Destination Detail

Karakul Lake

Pamir Plateau region

Karakul is the largest lake in East Pamir, situated at an altitude of 3914 meters above sea level and with a depth of 236 meters. Despite its name, which translates to "The black lake," Karakul's water displays colors of ultramarine, blue, and greenish hues, influenced by sunlight refraction. The lake's formation during the Ice Age has resulted in some of its shores being covered with permafrost.

Previously believed to have a tectonic origin, recent analysis of satellite imagery suggests that Karakul was actually formed approximately 25 million years ago by a meteorite impact. The crater resulting from the impact has a diameter of 45 kilometers, and islands formed in its center can be seen at the northern and southern ends of the lake.

Karakul's bitter and salty water, which remains cold year-round, freezes in winter. Despite its transparency during calm weather, strong winds can cause the water to appear black, giving the lake its name.

Surrounded by high mountains on three sides, Karakul's eastern side opens up to a small picturesque valley, offering breathtaking views for travelers descending from the Kyzylart Pass (4,280 meters). The region also provides opportunities for mountain ascensions.