The Big Almaty Lake or simply called BAO is located in the mountains at the height of more than two and a half kilometers above sea level. The mountains of the Trans-Ili Alatau are spread only fifteen kilometers south of Almaty, in the expanses of which the lake is located. In the second half of the nineties of the last century, the hydroelectric generating station was built there, and now the station supplies the city with water.
Local people call this lake Zhasylkol, which means "blue lake". On average, the lake is comparatively small, but depending on the season and the water level, the dimensions can vary: in winter, it becomes shallow, and by the end of summer the water level rises by almost 25 meters. The lake is located just in an incredibly picturesque place: from all sides the lake is surrounded by mountains and glaciers. The Big Almaty Lake (BAO) also has an incredible play of water color: depending on the day time, the water changes from azure to downright dark blue. For these very reasons, the lake is very popular with local people and city tourists.
Despite the fact that until the end of the last century there was practically no transport to the lake; in the thirties, it was a favorite place for people, where they rode in rowing boats or simply swam and enjoyed fresh water. In most cases they had been going there on foot or by car, but just imagine: the lake is located in the mountains, which, on the other hand, is located fifteen kilometers from the city. And people had been going to this lake on foot. It is fantastic! If there is a desire to fully enjoy the nature beauty of these places, there is a Tien-Shan Astronomical Observatory on the lake’s dam, where you can spend the night and admire the stars. Even higher there is the Cosmo station, from which you can climb the Big Almaty Peak. If you go there, you can see the indescribable view of the lake and the city.
If we take into account the fact that the area of the Big Almaty Lake (BAO) is several degrees colder than in the city, and in the late spring and early summer you can stumble upon very cold wind, you should take a rug or just dress warmly, then you can spend your time rather splendid. Have a good trip and incredible sensations!