Son Kul Lake, Kyrgyzstan

Son Kul is a mountain lake in the Central Tian Shan range, virtually in the centre of Kyrgyzstan. One translation of the name is «The Last Lake».

At an altitude of 3016m a. s. l.; 29km long and 18km wide and a maximum depth of 13.2m — it is Kyrgyzstan's second largest lake. The average temperature in summer is about 11°C — but unlike Issyk Kul (Kyrgyzstan's largest lake) it does freeze over in the winter. It is situated on a treeless, high mountain plateau, and is surrounded by lush mountain meadows (jailoo). As such it is used by the shepherds of the Kochkor, Naryn and At Bashi regions for summer pastures for their flocks. In fact there is evidence that it has been used for pasture from very ancient times. (There are some strange arrangements of «standing stones» and stone circles — nothing on the scale of Stonehenge — but they provide an interesting stimulation to speculation about how they got there and what was their purpose).
The shepherds drive the livestock (sheep and/or horses) up into the mountains, establish a camp where they will live for the summer months.
I have visited Son Kul twice and will come back this year (2012). For me it is one of the most beautiful places on earth.