Karakol is a city in Kyrgyzstan, the administrative center of the Issyk-Kul region and Ak-Suu district.
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Located in the eastern part of the region, at the foot of the ridge Teskei-Alatoo, in the lower reaches of the river Karakol, 12 km from the coast of Lake Issyk-Kul, at an altitude of 1690-1850 meters above sea level. The distance to Bishkek is 400 km, to the nearest railway station Balykchy 220 km by road and 184 km by water. The climate in the city is temperate continental, with elements of mountainous and maritime. The average annual rainfall is 350-450 mm.
The city was founded in 1869 as a military-administrative center on the caravan road from the Chui Valley to Kashgaria, staff-captain Baron Kaulbars, who was given the task of choosing a convenient location for the new city. On July 1, 1869 the streets, squares and the inn were laid. This date is considered as birthday of the city Karakol, named after the river on which it is located.
The city has a strict rectangular layout, buried in the green gardens, as before every builder was obliged to plant a garden and an alley in front of the house. It was decided to build a garden city. Buildings themselves looked a little different than in other Central Asian cities. Until 1887 mostly mud houses were built. But after a major earthquake in 1887, the city was built mainly with wooden houses with porches, decorated with rich intricate carvings.
By 1872 in Karakol was built 132 houses. By 1897 the population was 8108. Now the city has 65443 inhabitants.
The town changed its name several times: until 1889 it was called Karakol, then it was renamed by a tsar’s decree into Przhevalsk, in honor of the famous Russian traveler N.M. Przhevalsky, who died in Karakol on his 5th journey. He was buried on the shore of Issyk-Kul, according to his wishes.
In 1922 the city was returned to its former name. And in 1939, in connection with the centenary of the birth of N.M. Przhevalsky, the city was again called Przhevalsk. The name remained until 1992, when the city was given back its historic name Karakol. Among the cities of pre-revolutionary Kyrgyzstan, Karakol was a city of relatively high culture. Many famous scientists and travelers set off from here to Central Asia on numerous expeditions.
In the city was founded the first Kyrgyz meteorological station in 1887 by Ya.I. Korolkov. opened the first public library by N.M. Barsov. In 1907 was organized by a stud farm on the initiative of staff-captain V.A. Panovsky.
From an economic point of view, the city was developing as a commercial and administrative center of the entire Priissikkulja. In 1894, 34% of the city’s budget was income from trade.
At the same time began to emerge and industrial enterprises. By 1914 in the city and its surroundings operated 60 industrial enterprises, but they were mostly small.
At present, there is almost no industry in the city, except ETZ, machine plant, clothing factory, dairy plant, meat processing plant. As for educational institutions, the city has a university, a medical school, a pedagogical school, a college, etc., as well as 11 comprehensive schools, a lyceum and a gymnasium.
Karakol, the regional center of the Issyk-Kul region. The city is located in the eastern part of the Issyk-Kul hollow, 400 kilometers from the capital, Bishkek.
Karakol is located at an altitude of 1690-1770 meters above sea level. The city was founded as a military-administrative and trading post on the caravan road from the Chui Valley to Kashgaria. The place for the future city (kilometers from the confluence of the Karakol river into Lake Issyk-Kul) was chosen by the expedition of A.V. Kaulbars on the advice of the natives and after getting acquainted with the geographical conditions. In June 2, 1869 the main city streets, squares, guest house, and the barracks had already been laid out. At the end of 1869 early 1870 in the village there were 12 private houses and 50 shops. Twenty years later, on March 7, 1889, the town was named after Przhevalsky, the great Russian traveler and explorer of Central Asia. He died there, and was buried near the town on the high bank of Issyk-Kul Lake.
In 1991 Przhevalsk was renamed Karakol.
The Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral, Dungan Mosque, and the tomb of N. M. Przhevalsky. Founded in place of the Kokand fortress of Karakol after its seizure by Russian troops and the accession of Kyrgyzstan to the Russian Empire. It was renamed in honor of N. M. Przhevalsky, where he is buried on the shore of Lake Issyk-Kul.
Attractions at Karakol
Barskaun Gorge Suek Pass Khan-Tengry Peak Ala-Kul Hot Springs Altyn-Arashan Mountain Resort Karakol Tibet Stones in Tamga Gorge Karakol Gorge Burana Tower Jety-Oguz Rocks
This site contains Karakol sights – photos, descriptions and travel tips. The list is based on popular travel guides and presented by type, name and rating. Here you can find answers to what to see in Karakol, where to go and where are the popular and interesting places in Karakol.
Barskaun Gorge, located in the Terskey Ala-Too Mountains, Kyrgyzstan, is famous for its waterfalls and gold-bearing rivers. Located on the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul in the floodplain of the Barskaun River the gorge has a length of about 10 kilometers.
