Kars - Kuyucuk Lake Wild Life Reserve (Turkey)
One of the true wonders in Kars is Lake Kuyucuk. The lake is ideally located about 38 kilometers from Kars City and was designated as a wildlife reserve in 2005. The Lake is known for its amazing bird-watching and is a prime place for sightseeing and trekking.
For a look back in history, Kars is filled with many archeological sites. Ani, a medieval city located close to Lake Kuyucuk and the spectacular Arpacay Canyon, was once the capital of the ancient Urartian civilization. This abandoned city is definitely worth seeing as many churches, palaces, bridges and baths still stand today.
Another main attraction in Kars is Seytan Kale (Satan's Castle). This mysterious castle dates back to around 880 BC, but its exact time of construction is unknown. The castle rests on the highest hill in Karacay Valley and offers incredible panoramic views of the region. To reach this formidable castle, there is a rugged 3.5-kilometer trail that winds its way to the top.
What makes Kars special?
The feeling one gets when visiting the Kars region is truly everlasting. For stargazers, Lake Kuyucuk is said to be one of the best spots in all of Turkey due to there being minimal light pollution. In the warmer months, butterflies fly freely through lake-lined flower meadows as visitors relax lakeside.
Another beautiful lake in the region, Cildir Lake, is a lovely place to relax and have a picnic. In the winter, Cildir Lake freezes over and attracts many ice skaters.
Kars is also a food-lovers paradise. The locals are known for their rich dairy products, including world-class cheeses, and their roasted domestic goose, which can only be found in this part of Turkey.
Kars is an area that has a high regard for the environment. Ongoing studies that monitor the ecological impacts on the lakes and other shoreline vegetation are taken seriously. Designated parking, picnicking and walking trails have also been introduced to help preserve the lands.
There has also been a focus on improving the quality of tourism in the area. Visitor and information centres have been built, while new accommodations have been going up to handle the greater number of visitors exploring the region.
What to look for in:
- Spring: Locals picking delicious mushrooms
- Summer: Cattle grazing in meadows next to Lake Kuyucuk
- Fall: Hikers making their way to the top of Seytan Kale
- Winter: Ice skaters gliding on frozen Cildir Lake
Highlights of Kars
- Enjoy a picnic in total solitude
- Eat roasted goose at a local restaurant
- Go stargazing along Lake Kuyucuk