The most beautiful and picturesque lake of West Kyrgyzstan is the high-mountain Sarychelek lake - one of the main sights of Chatkal ridge. Sarychelek name literally means and is interpreted sometimes as “yellow vessel”, “yellow barrel” or “yellow bucket”. But that is the truth in autumn only. The lake is stretched from northwest to southeast on 7.5 kms, having filled by water the 507 hectares area and is situated on 1940 m height above the sea level. It was formed as a result of earthquake when the monstrous rocky landslide dam blocked Khodja Ata – one of inflows of Kara-Suu river.
Dozens of sonorous streams are flown down into the lake from surrounding gorges. Abrupt and sometimes completely steep coasts are sharply immersed in impenetrable depth reaching 234 meters in some places. The lake is the third in depth in Central Asia. Northern coasts are covered with large forest massifs of well-shaped fur-trees and fires. These large forest massifs face peacefully the lake being reflected in it as in the mirror. Surrounding motley rocks, panoramas of dark blue mountains are reflected in this mirror that is why the lake has a bright fantastic appearance.
Sarychelek lake is only a small northern part of whole Sarychelek reservation – one of the most remarkable places of Kyrgyzstan.
Sarychelek reservation is located on southern slopes of Chatkal ridge (the northwest part of Jalalabad region) in Arkyt gorge, a small mountain cavity in approximately 550 kms from Bishkek. The mountain chains of Chatkal ridge with several summits reaching more than 4000 m height above the sea level limit a part of reservation territory (23.9 thousand hectares) from the north. Here the landscape is surprisingly beautiful and various. Foothill steppes and ridges with snow-covered summits, rapid rivers and silent small bogs, mountain lakes with motley rocks on abrupt coasts, blossoming valleys, mountain taiga and Alpine meadows – all this make unforgettable impression. Nut and fruit forests are the main treasure of this are. Sarychelek reservation which received the status of biosphere reservation in 1978y. was founded in 1959 y. for protection and study of unique combination of natural landscapes, their flora and fauna.