One more fantastic high-mountain Sonkul lake is located in the huge cavity between Sonkultau and Moldotau ridges on 3016 m height above the sea level. The lake stretches on 29 kms in length and on 18 kms in width, reaching 22 m depth. This is one of the largest high-mountain lakes and largest natural fresh-water reservoir of Kyrgyzstan with 278 km2 area. Sonkul lake has a tectonic origin. It is fed by small rivers flowing down from neighboring mountains. Sonkul river runs out from the lake and then flows into rapid Naryn river.
The transparent sparkling surface of Sonkul lake is visible from long distance. Water attracts to itself with cleanliness and cool (the water temperature gets to 11-12°C in summer, while from November till May the water surface is covered by ice). The lake looks like a precious pearl in precious case of snow mountains. Primeval energy with something ancient and magic is in the air of surrounding landscape. The virgin beauty of lake and outskirts create a unique picture. In different periods of time the water surface suddenly is painted in different colors: violet, dark blue, yellow or orange depending on the weather conditions. Therefore there is a deceptive feeling that the lake has different mood which sometimes is even able to be transferred to you.
Tall fir trees do not grow on the lake coast. But only here you will have an opportunity to take pleasure of observing the vast edelweiss placers which are registered in Red Book and also great variety of other bright, graceful and sometimes very rare flowers. These flower oases are gradually transformed to Alpine meadows when getting higher. Besides the lake coast serves as the abode for 66 kinds of waterfowls which usually spend the period from May to September here. Also many kinds of predators, such as snow leopard, red wolf and fox love on wild coasts of the lake.
This place is covered with numerous legends and stories as any unusual, rough landscape. One legend says that the rate of severe Khan once settled down on the lake area. He collected the most beautiful girls from all Tien-Shan for replenishment of harem. Their sufferings moved to pity the mountains. The area of Khan Palace was lowered and the water flooded the rate of the lord with adjoining territory. And lake was formed this way.
From ancient times in summer the lived-in areas around the lake attracted shepherds from Kochkor, Naryn and At-Bashi. Here you will have an opportunity not only to stay for a while in national abode – yurt, but also to slake a thirst by national Kyrgyz beverage – kumis. It is prepared according to the special technology from mare milk and has many healing properties.