Issyk-Kul Region

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Issyk-Kul Region
Ысык-Көл областы
Иссык-Кульская область
Flag of Issyk-Kul Region
Coat of arms of Issyk-Kul Region
Coat of arms
Map of Kyrgyzstan, location of Issyk-Kul Region highlighted, with Lake Issyk-Kul in blue
Map of Kyrgyzstan, location of Issyk-Kul Region highlighted, with Lake Issyk-Kul in blue
Coordinates: 42°0′N 78°0′E / 42.000°N 78.000°E / 42.000; 78.000Coordinates: 42°0′N 78°0′E / 42.000°N 78.000°E / 42.000; 78.000
Country  Kyrgyzstan
Capital Karakol
 • Gubernator Mirbek Asanakunov
 • Total 43,100 km2 (16,600 sq mi)
Population (2015)
 • Total 463,900
 • Density 11/km2 (28/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+6 (East)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+6 (not observed)
ISO 3166 code KG-Y
Districts 5
Cities 3
Townships 5
Villages 175

Issyk-Kul Region (Kyrgyz: Ысык-Көл облусу, Isıq-Köl oblusu, ىسىق-كۅل وبلاستى; Russian: Иссык-Кульская область, Issyk-Kuljskaja oblastj) is one of the regions of Kyrgyzstan. Its capital is Karakol. It is surrounded by Almaty Region, Kazakhstan (north), Chuy Region (west), Naryn Region (southwest) and Xinjiang, China (southeast). It takes its name from Lake Issyk-Kul ("warm lake"), the second largest saline lake in the world, which never freezes despite its altitude in the Tian Shan mountains.


Lake Issyk-Kul at sundown
Ala-Kul Lake in the Terskey Alatau mountains

The north is dominated by the eye-shaped Issyk-Kul lake, surrounded by the ridges of the Tian Shan mountain system: the Kyungey Ala-Too mountains to the north and the Terskey Alatau to the south (the 'sunny' and 'shady' Alatau, respectively). To the south is mountains and 'jailoos' (mountain meadows used for summer grazing). The highest peaks of the Tian Shan mountains, including Khan Tengri, are located in the easternmost part of the region.

Most of the population of the region lives around the lake, in particular in the cities of Balykchy near the lake's western end, and Karakol near its eastern end.

Basic socio-economic indicators[edit]

  • Population: 463,900 (assessment for 1 January 2015) including 130,800 urban and 333,100 rural population[1]
  • Employed population: 180,300 (2008)[2]
  • Registered unemployed population: 4,902 (2008)[3]
  • Export: 18.8 million US dollars (2008)[4]
  • Import: 221.7 million US dollars (2008)[4]
  • Direct Foreign Investments: 1,1 million US dollars (in 2008)[5]


As of 2009, Issyk-Kul Region included three towns, five urban-type settlements, and 175 villages. Its de facto and permanent population, according to the Population and Housing Census of 2009, was 425,116 and 438,389 correspondingly.

Historical populations in Issyk-Kul Region
1999 415,513+1.4%
Note: de facto population; Source:[6]

Ethnic composition[edit]

According to the 2009 Census, the ethnic composition (de jure population) of Issyk-Kul Region was:[6]

Ethnic group Population Proportion of Issyk-Kul Region population
Kyrgyzs 377,994 86.2%
Russians 35,275 8.0%
Kazakhs 6,464 1.5%
Uygurs 3,897 0.9%
Kalmyks 3,801 0.9%
Dungans 3,124 0.7%
Uzbeks 2,982 0.7%
Tatars 2,098 0.5%
Ukrainians 1,170 0.3%
other groups 1,584 0.3%


The railroad coming from the northwest (from Bishkek) ends at Balykchy. The main highway (A365) from Bishkek passes through Balykchy and into the Naryn Region on its way to the Torugart Pass into China. Highway A363 circles the lake and A362 runs east from the lake into Kazakhstan. Issyk-Kul International Airport and Karakol International Airport link the region with Almaty in Kazakhstan. Cholpon-Ata Airport and Tamga Airport have no regular flights.


On the plateau between the north shore of Lake Issyk-Kul and the Kyungei Alatau Range (near Tamchy)

The region, which resembles the Alps or Colorado, would be a major tourist destination were it not for its remoteness, underdeveloped infrastructure, and growing conflict between Kyrgyz nationalists and independence factions, which in December 2008 flared up again, killing 39 civilians. Currently, it is visited mostly by locals who use the Soviet-era establishments around the lake and the more adventurous sort of international tourist.


A mosque in Tamchy village, Issyk-Kul Region

Issyk-Kul is divided administratively into five districts:[7]

District Capital Map
Ak-Suu District Karakol Kyrgyzstan Ak-Suu Raion.png
Jeti-Ögüz District Kyzyl-Suu Kyrgyzstan Jeti-Ögüz Raion.png
Tong District Bokonbaev Kyrgyzstan Tong Raion.png
Tüp District Tüp Kyrgyzstan Tüp Raion.png
Issyk-Kul District Cholpon-Ata Kyrgyzstan Ysyk-Köl Raion.png


  • Laurence Mitchell, Kyrgyzstan, Bradt Travel Guides, 2008

External links[edit]