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The Lake of Shadows

Tucked up in the far north-eastern corner of Turkey on the borders with Armenia and Georgia, this huge and glorious lake (123 sq km) backed with mountains to the south is curiously unknown to tourists, not least because there’s nowhere decent to stay on the shores and precious little useful public transport either.

The landscape around here will remind British visitors of some of the remoter Scottish lochs. It’s an intensely arable area, with drivers frequently required to pause while huge herds of cows and flocks of sheep cross the road. As in Kars, many people rear geese to be eaten in winter, and you’ll see mainly elderly people herding the birds from place to place.

Lake Çıldır sits at an elevation of almost 2000m and in winter the lake freezes over and people take to the ice in horse-drawn sleighs called at kızaklar; you'll find them in front of Atalay'ın Yeri at weekends. 

It's a great shame that there are no chalet-style hotels (or any hotels, for that matter) so that you could stay beside the lake. 


Atalay’ın Yeri Balık Lokantası

Right beside the lake and five km before Çıldır this small restaurant dishes up sarıbalık from the lake in winter and alabalık (trout) in summer when lake fishing is forbidden to preserve stocks. The walls are festooned with pictures of Turkish film stars who’ve dined here, with skis pictures of the fun to be had on the ice in winter decorating the walls.200 DSC08185

Tel: 0535-211 0348

Transport info

If you catch the early morning bus from Kars to Arpaçay you can grab a taxi to explore the eastern side of the lake and be back in Arpaçay in time to take the afternoon bus back down to Kars.

In winter the road from Ardahan is sometimes better than the one from Kars via Arpaçay.

Around the lake

Akçakale (Adaşehri)


Şeytan Kalesi (The Devil's Castle)

Read more about the lake: http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?load=detay&newsId=249944&link=249944

Read more about the lake in winter: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-273182-turkeys-winter-wonderland-----lake-cildir-and-velikoy.html 

Read more about getting to the lake in winter: http://www.turkeyfromtheinside.com/blogbloggingaboutturkey/entry/50-cildir-or-die.html




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