abandoned town Enilchek
During the Soviet time from the 1930s to the 50s, various industrial towns were built across the Soviet Union and Kyrgyzstan is not an exception. Several towns were built deep in the heart of Kyrgyz Tian Shan ranges. Among them are Min Kush, Balykchy, Ak Tyuz, Mailuu Suu, Kok Jangak, Enylchek and Jyrgalan. After the collapse of the Soviet Union these once blooming, full industrial settlements, turned into empty and mostly abandoned towns. At the furthest corner of the mountain valleys of Eastern Kyrgyzstan, near the Chinese border lies Enilchek (Inylcheck, inilcheck or Engilcheck) which is also one of the most comprehensively deserted Soviet industrial towns in Kyrgyzstan.
Enilchek is located in Sary-Jaz valley, about 150 km southeast from Karakol at the height of 2500 m. The region is wealthy with deposits of minerals like tungsten, tin, molybdenum and other metals and therefore Soviet mining operations started here at the beginning of 1980s. During the Soviet Union era it was prestigious for the youth to get employed here. After the orders from the motherland ceased, the life in the city started to fade away due to unemployment. Today the population consists of less than 30 families. Engilchek truly reminds a ghost town where you can see discarded infrastructure and empty broken blocks of flats, houses, hospitals, etc. The abandoned mine can also be easily seen just Southeast from the town.
During the last years the town has gotten some of its life back in the form of dark tourism enthusiasts who come to see the status of the town and enjoy the dilapidated appearance of everything. Some tour operators offer ready made packages from Karakol making it easy to visit the town high in the middle of the mountains. For nature likers there are also large a glaciers about 50 km away from the town the most famous being the Enilchek glacier and the third highest peak of Kyrgyzstan called Khan Tengri. Otherwise the nature is fairly poor due to the small amount of rain and the high elevation. Lower along the road closer to the Issyk Kul area there are many places with lush green nature though.
Enilchek hot spring
There is a little known hot spring near Enilchek village. It is a large natural hot spring with a wide area and it is not very deep but can offer some warm, mineral rich baths in the otherwise mostly cold environment of Enilchek.
Get a border zone permit before you go to Engilchek
Enilchek village is located in the border area between Kyrgyzstan and China. Engilcheck territory is enhanced as a border zone following the agreement between China and Kyrgyzstan to set a borderline 50 km from the main border. The border zone permit can be acquired in Bishkek, Naryn or Karakol.