Nestled within the Tien Shan mountains of Kazakhstan, Lake Kaindy is an ethereal body of water that is best known for its multitude of barren, pole-like remnants of trees that rise from its vivid turquoise waters.
The lake was formed after the 1911 Kebin earthquake triggered a massive landslide on the surrounding limestone slopes. In fact the name of the lake means "falling rocks/landslide lake" in the Kazakh language. The flow of debris formed a dam, which enabled rainwater to gather within the valley over the years and form the 1,300-foot-long lake.
Those unlucky yet beautiful trees submerged in the lake's waters are Picea schrenkiana. Also known as Schrenk's spruce or Asian spruce, this large evergreen species is native to the Tien Shan mountains and is capable of growing to a height of 160 feet.
Although all the tree trunks seen above the surface of Kaindy Lake are stripped almost bare due to prolonged exposure to the elements, if you take a dive beneath the water, you'll notice the ghostly, algae-covered remnants of the spruce trees' long-dead branches. You don't have to don scuba gear and brave the chilly, 40-degree waters to see this striking visual, though — all you have to do is glance downwards into the remarkably clear water to see this underwater forest:
Given its striking appearance and proximity to the bustling city of Almaty, you might think such a gorgeous place would be constantly flooded with visitors. Atlas Obscura explains why this isn't the case:
"Surprisingly, the lake sees few visitors, partly because Kaindy Lake is overshadowed by the more famous Bolshoe Almatinskoe Lake and the Kolsay Lakes, all of which are close by, but far easier to reach from Almaty. Thus, despite its proximity to a city with a population of more than one million, the lake retains a peaceful atmosphere."