorities of Kyrgyzstan. The food was alright, but we had hoped to meet the family itself and that hope didn't come true.

In Karakol there are some other things to be visited, like the Russian Orthodox church and a mosque housed in a former Buddhist temple. Also a statue of Lenin remains.

Lenin (with his own head)

Trees

Near Karakol you can make several trekkings. We walked in a beautiful autumn day through mountains and forests. Some builders were busy building ski lifts and an apres-ski bar, so next winter you can go skiing in Karakol. According to the map with the tracks, there are a lot of skiing opportunities here.

Seven Bulls - or Twelve Apostels ?

More trees - and more colour

Rounding lake Issyk-Kul you come into an area with red rocks. Some of them have names, like Broken heart and Seven bulls, the rocks on the left.

Counting the Seven Bulls is a bit difficult, the Twelve Apostles would have been an appropriate name, too.A yurt in the Flower valley

An easy track leads to the Valley of Flowers. In autumn there were not many flowers left, but there were a lot of birds. Sometimes you are invited into a yurt to have some tea, but at this time of year the people were busy getting their herds together, in order to travel to the lower winter fields.
Horsemen in the hills

Bird of prey

Canary Islands ?
Rocks on the shore of Issyk-Kul

On the south shore of Issyk-Kul are some places where you can walk to the lake. We tested the temperature of the water: the tough guys in the group said it would be nice to swim here (but none of them did so). There are a few beach resorts, but most of them looked very desolate.

Lake Issyk-Kul


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