Photo Friday: Lake Issyk Kul

Located high in Central Asia’s Tian Shan Mountains, Issyk Kul is one of the world’s largest alpine lakes. Though Issyk Kul literally means “warm lake” in the Kyrgyz language, the crystalline waters vary in surface temperature from as high as 73 degrees Fahrenheit in July to as low as 36 degrees Fahrenheit in January. Still, warmth is relative, and at 1,607 meters (5,272 ft) above sea level, summer surface temperatures seem practically balmy.

The lake is picturesque, with glaciated Tian Shan peaks flanking its northern and southern shores, and is a popular tourist destination for both Kyrgyz nationals and foreign visitors. Don’t have time to trek to Kyrgyzstan just yet? Photo Friday has you covered!

 

The color contrasts of the foothills, water and glaciated peaks are mesmerizing (Source: Ronan Shenhav/Creative Commons).

 

Horses are integral to the semi-nomadic lifestyles found across the region (Source: Ronan Shenhav/Creative Commons).

 

The Kyrgyz practice a form of Sufi Islam, which has deep historical roots in the region (Source: Ronan Shenhav/Creative Commons).

 

A lonely tree, quiet and austere with the enormous Tian Shan in the background (Source: Ronan Shenhav/Creative Commons).
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