2018 Tian Shan
August-September 2018 travel to Kazakhstan reviewed in 2021
Commentary from 2021
This is a mashup of three posts which were all dedicated to my tour to Bolshoe Almatinskoe Ozero (Big Almaty Lake).
Original blog posts links:
Original post from 30.08 and 31.08.2018 are copied below.
Big Almaty Lake (Үлкен Алматы көлі, Большое Алматинское Озеро) is located 15 kilometres off Almaty city in northern Tian-Shan mountains on 2500 metres altitude above sea level.
Origin of the lake seems to be of some dispute. Most sources say it is tectonic, which would make sense. I heard opinions that it is simply post-glacial. 1.6 kilometres in length and 0.75 to 1 kilometres in width. Maximum depth 40 metres.
The lake is one of the places most visited by tourists from Kazakhstan and abroad alike. Southern part is leading to Kyrgyzstan, but in the current day the path is closed due to disagreements between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. This is a shame, as Kyrgyzstan also has a fantastic lake on the other side, Issyk-Kul. Unfortunately, Issyk can only be reached by going to Bishkek first, so from Almaty it takes 10 hours in one way. Border control can be seen in this zone from both countries, so one has to have passports here.
Very close to the lake there is an astronomic observatory with (if I understood our Russian-speaking guide correctly) two optical telescopes used to observe stars and planets, and one dish used to monitor solar wind. Unfortunately, it was closed behind barbed wire, so we could not get inside. But if you have good connections, rumour has it you can buy a night inside the observatory, to watch the stars!
More photos soon.