Sleigh rides start in Lake Çıldır
Located between the eastern provinces of Kars and Ardahan, Çıldır Lake is the second largest lake in the region. Its surface gets completely covered with ice during the winter months. Taşbaşı village area in Arpaçay district of Kars has partially frozen as the air temperature decreased to minus 10-12 degrees. Sleigh rides started on the lake as the ice thickness reached 25-30 centimeters in this part of the lake due to freezing temperatures.
Visitors of the lake, where fishermen break the ice on the surface and catch fish like Eskimos, take a ride with horse sleighs or walk around the ice-covered part of the lake, which look like glass since it has not snowed yet.
The sleigh ride operators, who follow social distancing rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic, use disposable mattresses and disinfectants.
Lake Çıldır, which spans an area of 123 square kilometers, located 1,959 meters above sea level, fascinates its visitors with the sleigh ride opportunity, Eskimo style fishing and fairy-tale appearance in winter.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, a sleigh ride operator, Dural Daşdemir, said that Lake Çıldır was a frequent place for local and foreign visitors for winter tourism.
Stating that they organize tours within the scope of COVID-19 measures in the lake, Daşdemir said, “We continue to serve by taking all our precautions due to the pandemic. We provide disinfectant to all our customers and use disposable mattresses on the sleds. A family of four or five people takes the tour with two or three sleds to maintain social distancing, and they don’t pay an extra fee. We take two people on the sleds.”
Daşdemir stated that they opened the season in the partially frozen Çıldır Lake. “In the past days, the ice was not as thick as necessary, but now the ice level has risen. When the ice thickness reached 25-30 centimeters, we opened the season and started to serve visitors.”
“Life goes on here like everywhere. We will continue our business by taking precautions and following the rules. Everywhere is ice-like glass, there is no snow yet. This situation does not happen every year; normally it snows as soon as the lake gets frozen and nobody can see it. This year, everywhere is frozen like glass. Fish and algae are visible in the lake, there are beautiful visuals; we are waiting for visitors,” he said.