Kayrakkum Reservoir, Tajikistan – photo essay and tourist information
Located 15 km east of the major northern Tajik city of Khujand, the Kayrakkum Reservoir is a must for budding photographers, providing sparkling, icy blue waters with a dramatic mountain backdrop.
A little information…
The Kayrakkum Reservoir is a huge artificial lake created in the 1950s in order to construct a hydroelectric dam and control the runoff of the Syr Darya river. It is vast, stretching for 55 km with a maximum width of 15 km and a total surface area of 523 km2. Its maximum depth is 25m, near the 1.2km dam at its western edge, although on average it is a lot shallower, with an average depth of 8m.
As Tajikistan is a landlocked country, meaning it has no sea, the lake is sometimes referred to as the ‘Tajik Sea’ and has become a popular domestic holiday location. There are numerous sanatoriums, children’s camps and beach areas to be enjoyed and locals like to use the lake for swimming and fishing. This is however, only true in the summer when temperatures reach up to 35oC. In the winter the reservoir has been known to freeze over and when we visited in the spring it was almost deserted.
Map of Kayrakkum Reservoir
How to get there
From near Panjshanbe bazaar on Avenue Ismoili Somoni (Хиёбони Исмоили Сомонӣ) you can take a marshrutka to the reservoir (look for Обанбори Қайроққум on the front) directly. It should cost around 4 TJS and will take between 30-45 minutes. Get off at the Bakhoriston sanatorium and walk through the site to the lake. To return, head back to the road and hail a passing marshrutka back to Khujand (Хуҷанд).
written by: Jon