Aydingkol Lake (Moonlight Lake)

Aydingkol Lake, 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) from Turpan City, is at the bottom of the deepest depression in China's land mass, known as Turpan Pendi. It covers an area of 22 kilometers (about nine square miles) and measures 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) from west to east, eight kilometers (about five miles) from north to south. Lying 155 meters (about 509 feet) below sea level it does not quite compare with the Dead Sea which, of course is the lowest expanse of water on earth at some 283 feet below sea level. However, Aydingkol Lake, together with the Flaming Mountains and Grape Valley are three outstanding natural features in Turpan.

Shaped like the moon, the lake was so named by the Uigur. Aydingkol, means 'Moonlight Lake'. It has a long history going back about 250 million years. Ten thousand years ago it was a freshwater lake and was 1,000 times larger than its current size. Natural forces affected its elevation and once it became land locked so mineral deposits began to accumulate. Today, the lake is comprised of three parts: the outer circle is an alluvial plane. The inner part is salt marsh while at its center the lake is pure white and glittering salt rime. Neither birds nor fish inhabit its hostile environs, but one may come across gnats and hares from time to time. Occasionally, mirages are created by the refraction of the sun light.

The lake is highly mineralized and contains rock salt, Glauber's salt, glauberite, gypsum, etc. The reserves of salt and Glauber's salt exceed 300 million tons, an important source of raw materials to chemical industries. There is now a chemical plant on the lake front. In addition to the natural views, the surrounding karez, beacon tower and residential sites  are of great archaeological importance. The desolate and incult sight of the Aydingkol Lake will make a unique impression on visitors.

Admission Fee: CNY 30
Opening Hours: 8:00-16:00

- Last modified on Aug. 21, 2017 -
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