With Mt Kongur at the background
Coordinates38°26′44″N 75°03′13″E / 38.44556°N 75.05361°E / 38.44556; 75.05361Coordinates: 38°26′44″N 75°03′13″E / 38.44556°N 75.05361°E / 38.44556; 75.05361
Basin countriesChina
Surface area4.8 km2 (1.9 sq mi)
Max. depth242 m (794 ft)
Surface elevation3,645 m (11,959 ft)
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese喀拉庫勒湖
Simplified Chinese喀拉库勒湖
Kirghiz name

The Karakul or Karakuli (Uighur: قاراكۆل, romanizedQaraköl, Қаракөл, lit. "black lake"),[1] is a lake located 196 km southwest of Kashgar,[2] Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. It is located in Akto County, Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture on the Karakoram Highway, before reaching Tashkurgan, the Khunjerab Pass on the China - Pakistan border and Sost in Pakistan.

At an altitude of 3,600 m, it is the highest lake of the Pamir plateau, near the junction of the Pamir, Tian Shan and Kunlun mountain ranges. Surrounded by mountains which remain snow-covered throughout the year, the three highest peaks visible from the lake are the Muztagh Ata (7,546 m), Kongur Tagh (7,649 m) and Kongur Tiube (7,530 m). The lake is popular among travellers for its scenery and the clarity of its reflection in the water, whose color ranges from a dark green to azure and light blue.[citation needed] There are two Kirgiz settlements along the shore of Karakul lake, a small number of yurts about 1 km east of the bus drop-off point and a village with stone houses located on the western shores.

  • Karakul Lake, with Muztag Ata across the lake
    Karakul Lake, with Muztag Ata across the lake
  • Chinese Tourists at Little Karakul Lake. 2011
    Chinese Tourists at Little Karakul Lake. 2011


  1. ^ Bonavia (2004), p. 348.
  2. ^ Bonavia (2004), p. 337.