RU  UK  EN
Articles  >  Visit  >  Karakol. What is worth to know

Karakol. What is worth to know

Author: 05.12.2018 | travel, nature, tourism, the Kyrgyz Republic
Nature and heritage are above and beyond temporary drawbacks in infrastructure and services of Kyrgyzstan, which in terms of tourism is approaching to Georgia and Armenia. Let's consider this through the example of the cosy city of Karakol.

One of the largest cities of Kyrgyzstan, Karakol has a population of 80 thousand inhabitants, it is located 12 kilometres away from the grand creation of nature, the majestic Issyk Kul Lake. The city was founded by Russian merchants and the militaries in the late 19th century, used both as a garrison for the control of the south-eastern borders, and as a commercial area featuring important trade routes. In addition, local gorges, animals, plants, mountain ridges and valleys attracted scientists, among whom was the famous ethnographer Nikolai Przewalski. During one of his expeditions to the area, he came down with typhus and died in Karakol. A few years after this, the tsar decided to rename the city after him, changing the name to Przewalsk. It was just a beginning, then in the last hundred years, local residents were forced five times to get used to renaming "Karakol-Przewalsk- Karakol" - each new government decided on its own, so the older generation today does not really know what the name of their city is. Officially, it is Karakol since 1992. The name is translated as a "black hand" which origins from the name of the local river.

Karakol Historical Museum commemorates Przewalski. Although the place does not store any exclusive and unique exhibits connected to Nikolai Mikhailovich, the ethnographer with a bad temper, still, there are enough artefacts to get familiar with the most known facts of his biography.

Karakol is a very pleasant place, especially its central part: ancient cobbled streets, merchants' houses, shopping areas, the smell of spices and traditional bazaars, among which green market and animal market stand out. The first is famous for its endless selection of vegetables and fruits, and the second market is at the same time a place of trade and exhibition. People from all over the country come there to bring various cattle, they make deals, drive hard bargains. At least one of the bazaars is worthy attention to understand what the eastern trade is.

In the centre of Karakol there are two differently amazing religious object. Dungan Mosque was built without a single nail by the Chinese-Dungan, who in the 1860s fled their native country for fear of persecution because of the Islamic religion. As historians say, more than 300 thousand of them reached Kyrgyzstan, however, over time many of them returned home. Those who stayed, were pleasantly surprised by the hospitality of the local population, so knowing that no one was hostile to their buildings, they went down to business. The project was headed by the legendary architect and builder Chzhou-Su, specially invited from China. It took him three years to prepare the wooden beams. Though when the work was completed, the mosque was assembled as if a construction toy for a couple of days. So, it has been decorated the city since 1910, and the Chinese still play an important role of the city life.Photo farm6.staticflickr.com

Another famous religious site is the Holy Trinity Cathedral, which, by the way, is also made of wood. For more than one hundred years of its existence, it has survived at all the "trappings" of the Soviet attitude to places of worship, when being used as a recreation centre, a gym, and a museum. After independence, in 1992, the church, or rather what was left of it - rotten and looted building, has been finally returned to church community. It took them three years to recover it, and this work was rewarded - today the Holy Trinity Cathedral with its appearance and atmosphere encourages even unbelievers to thinking about eternity.

Another important attraction of Karakol, namely the city speciality, is ashlyamfu – a dish of Dungan cuisine. Local recipe is famous all over Kyrgyzstan, that’s why it is a must to try it. Experts recommend to sample it not in a cafe, but at the markets and bazaars where they cook it properly. The dish includes: noodle, which shall be eaten with hands, sauce, garlic, vinegar and corn starch. Ashlyamfu shall be consumed cold, so it is perfect for the summer heat. On the top of it, a huge pasty is served to make sure that a person eating this dish will not be hungry, and if you order a "meat edition", you won’t be able to eat anything for half-day, but in the evening you may have the same dish again, as it is hearty and delicious.Photo cafmi.kg

After that it's time to travel outside the city, because that is where nature has created such landmarks which people, with all due respect, will never be able to create in spite of all the efforts. Where to go is a rhetorical question: there is more than eyes can take in, and the choice is really huge. The guests are offered a modern ski resort, trekking trails, hot springs, mud baths, refreshing waters of Issyk Kul Lake, and dozens of breath-taking gorges and mountain routes.

One of the most beautiful valleys of Kyrgyzstan is Altyn Arashan, it has been long renowned for its therapeutic hot springs. Healing water is mountainous and located at an altitude of 2600 meters above sea level. A rare combination of hydrogen sulphide and radon hot springs located in close proximity to each other, adds a uniqueness to this place. Thus, for instance, the radon springs with water temperature to 50 degrees, are good for swimming all year round.Photo i.mycdn.me

The road from Karakol to the resort takes from 5 to 6 hours by car and is a steep slope on the mountain serpentines along the Arashan River, in the narrow, rocky canyon. Directly from Karakol to the resort there is only about 35km, but this distance is impressively beautiful! This place is also special by the fact that a large part of the Arashan valley, including hot springs resort Altyn Arashan is a protected area.

Neighbourhoods of Karakol attract a significant portion of tourists visiting Kyrgyzstan. Despite the fact that their number reaches several millions, each visitor is able to escape from the city, and to be alone. Local conditions are perfect for relaxation and therapeutic procedures, and fans of adrenaline certainly will not be bored spending their time everywhere: on land, in the water and in the sky.Photo planetofhotels.com

The great thing is that the natural beauty operates throughout the year, so there is no concept of "season" here. Skis and snowboards are replaced by bicycles and quads, and the coolness of the Issyk-Kul Lake is taken over by hot springs and geysers. Everything is located against the backdrop of spectacular scenery that are not worse than the Alpine sites, but have a low marketing recognisability. Let's hope this is a temporary shortage and just a incentive for the development of tourist industry, because the most important thing is that the nature of Kyrgyzstan is eternal, and therefore everything will be developed to the best advantage.

Cover photo pinterest.com

It will be interesting:
Sataplia: Honey for dinosaurs
In recent years Georgia has rightly become very popular touristic spot on world map. Probably, everybody will find something for oneself in this proud mountainous state: amazing nature, delicious food, devote and cordial friends and much, much more. Outlook try to visit it as often as possible and share all kinds of interesting stuff with you. Today we’ll tell about a marvelous Sataplia Reserve.
Departure: Amsterdam
If you spent half a day enjoying chips with mayonnaise, herring, eel and cheese; your imagination managed to find solutions for all the riddles of the universe while waiting for hours in endless queue to the Rijksmuseum; and within a couple of hours you were almost knocked down on the road thrice, it means, no doubt, you were spending that day in Amsterdam.
Alpine village nearby Seattle
There are many things that we can learn from citizens of the United States but what deserves special respect is love to their land. Patriotism of Americans manifests itself in everything, even in internal tourism - without having properly explored own country, an American would hardly travel anywhere outside its territory. Today we tell about one of the most popular internal tourism towns - about Leavenworth.
Lakes that are changing the idea of the power of the nature
At the bare mention of the word lake, our imagination pictures soothing, nostalgia-laden images of quite pond cosily embraced by the grassy hills. OUTLOOK prepared a selection of the most spectacular lakes, which will change your understanding of this work of nature. Each of them has something to surprise, whether it is unusual water shade, or frightening ability to petrify living creatures.
Chile: Land That Breathes with Fire
A thing that for tourists is a reason to click photo cameras in amazement, for local citizens is a source for constant concern and even grave danger. A chain of fire-breathing volcanoes, banded with salt lakes and thermal geysers, is believed to be one of the most astonishing spots on the planet. But one thing is to have a look and leave and completely another – to constantly ‘sit on a powderkeg’.
Art of topiary
When I, as a little girl, for the first time passed my hand over trimmed bush, my palm got scratched with sharp edges of twigs and lasting arborvitae fragrance hit my nose. Mesmerized, I was not able to take my eyes away from the cones, balls and squares that surrounded me in the park of a small resort town. I felt like being inside a fairy tale, where behind the leaves I could notice a smile of the Cheshire Cat.
Foot walk around Aachen
To visit three countries over one day – it is possible if you are in Aachen. Situated amid Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, small student town took in features of medieval culture that reflected in its astonishing architecture. Yelena Buravtsova visited the town for it to win her heart with its off-beat monuments, streets paved with stone blocks, cozy cafés, one of a kind printed spice cake, museums and spectacular races.
Which island is the most expensive?
The owners of island Calala near the coast of Nicaragua offer to rent it for one million dollars. The island with the square of 0.1 ha has all the infrastructure common for such sea areas. The only thing unusual is, perhaps, price. The editions describing all the expensive things paid attention to it. What is proposed for one million?
British heartland: Albion's unsolved mysteries
Green slopes covered with heather moorland, deserted suburban roads, narrow streets with small cottages and gardens emitting heady fragrance - it seems that British villages are unchangeable through the passage of time. Like stilled scenery for heroic fantasy fiction, each of them has its own story about great battles, brave warriors and legendary artefacts.
Little pets of big cities
Germans have other pets besides German Shepherds and in Boston not just Boston Terriers can be seen. People choose dogs relying on own preferences. But sometimes locals are too prone to having a certain breed so it becomes a distinctive of a location. Natural conditions, fashion and even set of mind contribute to it.
Hold your breath: the most dangerous places for diving
After the legendary Frenchman Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his colleagues invented and perfected self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, scuba diving firmly entered the list of the most popular, but unfortunately, unsafe hobbies. OUTLOOK warns and talks about the most extreme places to do scuba diving.
A trip to Transylvania: Intriguing places of Romania
A visit to picturesque Transylvania is akin to mystic extravaganza that takes place in reality. But laymen rarely know for sure what to visit in Romania aside from the famous Bran Castle, residence of Count Dracula. OUTLOOK solves the problem and offers an opportunity to personally choose an exciting route – its history may not just surprise but also stir your blood.
Dallol: Bright glory of Ethiopia
Countries often flaunt their natural beauties: they invite tourists allowing them to examine closely every detail of jewellery coined by the nature. Among beauties, there are some that are the most extravagantly bright, showy and bizarre, and sometimes even wild for our eyes. African Ethiopia grabbed one of the most beautiful accessories - Dallol volcano.
Life on water: 7 little-known Venice competitors
When we hear about "water city", Venice immediately comes to mind, doesn’t it? Tranquil gondolas, narrow waterways, gentle light of the evening sun and ancient architecture create that heady romantic cocktail which attracts tourists from all over the world to the Italian city.
Only sky is a limit: Worlds's highest observation decks
Nature bestowed our planet with many sky-high peaks, which at any moment give visitors the feeling of boundless freedom. Cities build skyscrapers boasting to one another and, to satisfy high aspirations, they add observation decks at the height of the bird's flight. Travelling from continent to continent, with bated breath we will admire the world's loftiest views from the summits of supertalls.
The most stunning flower fields in the world
Flower fields and valleys are impressive and attract attention of the most discerning connoisseurs of beauty. Multi-coloured deposits of fragrant plants adorn vast valleys of almost every country, in the most distant parts of the world. We offer several options for such floral carpets for every taste.
Montserrat: Visiting Angels
Should we have a look at notes of those who plan their trips to Spain, next to the darling of all hearts, Barcelona, Montserrat is bound to rank second. Also, the mountain of the abbey is a must-visit spot for local dwellers, too – they believe it necessary to visit Catalonia’s religious heart at least once a year.
Postcards from Bulgaria
Having taken the passport and good mood, go on May holidays to the so-called "Near Abroad" - Bulgaria - the country where ancient architecture is successfully combined with a relaxing sea breeze. Do not you believe? But OUTLOOK is sure that Pavel Khomenskyi through his photos will be able to convince you! Bright and in its own way majestic Sofia - this is a must see on these holidays! Let's go with us!
"So sorry for the bird!". Feathered Mauritius symbol
Figurines of dodo bird “invaded” all souvenir shops of Mauritius and its image even managed to become a national symbol complementing to the country’s emblem. But the most grievous thing of all is that all this glory came to Raphus cucullatus after it was completely extinct from the face of Earth – and it took it less then a hundred years…
Banned to leave handling kiwi. Customs bans on export
Tourists with their eyes full of tears because statuettes, shells and other stuff bought “as a souvenir” are being shaken out of their bags – is a continual occurrence at customs. For you not to become one of those tourists, OUTLOK suggests you check out a selection of (sometimes weird) objects forbidden to be exported from different countries.
Close
Outlook facebook page