Issyk Kul Lake

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Issyk Kul, or "hot lake", is the second largest mountain lake in the world. Although not hot as such, it has the distinctive feature of being slightly salty and therefore not freezing like all of Kyrgyzstan's other lakes, and this is the reason for its nickname. In summer, the Kyrgyz and neighbouring Kazakhs throng the beaches of Tamchy and Cholpon Ata, eager to take a dip at an altitude of 1 600m with the high snow-capped peaks of Tian Shan serving as a backdrop.