Your Unofficial Guide to Kyrgyz Republic

Karakol Series: Yesterday and Today

Karakol Series: Yesterday and Today

GO KG is publishing Karakol Series, a number of articles about Karakol prepared by 'Leadership' Youth Volunteer Organization.

'Preserving the cultural heritage of Karakol' project was initiated by 'Leadership' Youth Volunteer Organization in cooperation with the Issyk-Kul District State Archive and 'Issyk-Kul Wave' radio station with the support of Internews. The project's objectives include the following: 1) contribution to the preservation of the architectural heritage of Karakol; 2) development of an interactive online map showing the historical sites of the city; 3) a media campaign to attract the attention of local residents and to develop civic engagement. More about the project is available here.

‘Leadership’ YVO team took part in the Laboratory of Media and Social Innovations in Dushanbe (Tajikistan) organized by the Internews Network in Central Asia from May 21 to May 23, 2017.

Lab is a social project for solving socially significant problems and addressing the needs of inhabitants of Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan.

Such events are a good tool to stimulate the participation of youth, civil society and the IT community in the implementation of socially significant media initiatives.

Our team presented the project of ‘Creating an Internet platform about the historical heritage of Karakol’.

Following the results of the Laboratory, a team of experts and mentors supported one idea from each participating country. Our idea became the winner from the Kyrgyz Republic, and thereby we won a grant to implement the idea.

We express our gratitude to all the mentors and organizers of the Laboratory 2017!
— 'Leadership' YVO

Every city has a past and a present. Let us not run ahead and focus only on the future, but instead take a look at our beloved Karakol in the light of yesterday and today.

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The city of Karakol represents the Issyk-Kul region with its rich historical heritage and unique architectural appearance. It is a multinational student city focused on the intellectual and spiritual development of people. 

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In 1872 there were 150 inhabitants in Karakol, mostly Tatars and Uzbeks. Today there are 92 874 people in the city. In addition to Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Russians, Dungans and Uighurs (the main population of Karakol), Georgians, Lithuanians, Estonians, Latvians, Armenians, Jews, Belorussians, Moldovans, Chechens, Turkmens, Germans, Ukrainians, Koreans, Azerbaijanis, Tajiks, Turks and Kazakhs also live here. Before the revolution, each nationality settled in separate streets, creating entire districts with their own characteristic buildings.

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It is no less interesting that many of the natives of our glorious city are famous people.

For instance, Zabirov Rashid Dzhamalievich (1918-1980): director of the Tien-Shan physics and geographical station of the Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz SSR; 

Rodionov Piotr Ivanovich (1978-1995): General Director of Lentransgaz JSC and Minister of Fuel and Energy of the Russian Federation (1996); 

Grigory Melentievich Shemiakin: marksman of the 1075 Infantry Regiment of the 316 Infantry Division of the 16 Army of the Western Front, Hero of the Soviet Union; 

Chaban Sergei Yakovlevich: Major-General of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, plenipotientary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Samara Region. 

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Tugolbai Sydykbekov (1912-1997) was not born in Karakol. But after the death of his father, the mother of the three-year-old Tugolbai, together with her family, moved her family from an isolated farm in Ken-Soo to the city, where she worked for a Russian language teacher. In Karakol the future writer graduated from a five-year Russian school, a ten-year school and went on to study at the agricultural technical school and veterinarian institute. Therefore, on July 1, 2012, by order of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism the regional library #136 was named after T. Sydykbekov, "the Kyrgyz Soviet writer, the People's Writer of the Kyrgyz SSR and winner of the Stalin Prize of the third degree (1949)".

Our library is interesting not only from an historical point of view, but also because it is unique. The building contains the Book Museum and the library's fund numbers about three thousand copies. The pride of the department of old books are rare editions of works by Shakespeare and Tolstoy, as well as perfectly illustrated collections of "Life of the Sea" (1896), "Our Ballet" (1899), "Kashgariya and the passes of the Tien Shan" (1888) and many more. Many books stem from the private prerevolutionary collections of famous historical figures who lived and worked in the Issyk Kul area — I. Korolkova, N. Barsov, N. Przhevalsky, A. Mikhailov, P. Kozlov, V. Roborovsky, B. Kaplun and S. Benediktov. It is from these heavy, leather-bound book donations that the present regional library was formed in the far 1902. 

How many more interesting and unusual stories can we tell?

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The main source of water supply and irrigation is the Karakol river, which cuts through the western part of the city. Did you know that the first water intake lines were laid in 1955-1957? Today the Karakol water utility enterprise provides the city and the nearby villages of Chelpek, Zholgolot and Pristan-Przhevalsk with drinking water.

Not far from Karakol there is an interesting body of water — Lake Issyk-Kul. It is the second largest salt lake in the world after the Caspian Sea (which is a sea only nominally), and in terms of transparency it is second to Lake Baikal. It is little known that scientists have proved that Issyk-Kul is part of the Pacific Ocean, with which the lake is connected through a lot of underground rivers. Here, on the shores of the pearl of the Kyrgyz Republic, the traveler N.M. Przhevalsky is buried and there stands the monument to his memory.

