Karakol is a tourist center of Kyrgyzstan. Every year tourists from all over the world visit this city. In addition to the amazing architecture and history of the city, there are also natural attractions: Lake Issy Kul and high Tien Shan mountains. We have created a special travel guide for those who are going to visit Karakol.
What is interesting about Karakol?
Karakol is strikingly different from all other cities of Kyrgyzstan due to its amazing old-Russian architecture. It was founded in the XIX century, the city for a long time was the largest and most developed city in Kyrgyzstan. Now it is an authentic capital of the Issyk-Kul region, which combines the cultural differences of peoples who lives there.
Russian settlers founded the city in 1869 and created this architecture. Most of the buildings in the historic center of the city were built at the end of the 19th century and are classically Russian houses with whitewashed walls, high ceilings, carved facades and shutters on the windows. In the city, there is a whole block of such houses. In this quarter people live now or various institutions are located.
The most famous historical buildings of the Karakol are the Trinity Cathedral – an old orthodox church built of wood, the Dungan wooden mosque built by the Dungans in the Chinese style and without a single nail, as well as the Kupecheskiy lane, with the cleared cobblestone pavement on which the local history museum is located.
In a very small city, there are several large parks, as well as a large number of trees growing on private plots, even on the hottest days in the streets of Karakol, fresh and cool.
Karakol is located in an amazing place, right under the high mountains of the Terskey-Ala-Too range. This is one of the most geographically diverse corners of Kyrgyzstan, where a relatively small area has a huge amount of natural beauty. Travelers are attracted by the blue waters of Ala-Kul, hot springs and stunning views of Altyn-Arashan and Ak-Suu gorges, as well as beautiful trekking routes of Karakol and Jeti-Ozuz gorges. This is the real paradise for lovers of hiking and trekking.
The Karakol alpine camp is also well-known, where mountaineers from many countries come to climb the mountain peaks of Terskey-Ala-Too. Also here begins tehre road to the most inaccessible region of Kyrgyzstan – the Inylchek glacier and the high peaks of the Pobeda and Khan-Tengri.
In the winter Karakol turns into a skiing center with the developed ski base and great opportunities for freeride and back-country.
Due to the large number of Dungans living in the city, the cuisine in Karakol is strikingly different from the rest of Kyrgyzstan.
Visiting card of the Karakol is Ashlyan-fu – an acute Dungan soup, which is served cold. The main ingredients of the ashlan-fu are two kinds of noodles: ordinary, from wheat flour and starch. This noodle is seasoned with cold broth, spicy seasoning “laza” and greenery.
Most often Ashlyan-fu is served with fried pies with potatoes.
Also, the traditional Dungan dish, which has spread throughout Central Asia and is equally loved in all corners of the country. Lagman is a boiled noodles made with a special technology, seasoned with fried meat, vegetables and spices. Lagman with noodles but with rice called Ganfan.
Even the usual manti, in Karakol, can differ significantly from all the others. Here manti are traditionally served not only with meat, but also with various herbs – first of all with jussae. For manty in Karakol, a spicy dressing is traditionally used – “laza” cooked from hot pepper and garlic.
In addition to the Karakol-specific dishes, traditional Kyrgyz dishes such as beshbarmak, pilaf, kurdak, shorpo, etc. can be tried here. A more detailed list of Kyrgyz dishes is available here.
Sights of Karakol
Sights Map of Karakol
How to get to Karakol
You can get to Karakol from the bus stations of Bishkek, Cholpon-Ata, Kochkor, Balykchy and Bokonbaevo. A detailed list of bus terminals is available on this page.
The average price for a trip from Bishkek to Karakol is 350 soms.
Accomodation in Karakol
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