World / Asia / Tajikistan
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Tajikistan is the smallest country in Central Asia, but here, in the area of just over 141 thousand square kilometers, there is a huge number of natural and historical monuments.
The UNESCO World Heritage List includes several places in Tajikistan, and the Fann Mountains are among them. It is an amazingly beautiful land of lakes and snow-capped peaks, lying at the junction of two great ranges of the Pamir-Alay-Zarafshan and Gissar, near the famous ancient city of Samarkand.
The mountain chain includes tens of five-thousanders and four-thousanders, the highest point is Chimtarga peak (5494 meters). Giant steps of stone embankments were formed by ancient glaciers. They surround picturesque valleys, gorges and passes; rough rivers and lakes, the water of which changes its color from gently green to dark purple, are scattered among them.
The largest lake of the Fann Mountains is Iskanderkul with an area of 3.4 square km and a depth of 72 meters. It owes its name to the great conqueror of antiquity Alexander the Great: his name in Central Asia is pronounced as “Iskander”. According to legend, the commander was passing through the Fann Mountains with his army, and during his stay on the lake’s shores his favorite horse, Bucephalus, drowned.
Iskanderkul is 2200 meters above sea level and is surrounded on all sides by mountains, the snowy tops of which are reflected in its calm mirror-like surface. The rushing Iskanderdarya River flows out of it, forming a 38-meter waterfall that is called the “Niagara of Funk”.
There are about 1,450 lakes in total on the territory of Tajikistan. The largest in the country is Karakul. It lies in a flat mountain valley at an altitude of 3,914 meters in the northern Pamirs, its length – up to 33 km, width – 24 km, surface area – 380 km². In the middle is a huge island, which divides Karakul in two parts: the eastern 22 meters deep with smooth banks, and a precipitous western, where the depth reaches 236 meters. Around the lake there is a chain of seven-thousanders, and among them stands out one of the highest peaks of Central Asia – Lenin Peak (7134 m). Although this drainless lake with bright blue water is fed by glaciers from the surrounding mountains, its water is very salty.
In the south of Tajikistan there is a small mountain range “Childukhtaron,” which means “Valley of the Forty Girls. There are two legends explaining this name. It is believed that when invaders came to the area with the intention of making the girls their concubines, they prayed to Allah, and he turned them into blocks of stone. It is also said that the rocks appeared after a fierce battle with Genghis Khan’s troops. Defending their land, 40 young horsewomen blocked the way of the conquerors. They died one by one, and in that place grew huge stones blocking the way of the enemies.
Childukhtaron Valley is famous not only for its beautiful landscapes: there are many petroglyphs with a variety of rock paintings, from everyday life to hunting scenes.
In the south-east of the country there is another historical site – the stone city-fortress of Karon, which has been compared to the legendary Machu Picchu. It is located in the historic region of Darvaz, on the ancient caravan road to Khorog, covering an area of about 100 hectares.
Karon was discovered in 2012 by archaeologist Yusufsho Yakubov, and excavations are still going on here. Archaeologists found the remains of playgrounds, an amphitheater, an observatory, a windmill, temples and sanctuaries, a cemetery, residential buildings, towers and a waterworks. The whole complex of buildings is believed to be a royal palace. The city was abandoned in the 15th century – probably because of the depletion of water resources.
In translation from the Persian “Karon” means “lying at altitude”: the fortress was established at about 2000 meters above sea level. Below flows the Pyandj River, one of the main rivers of Tajikistan, the left tributary of the Amu Darya.
Take a bird’s eye view of these majestic, legendary landscapes!
The most interesting facts about Tajikistan
Tajikistan is a unique country that has preserved its unique rituals and traditions since ancient times. Unparalleled natural beauty and well preserved historical monuments of Tajikistan will not leave anyone indifferent. Especially popular country for lovers of rafting and mountain climbing. Exceptionally delicious national cuisine made of natural, ecologically clean products deserves special attention.