The most famous waterfalls of Barskaun Gorge are “Beard of an Aksakal”, “Tears of a Leopard” and “Splash of Champagne”. A special attraction of the gorge is a monument to Yuri Gagarin, located in its middle part, near the sanatorium Tamga, where the first cosmonaut loved to vacation. The route to the Kumtor Pass, where gold is mined these days, passes through the gorge.
Suek Pass, in Kyrgyzstan, is located 150 km from Karakol, on the southern spurs of Karamoynok mountain range. To get to him, you must after the pass Kok-Moinok (height 3.442 meters), to get through Barskaunskoe gorge and move along the valley Arabel.
Here, among the scree and boulders, along the gloomy gorge, steep ascent leads to the pass. The maximum ascent point by car is 4,200 meters above sea level, but on foot you can reach a height of 4,600 meters.
These places are beloved by freeriders – more convenient approaches on the kamusah, higher mountains and gentle slopes, in contrast to the mountains of Barsakun Valley.
Remarkably, Suek in translation from the Turkic means “bone”, although some specifies the translation as “the bone of the deceased”, and there are those who believe that the name comes from the word “cold”.
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Khan-Tengry Peak is one of the highest mountains of Tien-Shan. The height of the peak is just over seven thousand meters.
The name of the mountain means “Lord of Heaven” in Russian. The first scientific information was obtained thanks to the famous Russian traveler P.P. Semenov-Tyan-Shansky. The first ascent made by the Ukrainian climbers in 1931. To date, developed about ten routes. Climbing usually lasts about fourteen days. Routes are divided into two parts – the south side and the north. The safest route is route number 1, which begins in the south, on the Semenovsky glacier. It is constantly supervised by rescue guides.
The view of Khan-Tengry Peak is the most colorful and picturesque. It is especially beautiful during sunset, when all the mountains are already immersed in darkness, and the top of the peak is colored red.
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Ala-Kul (Ala-Kyol, Alakul, Alakyol) is a lake in the Terskey Alatau region, in the Central Tien Shan.
Its name in Kyrgyz is translated as the “speckled lake”.
The lake is located in the upper reaches of the Kurgaktor River, the right tributary of the Karakol, at an altitude of 3,532 meters. The lake has a glacial origin: the glacier after the retreat and now occupies the upper part of the valley. There are no islands on the lake. The length of the shoreline is 6.8 kilometers.
This is probably one of the most beautiful places in the Terskey Alatau region. You can get to it either from below or through one of the easy passes over the rocky ridges surrounding the lake. There is no road to the lake, so you have to walk or ride horses to get there.
Hot Springs Altyn-Arashan
Altyn-Arashan Hot Springs, located in the Arashan Gorge and Arashan River Valley, 10 km away from Karakol, near Ak-Suu Village, translates as “Golden Healing Springs”. Water temperature in the Slaboradon spring is about 50 degrees. The place is extremely picturesque, just like any corner of Kyrgyzstan.
The way to Arashan Gorge begins from the town of Karakol, from which you need to get to the village Teploklyuchenka and then up into the mountains.You can get faster on the northern shore of Issyk-Kul, but traveling along the southern coast you can admire the beauty of pristine nature. On the way you can visit the dead lake Kara-Kel – the analogue of the dead sea in Israel, stop at Barskaun Gorge and see the beautiful waterfall and visit the famous resort Jeti-Oguz.
Hot springs Altyn-Arashan – a wonderful place where on a small area of the earth coming out of the springs with different composition of water and temperature. In the sulfurous source, the water temperature reaches +41, and in the radon source +32. You can bathe in them all year round and the healing water cures diseases of the digestive system, joints, liver, kidneys and heart. The pools with springs are made of stone. Although many of the wells are made by human hands, there are also wild, located along the river. The thermal springs here are different in shape – there is a heart-shaped spring, a grotto and a swallow’s nest. The spring water contains radon and is used to treat diseases of the nervous system.
Karakol Ski Resort
Karakol ski resort is located at an altitude of 2,300 meters above sea level, on the slopes of the Tien Shan, 7 kilometers from the town of Karakol (Issyk-Kul region). “Karakol has tracks of varying difficulty levels, so it is suitable for both professional skiers and beginners who are just getting ready to start skiing.
The ropeway has an elevation of 2500 meters. The skiing season usually starts in November and lasts until April. During all this time there is no reason to worry about the state of the track – there is a lot of snow, it covers the ground with a thick layer, which thickness varies from 1.5 to 2.5 meters. Karakol skiing base is open all year round. Five rope tow elevators with a stationary telescopic rope tow lift serve the slopes. Besides, the highest point is located at the altitude of 3040 meters, and the altitude difference is 800 meters. And for freeride fans there is room to run around a lot of slopes covered with snow, ideal for extreme sport, besides, you can just enjoy the magnificent panorama of Issyk-Kul Lake – the second largest mountain lake in the world.
