The “Dead Sea of China” Is Eye Candy

This is Northern China’s Salt Lake, the third largest sodium sulfate inland lake in the world. It is China’s most important historical sources of salt. Many wars have been fought over it, and gods have guarded its waters, while its contents “fill plates and tombs”. Aside from being rich in history, the salt lake is also rich in color.

In summer, it colors the landscape blood crimson, glossy green, and glassy indigo. In winter, it becomes crystalline, ice-white, and sculptural.

For thousands of years, the salt lake, which is found in Northern China’s Shanxi Province, have provided salt to locals.

Historians date the first salt mining to at least 4,000 years ago, and human remains from around the lake hint at even earlier salt harvesting. The lake accounted for a quarter of China’s total salt production from the seventh to 10th century, making Yuncheng City an important administrative center, and inspiring a series of wars for control of the lake and its lucrative, salty haul. Locals traditionally worshipped a range of salt deities in nearby temples.

Why do the water’s colors change? Find out the answer over at Atlas Obscura.

(Video Credit: National Geographic/ YouTube)