Issyk – Kul Lake Bishkeke (“Salt Lake” In Kyrgyz) Is The World Second Largest Salt Lake (After Caspian) And Is 1609 Above Sea Level. The Lake Is About 180 KM Long By 70 KM Wide And 668 Meters Deep At The Deepest Point, (The Average Depth Is About 300 Meters).The Lake Never Freezes (Hence The Name), Even Though Surrounded By Mountains.
The Area Was Basically Unknown To The Western World Until Russian “Explorers” Like Tianshansky Semeyonav Ventured Into The Mountains Nearby. There Was The Greater Contact With The East, However, And The Chinese Traveler Jhan Chan Tjan Reached The Lake In About 128BC As Part Of 6 Year Journey Of Exploration (138 – 126 BC). The First Written Account Of The Lake Comes From Another Chinese Traveler, Suan Zsan, When Describing His 16 Years Of Journey Of Exploration. The First Written Example Of The Use Of The Name, Isi-Kul, Dates From Anonymous Work -“The Boundaries Of The World From The East To West” – Written In Tajik In 982 AD. It Also Accurately States The Size Of The Lake.
From Bishkek Lake Is Approached Through Boom George, And Possible To Cut The Mountains Here Chon Kermin Valley. The Lake Lies At The Bottom Of A “Drainage Hollow”, Or Dipression And Has No Outflow.
Mountains Ring The Lake And There Are Several Valleys Worth Visiting, Gregorievka And Simeonevka On The North, Barskoon On The South And Numerous Others Around Karakol. To The North Are The Kungei (“Sunny”) Ala-Too Mountains And Are Criss-Crossed By Trekking Routes Including Ones That Connect The Lake With Almaty – While To The South Lie The Teskei (“Shady”) Ala- Too Mountains.
These Mountain Ranges Protect The Issy Kul Hollow From Winds Bringing Either Extreme Cold Or Extremely Hot Winds. Moreover, The Lake Valley Is A Unique Combination Of Sea, Steppe, Mountain Climates And Eternal Ice Zone. The Very Appearance Of Issyk Kul Lake Is A “Geological Mystery”.
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