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Discover Elton Lake
April 22, 2015 21:08


Elton is a huge salt lake on the Russian Caspian lowland. Its area is 152 square kilometers, and its depth - about 0.1 meters (0.7-0.8 meters in spring). The lake is located 18 meters below the sea level.

Elton is considered the largest salt lake in Europe. There are salt sources at the bottom of the lake, as well as deposits of salts and mineral hydrogen sulfide mud.

The lake itself is filled with brine - supersaturated salt solution with a high content of potassium and other macro- and micronutrients. It looks like an oily liquid of golden-pink color, and its taste is bitter-salty.

White salt crystals lie along the shores of the lake.

Several freshwater rivers and 8 springs with bitter-salty water fall into the lake. Tatars, Kalmyks and Kazakhs call the Elton Lake “Altan Nor” (“Altyn-Nur”), which is translated as “Golden Bottom” or “Golden Lake”. This name is associated with the color of its water. Generally, it is said that the Elton Lake contains a lot of salt and just a little bit of water.

However, there is a version that it is named after the English explorer Elton who was invited here to explore the lake in 1741 by the Astrakhan Governor Tatishchev.

Salt was produced on the Elton Lake since the middle of XVII century and up to the end of XIX century. First this was the territory of Kalmyks, Russians came here in XVIII century, after the introduction of the state monopoly on the production and sale of salt by Peter I in 1705. The works continued until 1882, then the salt from Elton was replaced by that from Baskunchak, which turned out to be both better and cheaper. Silt mineral mud and brine of the Elton Lake are not inferior to the mud from the Dead Sea in Israel in their curative properties. Even the ancient Kalmyk nomads were aware of the miraculous properties of the Elton mud.

Then they treated their patients in the following way: they dug hollows in the coastal strata of soil, placed the patient there and smeared him/her with mud. An hour later the patient was washed in the lake brine.

Today there is a balneo-mud resort at the Elton Lake, where they treat diseases of joints, musculoskeletal system, skin, digestive, nervous and urinary systems, respiratory organs and many others. The health resort has been working since 1910.



Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Russian lakes Elton    

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