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'The beauty of Siberia took me by surprise'
Ian Frazier, 2013

The lake that always turns pink in August

By The Siberian Times
19 August 2016

Attraction in Altai region never fails to put on its annual show for tourists.

The summer's specially hot weather in Siberia has caused its transformation ahead of schedule. Picture: Mir Kamnya

This year Lake Burlinskoye has undergone its colour change two or three weeks earlier than usual, apparently due to climate change. The summer's specially hot weather in Siberia has caused its transformation ahead of schedule. 

Before and after its yearly pink phase, the lake reverts to blue on sunny days and a murky grey during overcast weather. The reason for the pink showtime? 

This is a famous salt lake and microorganisms in the water called Artemia salina are the cause of the phenomenon.

Burlinskoye lake


Burlinskoye lake


Burlinskoye lake


Burlinskoye lake

The lake offers the largest deposit of salt in Western Siberia, and was it beloved by the Russian royal family. Pictures: My Travelbook, Anna Dukhnitskaya, Vera Baymukhametova

This is a species of pink three-eyed brine shrimp with 11 legs, aquatic crustaceans that swim upside down and have been around with few changes for as long as 100 million years, apparently.

The lake offers the largest deposit of salt in Western Siberia, and was it beloved by the Russian royal family. In 1768 Urals miner Prokofy Davydov established the settlement Bursol, specially to extract salt.

Catherine the Great refused to have any other salt at her banquets. 'From now on, I order to bring to the tsar's table only Burlinskaya salt,' she commanded.

Burlinskoye lake


Burlinskoye lake


Burlinskoye lake


Burlinskoye lake

The salt harvesting season stretches from May to November. Pictures: Mir Kamnya, Alex Vardugin, Drive2

The lake is endorheic, it has no river flowing in or out of its shallow waters. In Soviet times, a railway was built into almost the middle of the lake, and trains were equipped with 'salt harvesters' to grab the salt. 

The salt harvesting season stretches from May to November. After a gap in the 2000s, salt is again being extracted commercially from the lake. 

A video shows how the train is used in the waters to mine the salt.


Comments (8)

Thanks for the answer ,ED,I'll stick to my initial plan,Gorno Altaisk ,Lake Teletskoe and south to Kosh Agach.
PJ, France
24/08/2016 16:21
1
0
Altai named - the land of thousands of lakes. Near each lake there are no hotels.
The nearest small town Yarovoye about 20 km from the Lake Burlinskoye. There are some simple minihotels with a minimum service.
https://www.tripadvisor.fr/Tourism-g1820313-Yarovoye_Altai_Krai_Siberian_District-Vacations.html
Or stop in a large city and rent a car.
ED, Russia
24/08/2016 02:57
4
0
Hi
Planning to spend a few days in Altaï in September.Any hotel/lodge recommandation around this lake?
Spassiba
PJ
Pierre-jean, Montpellier,France
23/08/2016 22:09
3
0
Another amazing place in Altai.
Francesco, Rome
22/08/2016 12:22
5
0
Now, if we just had some flamingos.
Doc, U.S.
21/08/2016 10:19
7
0
And there I was thinking these things only happened in Rio when the swimming pool turned green. Yours is a better colour.
Jaker, Dundalk
20/08/2016 11:27
5
2
Siberia is such a wonderful surprise. Thank you for sharing this wonderful region with the world.
JANICE F., NJ, USA
20/08/2016 02:34
8
0
Interesting article & great pictures, thanks to the editorial staff!
Dominik, Munich
19/08/2016 19:21
14
0
1

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