ISSYK-KUL (also YSYK KöL, ISSYK-KOL: Kyrgyz : Ысык-Көл,
Isıq-Köl/Ysyk-Köl, ىسىق-كۅل, ; Russian :
Иссык-Куль) is an endorheic lake in the northern Tian Shan
mountains in eastern
The lake is a Ramsar site of globally significant biodiversity (Ramsar Site RDB Code 2KG001) and forms part of the Issyk-Kul Biosphere Reserve .
* 1 Geography * 2 Tourism * 3 History
* 4 Environment
* 4.1 Specially protected areas
* 5 Creation legend
About 118 rivers and streams flow into the lake ; the largest are the Djyrgalan and Tyup. It is fed by springs, including many hot springs , and snow melt. The lake has no current outlet, but some hydrologists hypothesize that, deep underground, lake water filters into the Chu River . The bottom of the lake contains the mineral monohydrocalcite : one of the few known lacustrine deposits.
The lake's southern shore is dominated by the ruggedly beautiful
Teskey Ala-Too Range of the
The lake water's salinity is approx. 0.6%— compared to 3.5% salinity of typical seawater — and, although the lake level is still currently some 8 metres (26 ft) higher than in medieval times, its level now drops by approximately 5 cm per year due to water diversion.
Administratively, the lake and the adjacent land are within Issyk-Kul Region of Kyrgyzstan.
During the Soviet era, the lake became a popular vacation resort, with numerous sanatoria , boarding houses and vacation homes along its northern shore, many concentrated in and around the town of Cholpon-Ata . These fell on hard times after the break-up of the USSR , but now hotel complexes are being refurbished and simple private bed-and-breakfast rentals are being established for a new generation of health and leisure visitors.
The city of
Nestorian tombstone with inscriptions in Uyghur , found in Issyk-Kul, dated 1312
The lake level is some 8 metres (26 ft) higher than in medieval
times. Divers have found the remains of submerged settlements in
shallow areas around the lake. In December 2007, a report was released
by a team of Kyrgyz historians, led by Vladimir Ploskikh, vice
president of the
Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences , that archaeologists have
discovered the remains of a 2500-year-old advanced civilization at the
bottom of the Lake. The data and artifacts obtained suggest that the
ancient city was a metropolis in its time. The discovery consisted of
formidable walls, some stretching for 500 metres (1,600 ft) and traces
of a large city with an area of several square kilometers. Other
Articles identified as the world's oldest extant coins were also found underwater with gold wire rings used as small change and a large hexahedral goldpiece. Also found was a bronze cauldron with a level of craftsmanship that is today achieved by using an inert gas environment.
SPECIALLY PROTECTED AREAS
The first nature reserve in Kyrgyzstan,
Issyk-Kul State Reserve was
established in 1948 to protect unique nature landscapes and waterfowl
at Issyk Kul. In 1975, it was acknowledged as a
Ramsar site .
The lake contains highly endemic fish biodiversity, and some of the species, including four endemics, are seriously endangered. In recent years catches of all species of fish have declined markedly, due to a combination of over-fishing, heavy predation by two of the introduced species, and the cessation of lake restocking with juvenile fish from hatcheries. At least four commercially targeted endemic fish species are sufficiently threatened to be included in the Red Book of the Kyrgyz Republic: Schmidt\'s dace (_Leuciscus schmidti_), Issyk-Kul dace (_Leuciscus bergi_), marinka (_ Schizothorax issyk-kuli _), and sheer or naked osman (_ Diptychus dybovskii_). Seven other endemic species are almost certainly threatened as by-catch or are indirectly impacted by fishing activity and changes to the structure and balance of the lake's fish population.
Sevan trout , a fish endemic to
In pre-Islamic legend, the king of the Ossounes had donkey's ears. He would hide them, and order each of his barbers killed to hide his secret. One barber yelled the secret into a well, but he did not cover the well afterwards. The well water rose and flooded the kingdom. The kingdom is today under the waters of Issyk-Kul. This is how the lake was formed, according to the legend. Other legends say that four drowned cities lie at the bottom of the lake. Substantial archaeological finds indicating the presence of an advanced civilization in ancient times have been made in shallow waters of the lake.
RUSSIAN NAVY TEST SITE
During the Soviet period, the
Soviet Navy operated an extensive
facility at the lake's east end, where submarine and torpedo
technology was evaluated. In March 2008, Kyrgyz newspapers reported
that 866 hectares (2,140 acres) around the Karabulan Peninsula on the
lake would be leased for an indefinite period to the
Towns and some villages around the lake, listed clockwise from the lake's western tip:
Balykchy (the railhead at the western end of the lake)
Cholpon-Ata (the capital of the north shore )
* Geography portal
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ Savvaitova, K.; Petr, T.
(December 1992), "