Sayram Lake

Sayram Lake, renowned as a pearl of the Silk Road, is the largest alpine lake in Xinjiang. It is located about 90 kilometers (56 miles) southwest of Botala Prefecture, Urumqi. In Mongolian language, sayram means 'a lake on the ridge'. In Kazak, sayram means 'blessing'.

Sayram Lake, Ili
Sayram Lake, Ili
   
A man ride a horse along the lake
A man ride a horse along the lake

The lake is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) long from east to west, 30 kilometers wide from north to south. It covers an area of about 454 sq kilometers (about 175 sq miles), and has an elevation of 2,073 meters (6,800 feet).

Sayram Lake is a fairyland with wonderful natural scenery. It is like a brilliant emerald inlaid in the basin surrounded by Tianshan Mountain. Its water is very pure and clear. Flocks of ducks and swans coast on its surface. Flourishing cypress and cedar trees cover the whole mountain range. Cottages scatter the foothills of the mountains. Horses and sheep call on the mountain slope. What a vivid and splendid picture!

There is a touching love story about Sayram Lake. It is said that it was composed of the tears of a couple of Kazak young lovers. A beautiful girl and a young man were deeply in love. One day, a cruel devil was captivated by the girl's beauty. He captured the girl and confined her to his residence. The girl took a chance to escape, but the devil found out very soon and went after the girl. She was forced to jump into an abyss. Later, her boyfriend heard of this and he was so sad that he jumped into the abyss to be reunited with his lover. Their painful tears flooded into the abyss and formed Sayram Lake.

The tents at the bank of the Sayram Lake
The tents at the bank of the Sayram Lake
    
A toast during the lunch in a local family
A toast during the lunch in a local family
The scenery is quite varied in four seasons. In winter, the cold wind stirs a boundless wave which splashes the bank, and the mist can even hide the snow-capped mountains. In spring, the mountain slope is covered with a green blanket dotted with colored blooming flowers. Summer and autumn are the best seasons to visit Sayram Lake. The water is very peaceful, and its surface is as smooth as a mirror. From late July to early August, the Mongolian people celebrate the 'Nadam Fair'. Kazaks also join in the festival, during which horse-racing, wrestling and folk songs and dance are performed.

Admission Fee: CNY 70

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