This time we go to China, specifically to the province of Gansu. It is here, in the middle of the Gobi desert, where the well-known Lake Yueyaquan or Lake Crescent is located. Its incredible surroundings, together with its curious shape, have made it one of the most spectacular lakes in the world. Let’s find out more about him.
A popular tourist destination reached by camel
This lake is located about 6 kilometers from the city of Dunhuang, in northwest China. The Yueyaquan (or Lake of the Crescent Moon, in Chinese) is an oasis that is shaped like a half moon. The name was given to it during the Qing dynasty.
The measurements of this lake are not negligible: it is 218 meters long and 54 wide and stores pure spring water. Next to the lake, there is a traditional pagoda and a street lined with souvenir stalls.
And it is that the Yueyaquan has become a popular tourist destination. Tourists often hire guided camel tours to admire the oasis and stroll through the dunes that surround it. It is not surprising, since it is a unique experience.
Its popularity has only increased over the centuries
It is clear that the landscape that one finds when visiting the Yueyaquan is unforgettable. The lake, pagoda and vegetation surrounding the oasis make for a beautiful scene. Many will say that it looks like something out of a story, because it is incredible to find such a bud of life in the middle of the huge desert.
That is why, over the centuries, the lake has impressed countless tourists, pilgrims and merchants. All of them have stopped, without fail, to regain strength in this beautiful place that has always been part of the mythical Silk Road.
Today the oasis and its surroundings survive thanks to tourism. Every year, Yueyaquan receives half a million visitors. Many come exclusively to admire the whole of the pagoda and the lake. Others take the opportunity to visit the caves of Mogao, known as the caves of the Thousand Buddhas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The lake that has survived for thousands of years in the middle of a desert
The simple fact that Lake Yueyaquan has not disappeared seems incredible. Experts believe that it is due to the combination of the low altitude and the position in which it is located, which prevents the sand from the dunes from falling into it.
But the truth is that this ancient oasis has run the risk of disappearing and being swallowed up by the sand. But, fortunately, the government has taken over the situation and saved him. Although it has remained intact for more than 2000 years, increased desertification has caused it to gradually dry out.
In fact, in 1960 Yueyaquan Lake had an average depth of about 5 meters. In the following 30 years, this figure was progressively reduced. In the early 90s, the average depth was no more than a meter.
Some tips for when you visit Lake Yueyaquan
Next, we will give you 3 tips that you should keep in mind if you are considering visiting this splendid oasis:
- We recommend visiting the oasis in the morning or late in the afternoon, since at noon it is quite hot and you may not enjoy the experience so much due to the high temperatures.
- Don’t forget to apply sunscreen and cover yourself from the sun. Put on a cap or cover yourself with a scarf.
- Make sure to store the camera in its case when not in use so that sand doesn’t get on the lens as it can scratch it.
It is incredible to think that, in such a globalized and urbanized world, there are still places like Lake Yueyaquan. If you are the type of traveler who loves to admire the wonders of nature, feel free to include this crescent-shaped lake in your next itinerary.