Arabel valley

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Arabel Valley
Arabel Valley overlooking one of the high-mountain lakes
Arabel Valley overlooking one of the high-mountain lakes
Country: Kyrgyzstan
Location: Issyk-Kul region
Coordinates: 42° 8'22.86" N, 77° 7'42.97" E
Map of Kyrgyzstan
Map of Kyrgyzstan
Arabel Valley
Arabel Valley on the map of Kyrgyzstan

Arabel – a high-mountain unique plateau, a valley located in the Issyk-Kul region of Kyrgyzstan, several tens of kilometers from the southern coast of Issyk-Kul.

Geography of the Valley

The valley is situated within the Terskey Ala-Too mountain system, in the southern part of Issyk-Kul, several tens of kilometers from its southern coast, at an elevation of about 3800 meters. The valley covers an area of approximately 500 square kilometers.

The climate of the valley is quite harsh, with an average annual temperature of only 5-7 degrees Celsius. Therefore, even in summer, one can experience "four seasons in a day," with warm high-mountain weather, cool autumn and spring, and even winter with snowfall. Snow remains on the mountaintops even in summer, making the place very contrasting, where green meadows (only grass, moss, and lichen grow at such altitudes) coexist with high-mountain glaciers.

The valley is also known for having dozens of high-mountain lakes of different sizes within its territory. They are formed due to the melting of local glaciers, which give rise to numerous rivers.

It is believed that such a unique landscape was formed due to a glacier that once existed here, which created numerous depressions where lakes appeared over time.

Excursion Route

The Arabel Valley is located approximately 100 km west of the regional center, Karakol, or 340 km from the capital city, Bishkek. The road to the valley passes through the village and the eponymous Barskoon Gorge. The journey to the plateau is quite long. It takes about five hours to reach the village of Barskoon from Bishkek and one and a half hours from Karakol. Then, it takes an additional 1.5 to 2 hours through the gorge to reach the valley. To explore the local mountains and lakes, it is recommended to plan 1-2 hours.

Despite the long journey, it will leave only positive impressions of the magnificent nature, landscapes, mountains, and rivers.

Interesting Facts

The valley is home to one of the largest gold deposits in Kyrgyzstan, where the largest Canadian company "Centerra Gold" operated for more than 20 years. Currently, it is a 100% state-owned company called "Kumtor Mine." Over time, more than 300 tons of gold have been extracted from the mine. The company's activities have been involved in major international and corruption scandals.

Photographs of the valley

Author's Note

Arabel Valley is a unique place, a distinctive high-mountain tundra with picturesque landscapes of mountains, lakes, and glaciers. If you've decided to travel along the southern coast of Issyk-Kul, and especially if you've decided to visit Barskoon Gorge, then it's definitely worth continuing your journey to the valley. It will only take an additional 4-5 hours, and the emotions will stay with you for a lifetime. If you have any questions, comments, or additions to the article, please leave your messages on the discussion page.

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