13 August 2019
Karakol is an excellent base for excursions or longer expeditions in Kyrgyzstan and the city itself offers various attractions not to be missed, such as the large parks, the Russian Orthodox church and a very particular mosque.
KARAKOL: WHAT TO SEE
Karakol is a city of 65,000 inhabitants located in north-eastern Kyrgyzstan and is one of the main tourist attractions of the country, as it is an excellent base for excursions to Lake Issyk-Kul or to the nearby mountains, where the endless steppe slowly merges with a beautiful alpine landscape.
Karakol can be reached from Bishkek or Almaty (Kazakhstan) with a 6-hours journey by car, along roads that are generally in good condition and there are numerous guesthouses and hotels where visitors can stay. The city is characterized by large spaces with open squares reminding the major cities of southern Siberia, because of similar urban development and architecture of the buildings. To visit the main attractions in Karakol, an half a day is usually enough.
What to see in Karakol:
- Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity - the structure has a very interesting and particular architecture and was entirely rebuilt in wood after being destroyed by an earthquake in the late 19th century.
- Dungan mosque - like the orthodox cathedral, the Dungan mosque, dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, has a very particular architecture and has been built without using any nail.
- Parks in the city center - Karakol is a city with lots of green areas and numerous parks, where flower-beds find space among trees, fountains and large statues.
- Karakol History Museum - holds several rock engravings from Lake Issyk-Kul, bronze finds from Scythia and a brief history of geological and mineral exploration of the region.
- Przeval'skij Tomb - is a park and a museum dedicated to the memory of the homonymous explorer of this region, 9 kilometers north of Karakol.
- Issyk-Kul lake - Karakol is an excellent base for excursions to Issyk-Kul lake, a salty water basin considered the second largest mountain lake in the world.
- Kyrgyzstan mountains - Karakol is a good starting point for mountain hikes, treks of varying length or difficulty, climbing, or even skiing in the Tien Shan, a vast mountain range in Central Asia.
But now let's see some photos of Karakol taken during our tour.
The welcome to Karakol
sign, near a large park in the city's center.
is a green city with lot of trees and several large parks, among trees, flower beds and statues of important people.
A statue of Lenin
with an unusual golden color.
We visit the interesting Dungan mosque
in Karakol. Towards the end of the 19th century, the population of Karakol increased with the influx of Dungans, Chinese Muslims escaping from war and persecution. The mosque was built, and then completed, in 1910 to serve the Dungan community of Karakol
. Designed by a Chinese architect, the building has been constructed entirely without nails and most of its images, including a fire wheel, reflect the Dungans' pre-Islamic Buddhist past. Instead of a classic minaret, the mosque has a blue wooden pagoda that is, in fact, much more similar to Chinese architecture rather than to Islamic. Currently, in addition to being a place of worship for many Kyrgyz people, the Dungan mosque is also an important tourist attraction. Women are required to cover entirely (except the face) with a long cloth that can be rented at the entrance.
The tour to Karakol
continues by visiting the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity
one of the most famous tourist attractions in Kyrgyzstan. The history of the church dates back to July 1869, when Karakol was a garrison town founded as an outpost on the margins of the Russian tsarist empire. The church of Karakol, however, was destroyed by an earthquake in 1889 which caused devastation in the city and caused several victims. It was therefore decided to rebuild the structure at the same point, but this time in wood, above the old brick foundations. Among the decorations inside the church, we find a series of icons, some of them very old from important artists.
Karakol is an important and convenient base for excursions
in the surrounding mountains, where yurt camps provide additional logistic facilities for trekking
or longer expeditions
The outdoor kitchen
of yurts camp, at an hour's drive from Karakol.
A kennel with Eternit roof.
From yurts camp there are various trails of different lengths, to discover the surrounding alpine landscapes.
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Kyrgyzstan travel guide
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