Karakul is a lake where time stops. Description, interesting facts, origin


The area where one of the most beautiful lakes of Tajikistan is located is Karakul, severe and difficult to access. However, the flow of travelers here does not dry up, because this is one of those rare places where you can admire the virginal beauty of nature, which is very rare in our age.

Acquaintance with Karakul

Karakul Lake is the largest drainless lake in Tajikistan. It is located in the eastern part of the Pamirs on the lands of the autonomous Gorno-Badakhshan region of the country, in the Murghab district. You can get here by helicopter and by road. If you drive a car along the Pamir highway in the direction of the city of Osh, then the desired point will be located 130 km from the village of Murgab.


The name from the Turkic naming can be interpreted as "black lake". However, this is not entirely true. Depending on the refraction of the sun's light, the watery surface may take on a greenish, ultramarine, piercing blue hue, but not black at all. Most likely, the name is connected with the fact that in warm, windless weather the waters of the lake are transparent, and when the wind is strong, the waves take on an ominous dark color.

Lake Karakul in Tajikistan is not a place for swimming. Its bitter-salty water stays cold all year round. In winter, the pond freezes. Fishers will not be very interested here either - because of the nature of the waters, there is almost no fish here. Only in the mouths of small mountain streams, flowing into Karakul, flocks of small loaches float back and forth.

But come to the lake Karakul not for this. Here they enjoy a beautiful unique view - a reflection of the harsh heights of the Pamirs in seemingly bottomless blue waters, the gleam of a small picturesque valley. Especially fabulous view for descending from the Kyzylart pass. But in general, Karakul area is the most suitable place for mountain climbing.

Karakul Lake (Tajikistan): numbers

We offer a brief reference about the lake:

  1. The reservoir lies in the basin, which is located at 3914 m above sea level (Titicaca in the Andes is inferior to him at 100 m).
  2. This is the most extensive glacial-tectonic lake - its area without islands is 380 m 2 . The maximum depth of the reservoir is 236 m.
  3. Length - 33 km, width - 23 km.

Karakul, a lake in the mountains, is conventionally divided into two parts by the southern peninsula and the northern island (before it was connected to the shore by an isthmus). At the same time, the eastern half is quieter, shallow (the maximum depth is 22.5 m), with flat capes and cozy little bays, and the western one is deeper (this is where the greatest depth is recorded). Between them there is a kilometer strait.

Karakul Lake: interesting facts

Karakul is an unusual place on the map. And that's why:

  1. Overwhelming its length, the banks of the reservoir are reclined on ice. Its layer even lies on the lake bottom. Researchers are still debating about the appearance of these ices: whether it is part of the oldest glaciers, or a "descendant" of the ice "shield", which filled the hollow during the ice age, or under the influence of certain factors, it was formed today.
  2. The lake is constantly changing its size. This comes from the melting of ice on the shores - dips, straits, islets, mini-lakes are formed.
  3. The lake basin is considered the most deserted in the entire Pamirs - only 20 mm of precipitation falls here annually.
  4. Here was discovered the Oshkhona, the site of hunters of the Stone Age, dating back to the VIII millennium BC. e.

Description of Karakul

Across its diameter, Karakul, the Pamir Lake, is surrounded by majestic rocky ridges. In the west, they come close to the reservoir, in the east - retreat a little, opening the entrance to the valley.


The lake is fed by many mountain rivers - Muzkol, Karaart, Karadzhilga. It is drainless, it is considered "dead" because of the high salt content. Its water tastes like sea water - bitter-salty.

The shores of Karakul are solemnly deserted: in some places you can only meet sedge, solyanka, Pamirian buckwheat, and on the islands there are few settlements of Tibetan terns and brown-headed gulls.

Versions of Lake Origin

According to one hypothesis, it is believed that Karakul is a lake whose hollow has a tectonic origin. And the ancient glaciation affected the change in its structure.

According to the second version, more modern, based on satellite imagery and geological research, it can be concluded that Karakul is a lake formed as a result of the fall of a considerable meteorite 25 million years ago. The crater resulting from the landing of a cosmic body was 45 km in diameter.


The surroundings of Karakul

Near the eastern part of the lake there is a highway. Not far from it is the Kyrgyz village of Karakul, where travelers go in order to gain strength before the new campaign.

After admiring Karakul, you can descend into the famous Markansu Valley, which lies quite close - a few kilometers from the reservoir. Its name is frighteningly translated as "dead water", "valley of death", "valley of tornadoes". Now it is difficult to determine the true origin of the concept, but most researchers tend to think that this is due to the contrast between Markans and the bright blooming Alay Valley, from which ancient travelers traveled along the Pamir. Looking at the photo, their emotions become understandable.


Many will be interested to visit the ancient architectural ensemble of the middle of the first millennium AD. e., located in the village of Karaart, which is located a kilometer from the highway Murghab-Osh. The construction is remarkable in that it combines the observatory and artifacts of the worship of animal cult.

Karakul is one of the most wonderful places on earth, untouched by human hands. To get here is like being in timelessness, surrounded by the harsh beauty of rocky ridges, reflected in the endless blue water mirror of an ancient lake.

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