ASTANA – Alakol Lake is one of the loveliest waterways of east central Kazakhstan, a natural gem which welcomes nearly 4,000 tourists every day. More than 100,000 visitors find recreation on its shores every year.
“Did you know that Alakol is one of the most famous health resorts in Kazakhstan among astronauts since the Soviet times? Every day, 4,000 people come here to relax and the tourist season lasts from June 15-Aug. 20,” said Askarbek Dzhakayev, mayor of the Yrgaitinsk rural district of Almaty region, reported Kazpravda.kz.
Many years ago, the famous Silk Road passed by the water “bowls” known as Alakol. In those days, caravan participants were hoping for refreshing waters to revive them after a tiring journey. What they discovered, however, was the salty waves miraculously restored strength and improved health. Indeed, modern medical research confirms the healing qualities of the lake water.
The lake is very warm in summer, with an average temperature of 26 degrees Celsius. The water contains sodium chloride and chloride-sulphate-sodium, with mineralisation ranging from 1.2 to 11.6 gramme per litre, and has a high content of fluorine and bromine.
A distinctive feature of the lake in the northeastern part of the harbour is the therapeutic water of the underground salt springs. By contrast, the southern portion is fresh water.
The unique wealth of Alakol Lake is mud used to treat various joint diseases, radiculitis and skin ailments and aid in recovering from injuries. The composition is close to sea water and the salt has a wonderful restorative effect. Thalassotherapy, healing by taking sea baths, has been successfully used to treat various diseases of the peripheral nervous system.
Many guests appreciate the natural surroundings and incorporate them into their stay.
“Tourists from Russia are traditional ones; however, they prefer ‘wild’ holidays, choosing places away from recreation areas and breaking camps right on the beach,” said the mayor of Yrgaitinsk district.
In order to develop the tourism potential of those who may not appreciate the “back-to-nature” allure, authorities have undertaken projects to improve the infrastructure. The new recreation area cannot yet boast lush greenery, but the comfortable conditions offered for visitors include in-room showers and toilets, air conditioning, cable TV and Wi-Fi.
In addition, before the end of the year a four-season, five-star hotel oriented mainly toward foreign tourists will be built. Construction of the Usharal-Dostyk track as well as repair of the access roads to the recreational areas will soon be finished. A six-car passenger train travels from Almaty to Alakol and because of the interest, negotiations have begun to increase the frequency of the route. In addition, on instructions of Akim (Governor) of Almaty region Amandyk Batalov, Usharal Airport is being rebuilt and the air route could be open in time for the new tourist season.
The Alakol State Reserve, boasting diverse flora and fauna, has been created to protect the lake area as an important breeding and nesting ground for various wetland birds, notably the very rare relict gull as well as flamingo flocks and 40 other species.