Sunday, 21 April 2013

Lake Victoria of the Pamirs – Travels in Tajikistan.

Tajikistan is the Country with nature  on the grandest scale.

Access is via the  Pamir Highway, the second highest international road in the world, Dushambe to Khorog - 13 hours of stunning scenery, bumpy roads and scary edge of cliff track sections.

I first worked in Tajikistan in 1994 during a particularly vicious civil war which lasted up to 1997. Dushambe was full of Russian military and a place to be firmly indoors before dark.  The Garm Valley was one of the centres of opposition to the Government as was the remote eastern Oblast of Gorno Badakhshan.  

The people  unlike Turkic populations of the surrounding countries have a different culture, historically looking towards Persia (present day Iran), 

The Fann Mountains and Lake Iskanderkul are stunning but eastern Gorno Badakhshan and Khorog are the places to draw one back again and again.  Khorog was built to firmly establish the area within the Russian sphere of influence in an area contested with the British and the Emir of Bukhara.

Here the Fedchenko Glacier is the longest outside of the polar regions, Pik Lenina one of the highest and  Lake Victoria of the Pamirs, named by British cartographers in honour of their Queen. The Black Lake now goes by the name of Lake Karakul.  It's nearly 13,000 feet above sea level, 52 km in diameter and set in what is believed to be a meteorite impact crater.

Related image
Lake Victoria of the Pamirs

If the Yeti exists anywhere it is up here in the Pamirs. Stories of its existence  have been circulating since the 19th century and expeditions have been sent. One can readily believe in the possibility when alone in the High Pamirs.