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Unique lake Baskunchak

Lake Baskunchak called the all-Russian salt-cellar. This unique waterfront area of 110 square kilometres is a unique depression on the top of a giant salt mountain, leaving deep under the ground and covered by a layer of sedimentary rocks. The depth of the salt reaches 6 kilometers and the capacity of the surface layer is 10 to 18 metres. The surface of the lake 21 feet below sea level.

Actually Baskunchak lake can be called with some exaggeration. For the most part, its surface can be walked, and in some places even to drive a car. To die is simply impossible — water saturated with salt by 90%, body is pushed to the surface.

However, the depth does not exceed 1 meter, and dry summer it almost dries completely.

These machines after each trip wash immediately. According to our driver, the car driving on a salt lake, not repaired, and changed all the nodes, because the salt corrodes everything and not possible to loosen a single nut. The weather on the day of the trip was not predictable: from burning sun to torrential rain.

Salt production in the lake was conducted since the VIII century, and carried her along the Great silk road. In Russian sources, the lake Baskunchak is first mentioned in 1627. In “the Big Book of drawing”, the first geographical description of Russia, it is called a place where “break the salt, pure as ice.”

In 1881, the lake stretched out a railway line.

Rails and sleepers laid directly on the salt.

As with the truck, the rails are not repaired, and changed their entire spans.

In 1924, production was mechanized through salasaca, producing 20 tons of salt per hour. Repeatedly upgraded soleas was more effective than the other technologies of salt production and has survived in the form of coleambally, now mining 300 tons per hour.

In the lake there are no fish, no algae, and birds and insects die from a few SIPS of salt water. In brine live only bacteria that can tolerate salt. Baskunchak lake salt is extremely pure (99.8% NaCl) and is considered one of the best in the world. That’s what happens with a wooden pole for several years.

Russians started to produce salt on the Baskunchak lake by Peter I. the Development of this field crippled financial Empire of the Stroganovs and the city that lived through the salt production. Self-deposited baskunchaksky salt was 16 times cheaper than boreholes, which were obtained using the complex mechanisms of evaporation and residua. From the XVIII century Solikamsk and other salt production centers are experiencing a hopeless disrepair due to the salt extraction on lake Baskunchak. These were wooden piles. The site was used for salt production in the 19th century.

There are different versions of the origin of the lake. A number of researchers transferred Baskunchak with the Nogai language as a “dog’s head”, deriving it from the word “bash” (head) and “Concha” (dog). Others believe that the name Baskunchak is derived from the Turkic word “bass” (here meaning “home”) and “Konak” (Parking). According to them, the lake was the most important place of extraction of salt. Yet there is an assumption that the modern form of the name of the lake is distorted Mongol-Turkic Ozkonak, which means “Sunny lake” (from the Mongolian “condition”, “water”, “lake”, and the Turkic “kun”, “Kon” — the sun). Locals have a legend that in the salt cave on mount Bogdo was the headquarters of Stenka Razin, there was a secret underground passage under the lake Baskunchak. There dashing chieftain allegedly hid their treasures. In Buddhism there is a theory that the Baskunchak lake was formed from the remnants of the soup of the Dalai Lama.

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