About the mountains
More than 93% of the country is occupied by mountains. The southeastern part of the country is the Pamir. In the central and north-western part of the country are the Altai, Turkestan, Zeravshan and Gissar ranges.
The Ismoil Somoni Peak
The highest point of the country is the peak Ismoil Somoni, 7495 meters high. It used to be called Communism Peak. The five highest peaks of Tajikistan also include Lenin Peak, Korzhenevskaya Peak, Independence Peak and Moscow Peak.
The Fann Mountains
The most picturesque mountains in Tajikistan are the Fann Mountains, which are appreciated not only for their marvelous scenery, but also for their unique climate. It is in these mountains that the greatest number of mountain hikes are organized. The best time for climbing is July-September.
About Pamir Botanical Garden
The High Pamir Garden was founded in 1940 in the outskirts of the town of Khorog. It is at an altitude of 3000 meters and the second highest in the world, second only to the Botanical Garden of Nepal. On the territory of the garden, occupying 624 hectares, there are about 4,000 species of plants. They have been imported from almost all regions of the planet. The microclimate in different parts of the park can vary significantly, allowing you to choose a place for green pets according to their preferences.
In honor of the fifteen republics that were part of the USSR, a group of 15 poplars was planted in the garden. They are planted in a circle and grow very close to each other. The Union collapsed, but the poplars continue to grow.
Lake Sarez is a little over a hundred years old. It was formed as a result of a strong earthquake in 1911 when a landslide that descended in the gorge swept away the village of Usoi and blocked the Murghab River bed. Lake Sarez is the largest alpine lake in the world. Tourists who want to admire this attraction must obtain a special pass.
The fantastically beautiful lake, according to scientists, poses a potential threat. If the lake breaks through a dam or gushes over the edge as a result of a new landslide, it will threaten disaster not only for Tajikistan but also for neighboring countries.
Valley of 40 Girls
The name of the valley Childukhtaron translates as the valley of forty girls. Its main attraction are the pyramidal rocks. According to legend, the stone blocks were once beautiful girls who asked Allah to turn them into stones to avoid the fate of concubines.
Local women have developed a beautiful tradition, every spring they decorate the area with satin ribbons and flowers.
About the Nurek Hydroelectric Power Plant
The Nurek Hydroelectric Power Plant is the flagship of Tajikistan’s energy industry. It generates 80% of the country’s electricity. However, it does not meet the needs of the country, and the shortage of electricity is especially acute in winter. The Nurek HPP is one of the highest dams in the world – 304 meters.
Is one of the largest glaciers in the world. Its length is 77 kilometers, and the width in some places reaches 3100 meters, the thickness of the ice – up to 1 kilometer. The upper end of the glacier is at an altitude of 6280 m, the lower end – 2900 m.
At a distance of 250 million kilometers from Earth, between Mars and Jupiter around the Sun moves planet Tajikistan with a period of revolution equal to five years. With this name, the International Society of Astrophysicists emphasized the enormous contribution of Tajik scientists in the study of celestial bodies.
Lake Alexander the Great
Lake Iskanderkul is the jewel of the Fann Mountains and one of the calling cards of Tajikistan. The lake was named after Alexander the Great. The locals willingly tell legends about the great commander, which, however, have no historical confirmation. In the vicinity of the incredibly beautiful lake is a Snake Lake and a 43-meter waterfall.
About the pilaf
The most popular dish of Tajik cuisine is pilaf. It is cooked in a thick-walled cauldron with mandatory compliance with the sequence of charges and duration of processing. It is served hot on a big dish. Traditionally, pilaw is to be eaten with hands. However, this tradition is becoming increasingly rare.
Garm-Chashma is a unique resort located among the magnificent mountain ranges of the Pamirs. It is famous for its thermal springs. Their water is saturated with a lot of useful substances that are necessary for the normal functioning of the body. The locals even claim that the water from the springs is able to heal even the hopelessly ill. Believe it or not, everyone decides for himself.