BLACK FRIDAY SALE: BOOK NOW!

Song-Kul: Photographer Sara Taglioretti Captures the Beauty of Kyrgyzstan’s Largest Freshwater Lake

A number of yurt camps around Song-Kul play host to visitors
A number of yurt camps around Song-Kul play host to visitors | © Sara Taglioretti / Culture Trip
Photo of Elise Morton
Former Commissioning Editor (eastern Europe)6 March 2020
View

Journey with photographer Sara Taglioretti to Song-Kul, an alpine lake high in the Tian Shan of Kyrgyzstan.

CTPHJAN20_020
CTPHJAN20_020
Song-Kul is the second-largest lake in Kyrgyzstan © Sara Taglioretti / Culture TripAs summer comes to a close, it starts to get very cold in Kyrgyzstan © Sara Taglioretti / Culture TripVisitors can experience elements of nomad life such as sleeping in a yurt © Sara Taglioretti / Culture Trip

The second-largest lake in Kyrgyzstan, Song-Kul often loses out to the larger Issyk-Kul when it comes to visitors. Its relative solitude, however, was exactly what drew London-based Italian photographer Sara Taglioretti to travel here in September 2019 on her first trip to Central Asia.

CTPHJAN20_020
CTPHJAN20_020
Song-Kul is a destination for travellers looking to discover the “unknown beauty” of Kyrgyzstan © Sara Taglioretti / Culture Trip“There is no horizon; it was a fascinating exercise, but taking pictures in this ‘vastness’ was very difficult,” says the photographer © Sara Taglioretti / Culture Trip The lake is only accessible between June and September © Sara Taglioretti / Culture Trip

“My friend and I decided we needed real time away: no internet, just nature. Song-Kul was, for me, the most beautiful spot we saw,” the photographer explains, reflecting on why she chose Song-Kul as a focus of her visit. “The lake is crystal clear and the air is so clean, and you can truly get a taste of nomad life there. Song Kul is where the shepherds spend the summertime with their animals; during winter the lake is icy and the landscape is covered with snow,” Taglioretti says.

Son Kul Lake, Kyrgyzstan, 2019 | © Sara Taglioretti / Culture Trip
Son Kul Lake, Kyrgyzstan, 2019 | © Sara Taglioretti / Culture Trip

As a photographer, Taglioretti was drawn to the challenge of capturing the “immensity”, as she describes it, of the landscape. Shooting in this environment, however captivating, brought its own challenges: “There is no horizon; it was a fascinating exercise, but taking pictures in this ‘vastness’ was very difficult.” Already planning another visit, the photographer wants to change focus in her next Song-Kul series: “I would have loved the chance to photograph more people. We went when many local people were going back to the cities; summer was almost over and it was starting to get very cold.”

Taglioretti is quick to recommend Song-Kul as a destination for travellers looking to discover the “unknown beauty” of Kyrgyzstan and experience elements of nomad life such as sleeping in a yurt, but cautions that the lake is only accessible between June and September.

CTPHJAN20_020
CTPHJAN20_020
Song-Kul is where the shepherds spend the summer with their animals; during winter the lake is icy and the landscape is covered with snow © Sara Taglioretti / Culture TripSunset at Song-Kul © Sara Taglioretti / Culture TripMany local people go back to the cities in the winter months © Sara Taglioretti / Culture Trip
Song Kul Lake | © Sara Taglioretti / Culture Trip

Tours to Song-Kul are available with Viator.

Cookies Policy

We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK"