Karakol is the 4th largest city in Kyrgyzstan near the eastern part of Issyk-Kul lake. It is about 380 km away from the capital Bishkek. The population of the city is around 65.000 people.
The town of Karakol was founded in 1869 as a military support town of the Russian Empire. It housed many merchants, officers, explorers who came to map the peaks and valleys separating Kyrgyzstan and China. The most famous explorer visiting Karakol was Nikolai Przhevalsky, who died of typhus in Karakol before his third expedition to Tibet. The city was named Przhevalsk (1939-1991) in his honour.
Although there is not much sightseeing to do in the city, Karakol has a lot of activities to offer. It is considered to be one of Central Asia’s main trekking destinations. It serves as a starting point to discover natural wonders of the Tian Shan mountains and Lake Issyk-Kul. So if you’re just passing by, you can explore the local culture.
Being on the crossroad of trade and migration Karakol turned into a unique model of food, culture and nature. It is home to ethnicities like Kyrgyz, Tatar, Russian, Dungan, Uighur, Kalmyk, and Uzbek. So it is possible to even learn more about other nationalities and cultures within the city.
Karakol is a popular destination among skiers and snowboarders both on local and international level. Karakol ski base is located just 20 minutes away from the city and has better quality and prices than the other resorts in the country.
The main sights of Karakol are the Russian Orthodox cathedral built under the Tsarist Russian Empire in 1872, Dungan Mosque- the Issyk-Kul central mosque, which is the only example of traditional Chinese architecture in Kyrgystan, Karakol history museum, Bugu-Ene zoo, Prjevalski museum and memorial grave.