Karakol – is one of the largest and the most beautiful cities in the resorts on the Lake of Issyk-Kul. It lays in the eastern part of Issyk-Kul basin at the foot of Terskey Ala-Tao, at the mouth of the river Karakol.
The city with a population of almost 70 thousand people is a popular place for tourists from all over the country and abroad. It is located in an unusually favorable climatic region, at an altitude of 1770 meters above sea level.
Karakol is located in a very picturesque area, but not only potential natural and beautiful beaches attract tourists to come these places, but also incredibly rich history of the city.
It was founded in 1869 by the staff captain Baron Kaulbars who has planned it as military and administrative center of the county on a busy site of the caravan route from the Chui Valley to the city of Kuldzh.
From the outset, the city was called Karakol (Kyrgyz meaning of which is «Black Hand»), it was named under the name of the river at the mouth of which it was located, but after the death of the famous Russian traveler, N.M. Przewalskiy in 1888, who died here during his way to his fifth expedition, the city was named Przewalsk. The historical name was given to the city again only after Kyrgyzstan gained its independence.
From the outset, Karakol was not just a provincial town. It was exactly here where the first weather station in Kyrgyzstan and the first academic library is huge stud farm were established. In this city, there were formed almost all the research about the expedition left in Central Asia.
Today’s Karakol is pretty modern city; here one can easily find that there is a broad and extensive social infrastructure, the University and some several institutes, the railway with the station and road transport. However, the close neighborhood with the mountain villages imposes its imprint. Often, such a close link can be seen in the grazing sheep and cows, passing the carts or riding people on horses or donkeys, there are also people in the folk costumes often walk in the streets of the city.
The main attraction of the city of Karakol, of course, is a memorial of N.M. Przewalskiy, including burial of the great scientist and the museum which is also named after the great scientist and researcher, surrounded by a beautiful wonderful park. The memorial itself is located on the highest part of the coast, so that the view which it offers to the tourists and visitors is truly excellent — calm blue lagoon, surrounded by dark mountains with white caps of the non-melting snow.
The ten-meter rock rises in the middle of a green riot of old park, topped by a bronze figure of an eagle and hanging down from its clutches a map – these are the exact places of the grave of N.M. Przewalskiy. A little further on there is a small house in which there are all the private belongings of a scientist for example, route maps, printed material and numerous awards.
However, this is not the most ancient monument in the city. Not far from the marina in Karakol, in an area called Chon-Koysu which has been almost flooded by the lake, the ruins of the ancient fort which was built in the XIV-XV centuries lay. The water swallowed up almost all the buildings, only in some little places on the shore one will be able to find the towering remnants of foundations and fragments of walls of the ancient settlements.
The most outstanding architectural monument in the city is well recognized Dungan mosque of the last century; it was specially made in the style of a Buddhist pagoda. It is interesting because it was built of wood and during its construction the builders and architects have worked absolutely without the use of nails. The main elements of decoration are the heads of the dragons on the ends of corner beams, and oddly angled up the corners of the roofs. The roof is decorated with thirty external gallery golden columns, ornate with rich and intricate carvings.
Special attention is also awarded by the visitors to the building of the Russian Orthodox Holy Trinity Church and the altar of that church where there is the list of Tikhvin Mother of God. According to legend the icon once had been shot, but a miraculous relict, even did not get any damage, but the place of the gunshot wounds up to this day sometimes bleed, which has led to the fact of including the image in the category of miracles.
However, the most tourists come here not only for this, regardless of the season natural wealth of these places beckons them. In the summer – that can be magnificent beaches of Issyk-Kul, with the numerous mountain ranges, which may arrange climbing opportunities, moreover that can also be placed around the geothermal springs; according winter that can be camping which names «Karakol» that is a popular place for skiers and freestylers from the whole country.
The ski base of Karakol.
«Karakol» – is a real modern ski resort, it is located just 7 kilometers away from the town which has the same name. It was built during the Soviet period and then used as a training site of the Olympic national team.
In 2004, the base has been completely modernized, and today, it is not just a place for train professional athletes, but also all the lovers of active holidays in the mountains come here very often.
«Karakol» – is unique because of its natural features ski resort. It is situated at an altitude of 2300 meters above sea level in majestic alpine conifer forests of the Tien Shan. Due to the non iced lake of Issyk-Kul, the place where the ski resort of “Karakol” based has a great maritime climate, which increases the pleasure of the vacation and skiing of all the people who come there.
In winter, daytime temperatures hardly fall below-5C, and an unusually large number of sunny days, allows anyone to ski and sunbathe at the same time.
The ski season starts in November and continues almost until April, at the same time it should be noted that the snow is constantly updated from 1.5 to 2.5 meters throughout the season and that happens all the time.
In «Karakol» there are several ski runs of varying difficulty, length of slopes from 400 meters to 3.5 kilometers and a height with absolutely any difference with up to 800 meters were equipped, that extraordinary fact will certainly satisfy not only beginners but also the professionals in such wonderful mountain sport activity.
The ski slopes go through the pine forest and one can almost ski or have some trainees at the different altitudes. On the basis there are also special areas for sledding which are well equipped and have all the required and needed stuff for the rest.
All the tracks are well equipped with ski lifts, one can easily find here:
-Two double and triple chair lifts,
-Two rope-tow yoke,
-There is also a special elevator for the transportation of the sled.
On the territory of the huge resort tourists have the opportunity to stay in the hotels or lodges, houses which look like chalets, the comfortable restaurant and several outdoor cafes are there for their services and satisfaction.
If you do not have any ski equipment that is absolutely not a problem, one can easily rent mountain and ski clothing and the equipment at the complex. Since the recent times, YAMAHA company representatives began to organize the snowmobiles rental services. There is also help of the qualified coaches and instructors for not only the beginners, but also for anyone who wants to continue such a wonderful and great sport activity.
In the summer periods the resort of «Karakol» – is a real paradise for climbers and hikers in the mountains (trekking, hiking).
Does not mean whenever it is during the year, you may visit «Karakol», you will certainly get a lot of fun and positive senses of being here, and energize yourself and leaving this place with the memories of the beauty and perfection of untouched nature of Kyrgyzstan.