Karakol and the Silk Road
The city of Karakol (formerly Przhevalsk, after the Russian explorer Przhevalsky who died there) is the administrative seat of Issyk-Kul Region. It is near the east tip of the lake and is a good base for excursions into the surrounding area. Its small old core contains an impressive wooden mosque, built without metal nails by the Dungan people, and a wooden Orthodox church that was used as a stable during Soviet times .
Thing To Do in Karakol
Karakol will be your hub for exploring the beautiful nature of Eastern Kyrgyzstan
Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathederal
This special Church is located in the center of Karakol. The garden was beautiful roses in bloom. Walk around the church and soak in the amazing colors. . The interior decoration is rather simple but it carries the tranquility. Orthodox people do kiss the paintings, which is a window into a different way of life. Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathederal is a reminder of the the Russian and Ukrainian frontiersman back in XVIII-XIX centuries who built their churches of wood.
Nikolai Przhevalsky Museum
The Nikolai Przhevalsky. museum in Karakil celebrates the great Centra Asian explorer, He was genius polymath, very strong in many things including map making, geology, botany, leadership and fundraising. The exhibits are rich and of good quality.
Although he never reached his ultimate goal, the holy city of Lhasa in Tibet, he traveled through regions then unknown to the West, such as northern Tibet, Amdo (now Qinghai) and Dzungaria (now northern Xinjiang). He contributed significantly to European knowledge of Central Asian geography.
He also described several species previously unknown to European science: Przewalski’s horse, Przewalski’s gazelle, and the Wild Bactrian camel, all of which are now endangered Przhevalsky’s writings, books, musings, maps, and all of his discoveries of the flora and fauna are a wonder to see.
Karakol Cattle Market
Come early Sunday morning visit to the Karakol Cattle Market and be prepared to be overwhelmed! This market does not cater to tourists, which makes it really cool and authentic,
Be there early as the sun is about to rise. By six am the market will be full of locals and their merchandise – hundreds of goats, sheep, cows, and horses. people of all ages- children as young as ten years and elderly people, all selling, checking and buying. animals behaving themselves, and though it will be crowded and pushy, it is a powerful cultural experience. The high mountains in the background create a beautiful and interesting theme.
Beware, you will be in the middle working chaos, the Cattle Market was not designed with tourists in mind. It will be crowded and smelly and can be muddy or dusty, There will be stock and people as well as vehicles moving around everywhere. There is animal poo everywhere, so be ready to be pushed, kicked and peed on! Cattle nay walk and push through you and vice versa, you must walking push through them too. getting covered with animal hair. But then again that is what makes it a fun and interesting place to visit, just like a travel documentary you watch from the comfort of your sofa at home,
While it will appear chaotic to outsiders, the locals know what was happening. Each has its own section crowded with locals buying and selling. horses, sheep, cattle and goats. It is interesting to watch their negotiations. and see the animals. You can easily find some friendly folk to chat with.
Not only was there stock for sale but saddles, horseshoes and almost everything related to farming. There is a good sized car park outside and it is interesting just to watch the locals with their purchases trying to load them onto small trailers etc, especially some of the larger more stubborn cows. It is is so authentic and has died out in the west and most other places in the world. Here anyone can stroll around.
The Karakol Gorge is only a short drive from town and it has it all, wilderness, wildlife, adventure and amazing scenery everywhere you look. You can hike and ride horseback in the gorge in the summer and is recommend to anyone with an adventurers spirit and as many people as you will encounter along the way, they are all there for the same reason, to enjoy all that nature is providing.
The sight of yurts and horse wranglers out in the great wideopen was truly a sight to behold. It was so worth it. The mountains, gorge and open spaces are stunning.on a clear day with the blazing sun beating down, the mountains seemed to go on forever.
Locals frequent the area setting up picnic sites for the day. Camping can be anywhere. Lovely cascades and river bends. . The climb is gradual and not strenuous
You can walk from Karakol into the gorge,, but then you will probably not make it up to big mountain meadows at the end which would be a 6-7 hour one way walk. An option to to halfway by vehicle ( big old army truck is available) and started walking from there.
Jyrgalan valley is located 60 km east of Karakol in Ysyk Kol Province. It has stunning nature, waterfalls, mountains. Summer tourism includes: Hiking, trekking, base yurt camps, horseback riding, and sampling kymyz (mares milk). Winter tourism includes freeride skiing, snowshoe tours, snowcat and snowmobile tours.
The Jyrgalan valley is a short journey from Karakol, but largely untouched by tourism. The scenery is spectacular, with green meadows, wildflowers, pristine lakes, snowy peaks and dramatic views in all directions. The 3-day Box Uchuk lakes hike will take you across a river crossing on horseback that you will never forget Anyone who enjoys trekking will love this place!