Lake Alakol, Kazakhstan
Alakol is a bitter-salty lake in Kazakhstan, located in the south-east of the country. The area of the lake, including the islands, covers almost 2,700 square kilometers. Alakol has a length of 104 kilometers and a width of 52 kilometers. Several rivers flow into the lake.
Alakol translates as "motley lake". That's because the color of the water depends on the weather. When it is clear, the water is pale blue, when it is cloudy - gray, if it rains – reddish-brown, if a storm - almost black. The color of the lake can change several times a day and depending on the position of the sun.
In the time of Amir Timur, they said about Alakol: "It ichmes" (a dog will not drink), because one liter of Alakol water contains over 8 grams of salt. There is also an increased content of fluorine and bromine in the water.
In the waters of Alakol there are walleye, perch, marinka, bream, variegated sponge and carp. Local amateur fishermen are frequent visitors to the shore. Fishing competitions are held here every year. Also on the shore you can meet gulls, herons, swans, pelicans and cormorants. In the center of Alakol there are three islands – Ulken and Kishken Araltobe and Belkudyk. They form the Alakol State Nature Reserve, which is not only impossible to get into, but also impossible to approach more than two kilometers. The fact is that there are many fish, animals and birds that are listed in the Red Book.
Lake Alakol is gradually becoming one of the favorite vacation spots for Kazakhstanis. More than two million domestic tourists come here every year. On the shore of the lake there are hotels, rest homes and sanatoriums. The water in Alakol has an increased radon content, which is why it is considered balneological. That is why the lake is a local health resort. They say that Genghis Khan's soldiers also received healing here. Soviet and Russian cosmonauts have been recuperating here for many years.
Water skiing, scooters, paragliding and horseback riding are waiting for outdoor enthusiasts. Lovers of lazy holidays will love the beach. Moreover, the beaches of Alakol are unique. They are covered with black smooth shungite pebbles and black sand. Barefoot, of course, you don't walk, but the inner aesthete will be pleased – such beaches look very beautiful.
A few kilometers from Alakol is the lake Zhalanashkol. People come here for therapeutic mud procedures. It is said that this lake heals women's diseases.
Please note that the highway to Alakol is not in the best condition in some places. But local authorities are actively engaged in improving the road surface.
The area of Alakol is famous for the so-called Dzungarian Gate. This is a wide mountain pass that connects the Dzungarian plain and the Balkhash-Alakol basin. The Kazakh-Chinese border runs along the Dzungarian corridor with a length of 50 and a width of 10 kilometers.
Near Lake Alakol, you can find ancient petroglyphs and ruins of a caravanserai, where merchants who walked along the Great Silk Road stopped several thousand years ago.
Also not far from Alakol is the Zhongar-Alatau Nature Park. It occupies over 350 thousand hectares. Unique apple orchards are being preserved and restored here. And there are almost 2,200 species of trees and shrubs growing in the park.