Son-Kul. The fairy tale of highlands.
Son-Kul or rather Son-Kel — is a fabulous high mountain lake, situated at ease in a natural basin, outspread between two spurs of the Tien-Shan — Son-Kul-Too and Moldo-Too. Located at an altitude of 3016 meters above sea level in north-western part of the Naryn region of Kyrgyzstan, it is an excellent eco-tourism facility.
Son-Kul — is the second largest and the first in fresh water natural lake in the country. This lake spread over 28 kilometers in length and 18 kilometers in wide, its water surface area is 278 square kilometers, and the greatest depth reaches 22 meters.
Lake fed by many streams and mountain Sai (creeks), rushing here from the surrounding mountains, and flows out of them only one river — Son-Kul, which later merges with rough waters of Naryn.
The lake has a tectonic origin and was formed, most likely as a result of the earthquake, but the beauty of these places can not believe in such prose of life. Therefore, local people have their own interpretation of the origin of their favorite lake.
According to this legend, in this place, once upon a time there was the castle of the cruel Khan. The governor was not yet old and loved to fill his harem. Especially for this purpose he sent messengers to all parts of the Tien Shan, and the rare beauty was able to go unnoticed.
Being locked away from the world and suffering from the despotism of the ruler, the girls began to complain and offer prayers to release them from their evil fate.
The mountains heard their cries and then disaster happened. Literally overnight the castle of the hated Khan fell to the bottom of the ravine and water gushed from the peaks. Water was so much, it was so cold and it was all coming again and again until it flooded the low ground and the surrounding area. They say that this was a huge glacier, which was situated almost in the heavens, mourned the death of beautiful women. Storm raged for several days, and when everything calmed down, before the eyes of astonished people presented itself a beautiful lake with crystal-clear and very cold water, which since is called as Son-Kul.
Indeed, the water in the lake is very cold. The average annual temperature of it is around — 3.5 C. In summer in the shallow water of course can be warmed up to 11C +, but in winter, the temperature rarely rises above-20C. Thus, from September to July, the lake is tightly constrained with a sturdy shell of ice.
The spectacle is magnificent, but only few tourists can admire this brilliant panorama. Coastal neighborhood inundated with snow, the minimum height of which is 1.5 meters, and mountain passes, through which you can get here, are closed because of avalanche danger.
However, in the summer this is another story.
In the warm season a truly pleases the soul picture can be presented to the gaze of curious tourists. There are not here tall trees or furry bush thickets, but the variety of herbs and flowers can touch the imagination of even the most experienced artist.
Emerald meadows of «jailoo» of the Karatal-Zhapyrykskiy State Reserve, which includes the entire eastern part of the lake, are completely covered with a carpet of the brightest colors, among which can be seen legendary Edelweiss — Alpine «snowdrops», rhododendrons, tulips that all brought to the Red Book.
The air above the lake is filled with bird polyphony, because its hospitable shores became the shelter for nearly 66 species of birds that stay here from May to September. Of particular interest to specialists are 14 species of ducks nesting here, and nearly extinct species, such as: demoiselle, black stork, mountain goose and black-headed gull.
At the same time fearsome predators are not rare to find in the coastal zone, such as snow leopard, fox and red wolf.
It is strangely enough, but this cold alpine lake today is very rich in fish.
«Today,» because it was not that way always. Previously, there was not any fish in the Son-Kul, while in 1959 year, it was specifically delivered here. Currently a lot of species live here: cisco, whitefish, peled, common Marina, scaly osman, osman of Severtsov, naked osman, gray and Tibetan trout. They say that fishing at this place is one of the best in the whole country. Thus, it is not surprisingly that industry fishing is allowed in the lake.
Come here to stay.
In the summer alpine jailoo attract many shepherds from Naryn, Kochkar and At-Bashi, so you will have a unique opportunity to spend several days in the national Kyrgyz yurt and plunge into the life of real nomads. Only here you will be asked to taste cooked according to all the rules kumis- a great refreshing drink from the milk of mares. This beverage, by the claims of physicians, has a very positive effect on our body.
Come here and you will not regret it. Original beauty of the lake and its surroundings creates a unique flavor and excites the imagination.
Scattering of yurts on emerald green meadows, snowy mountains and so close blue skies that seem to descend from impressionists’ paintings, the lake’s surface of unyielding determination of the color, which is of all the facets of this sapphire, placed in a glass with a tart absinthe and beckons weary travelers with a long-awaited peace.