For those beginners, who did not have time to buy their own equipment, there is a rental center, where you can personally pick up the ski equipment of “Rossignol” company. Experienced instructors will always help you and teach you the first skills of skiing.
Tibetan Rocks in Tamga Gorge”.
Tamga Gorge is located on the southern shore of Issyk-Kul, near the village of Tamga of the same name. There are 3 rocks in the gorge, 1 kilometer apart, with Tibetan rock carvings.
The nearest stone is two kilometers away from Tamga village and is popularly called “Tamga-Tash” (a stone with a mark). The stone lies on a high level terrain, near an old trail that runs along the bank of the Tamga River. The Buddhist mantra “Om mani padme hum” is carved on it, a kind of prayer that can be used under any circumstances.The letters are carved in a strict monumental style. The surface of the stone was carved around the letters, making them relief-volume. The inscription on the stone dates back to the Dzungarian (Kalmyk) period (15th-17th centuries).
The literal translation of the mantra is “O! A pearl in a lotus flower,” but it is rarely understood in this sense. It is quite remarkable that this stone was used for ritual purposes long before Buddhism emerged. The inscription on the third Tamga-tash is a stylized OM sign. This inscription is the same age as the inscription on the first stone. OM (or aum) is a sound that is an important sound in almost all traditional cultures of mankind. Tamga -Tash is the most famous of the three stones .The stones of Tamga-Tash, of course, are not only a historical monument. Therefore, a visit to these stones requires a conscious attitude.
Karakol Gorge is located in the Terskey Ala-Too Range, 400 km from Bishkek, near the town of Karakol. The slopes of the mountains descend to the Lake Issyk-Kul and they end in gentle relief.
The slopes of the Karakol Gorge and the banks of the Karakol River, with tributaries in the middle mountains, are covered with bushes of buckthorn, barberry, hips and thal on the background of emerald green steppe meadows.The diversity of flora in the Karakol Gorge is determined by numerous forms of fauna. Among the largest and most interesting animals in the Karakol Gorge are ibex, roe deer, lynx, wild boars, snow leopards, wolves, and bears. In the highlands nesting eagles, golden eagles, bearded vulture and white-headed vulture.In this area are concentrated many mountains, which stare their peaks over the snow line. The most popular peaks are Karakol peak-5280 meters and Dzhigit peak-5176 meters.
The slopes of the right tributary of Kashka-Suu, where the ski base is built for all holidaymakers and skiers, is widely used for the development of winter recreation and sports. Here you can watch complex of waterfalls, moraine-glacial lake Ala-Kel, which is located at the height of 3532 m, and Karakol lake, near the glacier tongue in the On-Tor gorge.
Burana tower is a monument of cultural heritage of Kyrgyz people and a part of archeological-architectural museum of Kyrgyzstan, it is a minaret of Burana settlement and one of the ancient buildings on the territory of Central Asia. It is located 12 km south-west from the Kyrgyz town of Tokmak, on the road to Kegeti Gorge, Kyrgyz ridge, on the left bank of the Chu River. The original height of the tower, built in the X-XI centuries, was not less than 40 meters, but the upper part was destroyed by an earthquake.Today the height of the tower is 21.7 meters.
Investigations of Burana castle mound and its minaret were started by Russian scientists and regional scientists in the middle of XIX century. In the first years of the Soviet power a number of measures on preservation of Burana tower and archaeological research of the mound were taken.In 1927 excavations, plan shooting, material collection were made.As a result of investigations it was established for the first time that the mound had a complex planning and consisted of central ruins represented by a quadrangular fortress on a huge square outside the mound.
In 1970-1974 special scientific-restoration workshops of the Ministry of Culture of Kyrgyz SSR made restoration of Burana Tower according to the project of B.V. Pomaskin. During the five years of work the destroyed places along the whole height of the tower were restored, the octahedral plinth was rebuilt, the stairs for climbing the minaret were constructed on the southern side.
Rocks of Jety-Oguz
Rocks Jety-Oguz, translated from Kyrgyz as Seven Bulls, are located in Kyrgyzstan, 28 kilometers to the west of Karakol city. The cliffs form a picturesque gorge overlooking the southern shore of Lake Issyk.
The main attraction of the gorge is a chain of red rocks, resembling bulls. The well-known sight of the gorge is the rock “Broken Heart”, a favorite place for photographing couples in love.
In the gorge, in close proximity to the rocks, there is a resort of the same name, known for its thermal springs. These springs have been known since ancient times far beyond the surrounding areas. During the season of melting glaciers streams of water flow down the slopes of the rocks. In the fall, the water freezes, presenting the amazing beauty of frozen waterfalls.
The Jety-Oguz resort and the surrounding area are popular with travelers visiting these places. Here you can book a horseback ride or hike among the rocks and pine forests.
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