Karakul Lake, Pamir Highway

The highest part of Pamir highway is adorned with the Karakul Lake. Located at an altitude of 3914 m its name is translated as “The Black Lake”. Pamir highway lies several hundred meters from the shores of this natural sight, and one can enjoy the view of the lake for 40 km. There is also a village with the same name, Karakul, that stands out with its severe view.

The Karakul Lake has an area of 380 square km it stretches for 33 km from north to south, and 24 km from east to west. A big island is located in the middle of it dividing Karakul to two parts: eastern part has depth for 22 meters, and differs with smooth descent to waters; its western part is more abrupt and the depth goes down to 236meters. Even though this drainless lake is supplied with neighboring mountain glaciers, water in Karakul is salty. In summer, water temperature reaches 12 degrees Celsius, and in winter, it goes down to zero and the lake is covered with 1 meter thick ice.

Karakul Lake, Pamir Highway
Karakul Lake, Pamir Highway
Karakul Lake, Pamir Highway

Beauty of the Karakul Lake is not only about its bright blue color, but also picturesque landscape of snow-capped peaks of Pamir reflected in waters. There is a row of seven thousanders around the lake; Peaks of Lenin and Avicenna are the ones to outstand. Moreover, due to the big height, sky seems closer and is deep in color. At night, you can enjoy bright light of Milky Way.

Located on the eastern side of the lake, Karakul village reminds a post-apocalyptic settlement. One-storey clay houses are painted in white, and absence of planning has created a small labyrinth. Mainly, the Kyrgyz inhabit there, as it is only 50 km to the border with Kyrgyzstan. There is no infrastructure; only a small school and few guesthouses to stay for an overnight. Apart from that, electricity is available only in the morning and evening.

Karakul Lake, Pamir Highway
Karakul Lake, Pamir Highway
Karakul Lake, Pamir Highway