Salt Lake, where the first-time visitors say “Was there such a place in the country?” or describe as “Here is something else” while waiting for a huge lake with boats roaming on it, is the second largest lake in terms of surface area after the Van Lake. The Lake also is one of the saltiest lakes in the world containing over 32% of salt content.
The Salt Lake, one of the must-see places of heavenly beautiful country Turkey, meets 40% of the country’s salt needs.
The Salt Lake is like a entrance gate of the beautiful geography that you will see before arriving Cappadocia, lands of miracles. When the gate opened a cyrstal white heaven welcomes you inside. And it is up to you to leave your shoes on the threshold, sorry on the shore of the lake and accept the invitation with bare feet.
Salt Lake, located in the deepest part of a tectonic trough and surrounded by plateaus, is also known as ‘Koçhisar Lake’. This hollow region, which was formed by tectonic ground movements in the Neogene phase, is surrounded by active faults in the southeast and west directions. Meteorological waters flowing underground dissolve the salt domes at the bottom of the lake and carry the salty waters to the surface through tectonic lines. After this process, which is the description of the salt formation of the lake, the salt at the bottom is collected and processed and comes to our tables as sodium chloride, salt.
The lake, which is 80 km in the north-south direction and 60 km in the east-west direction, covers an area of 7414 square kilometers. While the water level rises in winter, in the summer the water accumulated evaporates and turns the lake into a dry area. Despite being large, The Salt Lake, which is one of the shallowest lakes in the Turkey, expands to 164.000 hectares in the spring months.
Salt Lake is a class A wetland in international assessments, but it is a closed basin that does not flow out, so feeding resources are very few. Because, the region receives insufficient rainfall and the waters of Melendiz, Peçenek, Kırkdelik, Karasu, and İnsuyu streams that carry water to the lake are almost non-existent. When rainfall increases in spring, the average water level decreases to 40 cm in the lake where the deepest part of is 1.5 meters. Drying areas are covered with approximately 30 cm layers of salt. In other words, the lake is a rare blessing not for swimming or sailing, but for walking from shore to shore and taking lots of pictures.
Salt Lake, which is part of a large ecosystem with smaller lakes such as Tersakan, Bolluk, Düden and Akgöl, is an important area for the continuation of its biological diversity where many bird species breed. It is also protected as a First Degree Natural Site Area. Around 85 species of birds, 15 species of mammals, 129 species of insects and around 40 endemic plants live in and around the lake. In the photographs where you will feel the calm atmosphere of the lake, you can also see golden plowers flying in groups, sword-billed hummingbird, wild geese, flamingos, ruddy shelducks and demoiselle cranes. The lake, whose shores are mostly desolate, is also a paradise for birds. They can swim as they wish in the lake, which does not freeze even in the harshest cold of winter, and incubate on the islands in the lake in the spring. In the lake, which is the habitat of flamingos that are endangered in Europe, you can come across brood colonies, each consisting of thousands of nests.
Reminders About The Salt Lake
As we mentioned earlier, walk barefoot on the lake. Minerals under your feet will make your soles soft. There are also points where you can wash your feet at the entrance of the lake. Barefoot is freedom and health…
Don’t forget to wear sunglasses as the white and shiny lake will disturb your eyes.
Be prepared for long walks, as if trekking in a white valley. You can get wet up to the level of your ankles at the point you meet with the water, and you can carry the experience of long walking on the lake to photo frames with a selfie. Rather, prepare yourselves to take pictures on every point of the lake.
Algae are the reason for the off-white and tile-colored mixtures you will encounter on the surface of the lake. The algae you will see on the ice blue color of the lake are actually a seaweed called dunaliella salina, the size of one thousandth of the head of a pin. On the shores of the lake, there is a thick layer of salt, a mixture of algae, which you can liken to a clay layer. Do not confuse this with a layer of dirt.
Watch the sunset from Salt Lake. Wait beforehand to enjoy the magnificent colors and a different atmosphere. It will be worth your wait.
How is Salt Obtained from The Salt Lake?
If you are one of those who wonder how the salt that comes to your table and sweetens your food is collected from this white lake surface and what processes it goes through, let’s not go without saying that there is a lot of human effort, even though the resource is abundant.
Production is carried out by the evaporation technique based on the collection of the salt layer that crystallizes with the evaporation of lake water in hot weather. There are 3 saltworks named Kaşdırım, Yavşan and Kayacık in the lake and these saltworks form the lifeblood of the production.
The Salt Lake Legend
According to legend, everything actually started with a curse. Where there is Salt Lake, there was a fertile vineyard shaded by grapes hanging from branches in very, very old times. The owner of the vineyard was a bad old woman. One day, a great dervish, tired of walking, parched with thirst, passed from the vineyard. He asked the old woman who was sitting at the sweep in the hut in the vineyard for a bunch of grapes. Although the woman said, “I did not harvest any grapes this year, my vineyard has dried up”, the dervish did not believe in this lie. He was so angry that a curse poured out of his mouth saying ‘let it be salt and ice’. The woman and her sweep turned into ice, that fertile garden turned into salt… The stones thrown by those who go to the Hala Sultan Tekke near the lake are still out of anger towards this bad old woman.