Tajikistan: a photo gallery

By Jan Bakker

Cicerone has published the first trekking guide to Tajikistan, written by Jan Bakker and Christine Oriol. For many people it is hard to imagine what Tajikistan looks like and why they might want to trek there. In this photo gallery co-author Jan Bakker reveals a glimpse of Tajikistan’s incredible mountain scenery.

The Pamirs is a vast, high-altitude and largely empty mountain wilderness in the southeast of Tajikistan. In 2013 it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Pictured is the Alichur River, close to Yashilkul Lake in the Central Pamirs.As a trekker you can pitch your tent almost anywhere in the Tajik mountains, like here at 4530 metres on the Langar Pass, Central Pamirs.Access to the trailhead can be tricky, like this wobbly bridge across the Gunt River near Bachor. At least there’s a bridge!  Photo: Christine OriolDeeper into the Tajik mountains trekkers can expect multiple river crossings and sometimes have to wait for water levels to drop. Here co-author of the Cicerone guide Trekking in Tajikistan Jan Bakker crosses a tributary of the Yagnob River.In both the northern ranges and the Pamirs you can trek up to dramatic glaciers that plaster the steep north facing slopes, like here near Alaudin Lake in the Fann Mountains.Autumn is a great time to go trekking in the Pamirs. The warm light and harvest season in the villages makes this time of year a feast for the eye.You don’t have to travel far from Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe to venture into proper mountain terrain. This is Sioma Valley, just an hour’s drive north from the city.  Photo: Christine OriolThe Ravmeddara Valley is a true gem. This wide valley in the western Pamirs is fringed by towering mountains, with the 6083m high Patkhor Peak marking the highest point in the Rushan Range.  Photo: Christine OriolCamping on the foot of Mura Pass, close to the Uzbekistan border in the Hissar Range.Trekkers enjoying a yak dung fire on the shores of Zarojkul Lake in the Central Pamirs. Even in summer temperatures can drop to freezing levels at altitudes above 4000 metres.No crowds on the final approach of the glaciated Tabaspin Pass (4040m), in the heart of the Zerafshan Range. Tajikistan is still unknown as a trekking destination.Zarojkul Lake may be the most beautiful mountain lake in Central Asia. No Photoshop, these are its true colours!Mountains will be mountains and even in Tajikistan the mountain weather changes sometimes. Navigational skills are crucial as the path may not be visible, like here on the Dvoinoi Pass in the Fann Mountains.In some places you can drink straight from the streams, but choose your water source well! Livestock roam at higher elevations, potentially contaminating the water source.Good morning Tajikistan! Sometimes it’s worth getting up at sunrise. In summer, it is even preferred to beat the heat at lower elevations.Camping at its best. Green grass, alpine flowers and a jagged mountain in the distance. What’s not to like?

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