Dushanbe, the capital of the republic of Tajikistan, is located in the picturesque and fertile
Gissar valley 750m-930 meters above sea level. Though the city itself is not that old still
there are ruins of the ancient sites of Greek-Baktrian realm (IIIc BC) found on the territory
of the city. Prior to Revolution of 1917 instead of Dushanbe town there were 3 small villages
("kishlaks") - Sary Asiya, Shahmansur and Dushanbe (the latter meaning "Monday"). On 14th July
1922 Soviet power was proclaimed in Dushanbe which later was given a status of town and a
capital city of Tajik Soviet Autonomous Republic though only 46 houses were there and about
300 people lived there. Gradually formerly small village had developed into a green, modern
cultural and industrial city with population of more than 600 thousand.
Since 1929 till 1961 the city was called Stalinabad and then given its
old name back. >>
Pendjikent (in Tajik means "five villages") is a little town in the Khudjant region of
Tajikistan located in the picturesque valley of Zerafshan River, 70km east from Samarkand.
In V-VIII cc AD Pendjikent was one of the most important cultural and commercial centres of
Zorooastrist Sogdiana. The town was destroyed by Arabs in VIII c and the ruins of the town
for more than 30 years have been an object of permanent scientific research formerly by
Soviet and presently by Russian archaeologists. Tourists visiting the excavation site can
see the unveiled foundations and wall and ruins of houses of craftsmen, temples and
administrative buildings as well as citadel and a palace, found by archaeologists.
The findings - ceramics, jewellery, wood pillars, frescos and other household items
of the VIII c AD can be seen in the well-laid Museum of History and Ethnography in
Pendjikent as well as in Hermitage in St. Petersburg and in the Historical Museum of
Tashkent. A good display of items and information telling the visitor of the country
development from ancient times to our days is available in the Rudaki Museum. Notably,
famous poet of the IX cAD Abu Abdullo Rudaki lived in Pendjikent for certain time.
The Fedchenko glacier is world's largest middle-latitude valley-type glacier that
flows down the gorge for 77 km. Starting at the altitude of 5,300 meters at the slopes
of Pamir's "Akademia Nauk Ridge", "Petr I Ridge" and "Darvazsky" Ridge under the foot
of the "Revolutsia Peak", the glacier on his way accepts tributaries on both left- and
right-hand side such as "Bivachny Glacier", "Nalivkina Glacier", "E. Rozmirovich Glaicer",
"Akademia Nauk Glacoer", "Vitkovskogo Glacier" and others. The glacier is nearly 3 km wide
and is rather gently sloping. The junction of the two glaciers: Fedchenko and Bivachny is
interesting in its seasonal phenomenon of ephemeris alpine lakes with real polar icebergs
floating on the surface. The glacier muzzle ends up at the altitude of 2,909 meters.
The glacier flow at a rated speed of 216 m a year and is 700m-1000m thick in its the
middle part. Glacier is surrounded by the highest peaks of Pamir - "Communism Peak" (7,495 m),
"Revolution Peak" (6,940 m) peak, "Garmo Peak" (6,602 m) peak and others.
The Karakul Lake (in Tirkic means "Black Lake") is located in the Murgab region of Tajikistan
near Karakul village at the altitude of 3,900 m that makes it position 100m higher than that
of the famous alpine lake Titikaka in the Andes. The lake is 20km x 30 km square and is up to
250 m deep. Its bitter-saline water stays ice-cold for most part of the year. When the weather is calm, water in the lake is azure-transparent but as winds start blowing it rises up dark waves giving the surface black-colour appearance, whence the name of the lake. The Lake is surrounded by high mountains on three sides leaving the east shore free for a small picturesque village to take shelter upon. Particularly beautiful are the views that a traveller can enjoy when descending to the valley from the Kyzylart Pass (4,280 m).
Splendid and multiple are opportunities for hiking in the region of the Lake.
The Sarezskoe Lake was formed in 1911 as a result of unique geological catastrophe;
when due to a powerful earthquake the valley of Murgab River has been obstructed by 2 km3 mass
of stones (weighing more than 6 billion tons) that slept down to create a dam.
In 10 years after, the water table in the lake had stabilized at the altitude of 3,240 m.
The length of the lake is more than 70 km and its depth is more than 500 m.
The sky-blue water in the ring of steep red and brownish-red coastal cliffs and fiords;
pristine wilderness of the scenery where, they say, still the footprints of
"snow man" can be found - all this makes travelling in this area unforgettable. >>
The famous thermal spa of Tajikistan - the Gharm-Chashma Spring - is located 40 km away from
the town of Horog in the canyon of the mountain river. The road winds up along the right-hand
side bank of the Pyandzh River gradually advancing through the picturesque Pamir villages.
Looking across the river, the traveller can observe the daily life of Afghan villages on the
other side as well as see "ovrings" - artificial bridle-paths skilfully created by locals on the sheer vertical slopes of the canyon. The road then abuts against the giant stairway of petrified waterfalls and terrazzoes of tufa and travertine with colours changing from snow-white to pale-yellow, blue and green, with mineral baths where water temperature is as hot as 50oC to 75oC. The water in some places is bubbling and gushing so that it creates micro geysers of up to 1m high. The Gharm-Chashma Cascades resemble the tufa terrazzoes of the Turkish
Kappadokia and the hot-springs of the North American Yellowstone Park. >>
The Mountainous Badakhshan is an amazing mountain country. In the whole world there only are
2 other places of the kind: the Tibetan Highlands and the Bolivian Highlands. To get there
one needs to use a heavy-duty truck. Through the lengthy Pamir Tract the road goes from the
Alay Valley of Kyrgyzstan across the most mountainous automobile pass of the former USSR -
the Ak-Baytal Pass (4,641m) through the world's, probably, most deep gorges and most long
glaciers as well as across the high-mountain deserts where only yaks can find a scanty feed
to eat. And even there in the wild mountains people live, the people who proudly call
themselves as "Pamirians". Astonishingly beautiful landscapes of high-mountain valleys
surrounded with eternally-icy peaks, splendid alpine lakes and streams, extraordinary
architecture of the mountain villages, centuries-old traditions and customs preserved
by the local inhabitants - all this is an award deserved by the
ambitious traveller fortunate to get here. >>
Fan mountains - the land of turquoise lakes, clouded peaks and ancient legends - is a unique
part of Pamir. Picturesque valleys of Zindan and Archimaidan, mysterious beauty of Bolshoi
Allo Lake set in the grips of sheer vertical rocks plunging in water, beautiful chain of
Kulikolon, Alaudin and Iskanderkul lakes, astonishing waterfalls, the fairy of wonderful
5,000m- high peaks like Chapdara, Bolshaya Ganza,
Malaya Ganza and others will stay with your memory forever. >>