CULTURE


Lake Ysyk - one of the world’s largest alpine lakes

Baku, June 3, AZERTAC

Lying at an elevation of 5,270 feet (1,606 meters) in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan is Lake Ysyk, one of the world’s largest alpine lakes. The lake’s Kyrgyz name, Ysyk-köl, means “Hot Lake,” as it never freezes, even though winter temperatures in the area regularly reach −15 °F (−26 °C). Scientists attribute this to the lake’s slight salinity and to geothermal activity in the area.

Ysyk-Köl has long been a site of human activity. Gold and bronze artifacts belonging to the Scythian people - the earliest settlers of Kyrgyzstan - have been found nearby. The lake served as an important stopping point on the Silk Road, and medieval settlements have been discovered in the shallow areas of the lake from times when the water level was lower. The lake’s great depth and the archaeological richness of the area have stimulated researchers’ and treasure hunters’ curiosity; from time to time, expeditions are launched in hopes of finding a “Kyrgyz Atlantis” - ancient ruins that supposedly lie in deeper areas of the lake.

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