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In Soviet years, when most of the monuments of tsarist times were destroyed, no one dared to touch the monument to Przhevalsky. It became one of the main sights of the eastern Kyrgyz Republic and a mandatory visit point for important guests. The first cosmonaut in the world Yuri Alekseevich Gagarin –has also visited it.

I was a schoolboy. We were in front of the military sanatorium to meet Gagarin. He arrived on the Black Volga or the Chayka, I don’t remember. The car stopped near the checkpoint. Gagarin came out and went down the avenue, and we ran to meet him. What I remember well is the tubeteika, which Yuri Alekseevich wore. I was puzzled and wondered why he didn’t wear a Kyrgyz kalpak. Then I read in the newspaper that he flew to us immediately from Tashkent. Here we had a military airfield in Tamga, Yak-40 and biplanes used to fly there. Gagarin arrived there. First he went to Tamga and he also visited the Barskoon Gorge. Then he appeared in Pokrovka and Karakol. All in a day. But he liked our places. Yes, it’s no wonder, we live here, and we cannot stop enjoying our places.
— Askar Ashanovich Shakeev, recalling how he saw Gagarin back when he was a high school student.

The Karakol museum of history and local history, located in the western central part of the city, tells about the history of our region as best as possible. It's an interesting exposition in a small one-story prerevolutionary house on a street in the style of the XIX century, the so-called "Merchant Passage". The road and sidewalks are paved with stone as they used to be 120 years ago. Lamps, benches and trash bins made in the style of the XIX century are installed, and the facade and roof of the building are also completely restored. The museum is located in a building built in 1887, which was once a private house of a merchant and a cattle-breeder M.N. Ilyin

The museum was opened in 1948 on November 1st and will celebrate its 170th birthday in 2018. From 1948 to 1961 the museum was called "Issyk-Kul State Museum named after N.M. Przhevalsky of the Ministry of Culture of the Kyrgyz SSR". 

On January 17th 2001 the museum was renamed to "Historical and Local History Museum of the Karakol City" on the basis of the Resolution of the Karakol City Council.

In the 1970s and 1980s Karakol stood out among other cities of the Kyrgyz Republic as one of the centers of the food and light industries. The food industry of the city was represented by a fruit-and-vegetable processing plant as well as milk, beer, and grain factories and a mill. Two large enterprises played an important role in the city's light industry: a sewing factory and a shoe factory. The city also used to have a consumer service establishment. The electrotechnical factory was engaged in metalworking as well as several workshops: appliances repair places, construction depatments, car depots and etc. A furniture factory started operating in 1962 and worked till the collapse of the Soviet Union.

 The building of the inter-district base on the 50 years of Kyrgyz Republic street (now Kydyr Ake street)

The building of the inter-district base on the 50 years of Kyrgyz Republic street (now Kydyr Ake street)

 Przhevalsky Brewery (administrative unit)

Przhevalsky Brewery (administrative unit)

 Przhevalsky thermal power plant

Przhevalsky thermal power plant

Karakol had an impressive construction industry, represented by a dozen organizations and enterprises for the production of building materials. Among others these were a brick factory, production facilities for reinforced concrete products, construction and installation units, a road-building company, a repair and construction department, and a mobile column convoy. 

Currently we are witnessing an opposite situation — alas, but now there are no plants and factories, and there are only walls left of workshops. And all the equipment the former had was sold out.

Modern Karakol entirely relies on private entrepreneurs. Regrettably, there is no hope that their work will be permanent: Today some shops are opened, others tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow there is neither one nor the other.

Karakol was also considered the largest cultural center in the Issyk-Kul basin. In addition to the teacher's college, an agricultural school trained specialists in zookeeping and technological, agriculture and veterinary sciences and had the only forestry department in the Kyrgyz Republic. 

There was a community center in the city with seven amateur art groups. Now modern Karakol also has a community center, but not many people know about it.

 Community center. A district congress of the Soviets took place on 26.06.18 in this building. The city government sat here until 1918.

Community center. A district congress of the Soviets took place on 26.06.18 in this building. The city government sat here until 1918.

 Students in a laboratory, 1960.

Students in a laboratory, 1960.

 Teachers 1950.

Teachers 1950.

Will the city develop? Will it grow? Will its facilities be expanded? Will it improve economically?

We didn't want to look far ahead, but we found out that the mayor's office has a vision for the further transformation of Karakol. 

This vision sketches the goals which the city wants to achieve in the next 10 to 15 years. Despite the laconic form, the statement is not abstract and has meaningful content. Developing such statements is a common task for a city and like any other goal, it must be regularly monitored and evaluated. The various elements and their significance are presented in detail below. Together with the indicators, there are targets on the basis of which a future assessment will be possible. Monitoring and evaluation of this vision are also a way of monitoring and evaluating the overall socioeconomic situation in the municipality.

