15 March 2007

Blue hues

Shuttered windows and flourishes of scrolled woodwork are among the architectural reminders of the Russian presence in Karakol, Kyrgyzstan, on the east end of Lake Issyk Kul. The dominant color of the painted woodwork, now faded and flaking away, matches the skies and Issyk Kul, reportedly the second largest mountain lake in the world. Situated a mile high in elevation, the lake is about 115 miles long and 35 miles wide and is surrounded by mountains, most notably the Tien Shan, which separates the Kyrgyz Republic from China. The lake is 2,300 feet at its deepest and, according to local legend, reaches to center of the earth and covers lost cities now submerged by its sky-blue waters.

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