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The Kezenoyam Lake

The Republic of Dagestan, Botlikhskiy region

The highland lake Kezenoyam is the largest and deepest lake of the North Caucasus. Kezenoyam is situated in the zone of mountain alpine meadows and steppes at the height of 1870 meters above the sea level at the southern slope of the Andiyskiy mountain ridge, at the border of Chechnya and Daghestan. For its exceptional attractiveness local population calls it “the Pearl of the Caucasus”. Because the reservoir is difficult of access, it’s still little-studied. A natural weir, situated in the western part of the lake, reaches the height of over 100 meters.

The kettle of the lake has steep slopes and flat bottom. The deepness of the lake reaches 74 meters. The extent of the lake from north to south is 2 kilometers, and from west to east – 2,7 kilometers. The maximum width is 735 meters. The length of the coast line is 10 kilometers. The lake is filled by rivers and brooks falling into it, and also pulsing in the very kettle springs. The main role in the filling of the lake is played by a little river Kharsum, falling into the lake in its northern part, and Kaukha, falling into it in its eastern part. The lake doesn’t have a surface run-off, but it obviously has a subterranean run-off through the surrounding limestone rocks.

According to a legend in the place where now water surface stretches, ages ago an aul existed, where people lived who had forgotten what was the love to one’s neighbor and laws of hospitality. Once an Angel dressed as a beggar came down to earth and went to ask the people from the aul for shelter for the night. But no one let the ragged fellow in the house. Only a poor widow whose lodging was at the very border of the aul took compassion upon the shivering beggar.  The next morning he advised her to leave the village immediately in order to save her family from an accident. The woman listened to the guest, quickly took her children and walked away out of the aul. She hardly crossed the aul’s borders when an earthquake began, the aul fell into the earth and waters of the lake closed above it. This legend is passed during many ages, reminding people of neighboring lands about how significant the laws of hospitality and human virtue are. 

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