1. FIRST ELEMENT — "A FACE OF THE ISSYK-KUL REGION"

Karakol is an administrative, industrial, cultural and intellectual center of the Issyk-Kul region. The city is the largest populated area in the region with a rich historical heritage and a multinational population. Karakol is a tourist center of an international importance. 
 

POTENTIAL INDICATORS:
Potential indicators: presence of the regional center status, number of operating industrial enterprises, objects of culture, education, healthcare, composition of national groups, population. 

2. THE SECOND ELEMENT — "A RICH HISTORICAL HERITAGE AND A UNIQUE ARCHITECTURAL APPEARANCE"

Karakol is one of a few cities in the Kyrgyz Republic with a unique town planning layout and with an architecture in which elements of eastern culture and russian merchants of the late XIX century are mixed. The city has a strict rectangular layout and is buried in the green of gardens, silver poplars and coniferous trees.

POTENTIAL INDICATORS:

Potential indicators: number of objects of historical and cultural heritage, number of green areas, number of violations of the urban development rules.

3. THE THIRD ELEMENT — "A CENTER OF INTERNATIONAL TOURISM WITH A DEVELOPED SERVICES INDUSTRY" 

Karakol is an administrative, industrial, cultural and intellectual center of the Issyk-Kul region. The city is the largest populated area in the region with a rich historical heritage and a multinational population. Karakol is a tourist center of an international importance. 

POTENTIAL INDICATORS:

Potential indicators: number of tourists, number of hotels and hotel rooms, number of travel agencies, information and tourist centers, number of types of services provided, size of income from tourism services, presence of an operating airport, number of people employed by tourism.

4. THE FOURTH ELEMENT — "PROCESSING INDUSTRY PRODUCING ECO-FRIENDLY PRODUCTS"

The city is a center of the processing industry of the region focused on production and export of eco-friendly products. A presence of a competitive market and favorable conditions for SMEs development.

POTENTIAL INDICATORS:

Potential indicators: number of SMEs in the processing industry, volume of export, volume of investment into the processing industry. 

5. FIFTH ELEMENT — "A MULTINATIONAL CITY"

Karakol is a city with representatives of various ethnic groups, which positively influences the development of each of them, through the interchange of national cultural traditions. The city of Karakol guarantees equal rights to representatives of all nationalities. The city has the House of Friendship, which unites and develops all national communities, which is the key for the development of international, cultural, educational and economic ties. 

POTENTIAL INDICATORS:

Potential indicators: percentage of ethnic groups in the city's total population, number of national communities and associations, number of cultural events held by these communities, number of agreements with foreign countries on the development of inter-ethnic relations, level of migration, operating House of Friendship.

6. SIXTH ELEMENT — "A CITY OF STUDENTS AIMED AT INTELLECTUAL AND SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN POTENTIAL"

Karakol is a regional center with a large network of educational institutions with good resources, where children and youth from all over the region study. The secondary education system prepares high-quality graduates for universities. The city produces young professionals and experts for other regions and countries. Each citizen of the city seeks to learn more and shares his/her knowledge with others. Intellectual and educated citizens together with active student youth have a beneficial effect on the overall development of the city. 

POTENTIAL INDICATORS:

Potential indicators: number of universities, schools, secondary schools, kindergartens, number of students in secondary schools, students and researchers, number of employed graduates; number of operating libraries and museums, number of visitors to libraries and museums, number of educational institutions with access to internet, number of student, youth organizations and movements, number of events organized by students, youth organizations and movements.


7. SEVENTH ELEMENT — "HARMONIOUS AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENT OF HABITATION"

Karakol is an administrative, industrial, cultural and intellectual center of the Issyk-Kul region. The city is the largest populated area in the region with a rich historical heritage and a multinational population. Karakol is a tourist center of an international importance.

 

POTENTIAL INDICATORS:

Number of trees, level of air pollution, number of recreation areas, cultural and entertainment locations, opinion of citizens; number of parks, a community center.

 Do you know that the landmark of the city is Ashlianfu, a dish of Dungan cuisine? The local recipe is famous in the entire Kyrgyz Republic so you should try it. Ingredients include noodles, gravy, garlic, vinegar and cornstarch. Ashlianfu is served cold, so it is great during a summer heat. And if you order a "meat version", you'll be full for half a day, except repeating that in the evening — it's very filling and delicious.

Do you know that the landmark of the city is Ashlianfu, a dish of Dungan cuisine? The local recipe is famous in the entire Kyrgyz Republic so you should try it. Ingredients include noodles, gravy, garlic, vinegar and cornstarch. Ashlianfu is served cold, so it is great during a summer heat. And if you order a "meat version", you'll be full for half a day, except repeating that in the evening — it's very filling and delicious.

GO KG's Bishkek Events Guide Weekly

GO KG's Bishkek Events Guide Weekly

GO KG's Bishkek Events Guide Weekly

GO KG's Bishkek Events Guide Weekly