The last lake on the way of Silk road caravans to China
Son-Kul – the ‘last lake’ was so named because it was the last lake where Silk Road caravans stopped on their way to China.
The country’s second largest lake, 29 kilometres by 18 kilometres, is virtually cut-off in the winter and freezes over because it is a fresh-water lake. Four rivers feed into the lake and the Son-Kul River feeds out and drains into the Naryn River.
Situated in a basin surrounded by mountains the area around the lake has forever been a “jailoo” (summer pasture) for the nomads of the Kyrgyz Republic, and is still so today. For many this is the most beautiful place in the country, and certainly has some of the most stunning sunsets that you will ever see.
When you are up there, seeing the small yurt encampments all around the lake and enjoying a magnificent sunset, let you mind wonder and try and imagine one or two Silk Road Caravans camped out on the edge of the lake.
The Legend of Son-Kul
Back in the mists of time there lived a powerful and evil khan on the plateau where Son Kul now is. He would send his soldiers out to surrounding villages to look for beautiful young girls to kidnap and bring back to his palace.
The khan abused these young girls and when he tired of them would let them run free. Every girl, upon escaping from the khan would run into the nearby mountain valleys weeping and crying. Eventually the spirits of the mountains could no longer bear the pain these girls were suffering.
The spirits created a large sinkhole under the khan’s palace and caused it to sink deep into the ground. Immediately they diverted the flows of the 4 rivers flowing across the plateau towards the sinkhole, and slowly but surely the khan and all his men drowned.
The mountain sprits decided that no trace of the evil khan and his men would ever be found and so the lake has remained there ever since.