Karakol is the largest city in Yssyk-Kol Oblast, set among stunning Central Tien Shan looming above on three sides. It is a quiet and calm, provincial site located near the eastern extremity of Yssyk-Kol Lake and at the foot of those high majestic mountains – Pobeda Peak (7,439m) and Khan Tengri (6,995m). Founded by Russian settlers in the 19th century, the city has yet to shed the ambience of that time. In town, a Dungan Mosque and the Russian Orthodox Church are well preserved and architecturally impressive. In the area, a museum and monument to the Russian explorer Nicolai Przhevalskiy draw visitors, while Flowers Valley, hot mineral spring at Altyn-Arashan and Jety-Oguz, the alpine lake of Ala-Kol, and numerous picturesque gorges offer excellent opportunities for more active relaxing in the Tien-Shan.
Karakol is also famed for its Sunday cattle market, starting its brisk trade early in the morning, at dawn. Dashing thoroughbred horses, pedigree cows or well-fed sheep are awaiting their masters. It will be interesting for the town's guests to observe scenes from consumers and merchants' daily life.
Karakol gives easy access to Yssyk-Kol Lake, Ak-Suu, Altyn-Arashan, the fabled Karakol Valley and the road to Inylcheck Glacier. Though distant from the capital, Karakol holds its share of big-city amenities: cold beer, soft-serve ice cream, credit card advances, relatively reliable Internet and good cafés – all just a short hop from some of the most spectacular mountains in Asia.
You can get to Karakol (400km) by bus or shared taxi from the Western bus terminal in Bishkek.
Kyrgyz embassies now issue visas without letters
of support. All foreigners staying in the country for
more than three days are expected to register with
the Office of Visas & Regulations (OVIR), preferably
in Bishkek. A stamp from Bishkek is good for the whole
country and normally lasts a month.
I was on a 3 month Soviet Russian visa and
it ran out in KaraKol and managed to extend it,
because our friend new the lady working at Ovir.
I don't want to spend all day at my PC.
Lots and lots of fond memories.