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Tajikistan Geography

The geography of Tajikistan attests to the fact that it is probably smallest in size among all Central Asian countries. Situated in the southeast of the continent, it shares its boundaries with Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan in the west and
the north, Afghanistan in the south and China in the east.

The geography in Tajikistan is unique for the prominence of mountains and rivers. Nearly the whole area is covered by the land (exceeding 90 %) and is marked by mountains which include the towering ranges of Pamir and Tien Shan containing peaks ranging between 300 m to 7,495 m in elevation.

The Pamir is the source of several torrential rivers carving out gorges and canyons. The geography at Tajikistan also includes within its borders 947 rivers stretching over 10 km. The longest among these are the Amu Darya, the Syr-Darya , the Zeravshan besides the Vakhsh and the Panj.

Tajikistan also contains numerous lakes, among which the biggest is Lake Karakul (in Eastern Pamir), with salty water, having a total area of 380 square km. Lake Sarez (in Western Pamir) is the deepest (490 meters) with an area of 86.5 sq. m. It is a fresh water lake.

The Tajikistan mountains are noted for their glaciers, probably the largest in Asia. Fedchenko Glacier ( 77 km long and 1,700 - 3,100 m broad) is the largest in the Pamir. Zeravshan Glacier is another one. The Hissar-Alay (Southern Tien Shan) ridges are central to Tajikistan geography, with numerous mountains exceeding 5,000 m in height. Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan is situated in the Hissar Valley at the foothills of the Hissar Mountains.

The Pamir range stands to the southeast of Tajikistan. The lowest pass there happens to be the Kamaloyak (4,340 m). The highest peak in the Pamir, known as the Peak of Communism, is currently known as the Peak of Usmaili Samani( 7,495 m). Its countless hanging glaciers comprise an impressive scene.

In northwestern Tajikistan, you will find several other mountain ridges. The Turkestani (the snow-line here begins at 3,500-4,000 m), the Zeravshan and the Hissar figure among these.

The north of the country is occupied by the Fergana Hollow, fenced in by the Kuramin Ridge, the Vakhsh and Hissar plains and Golodnaya (Hungry) steppe.

The geography in Tajikistan is characterized by its resemblance to the peak of a pyramid, topped by mountains. The natural terrain differs with height: wildernesses and valleys give place to wooded foothills replaced by mountains with alpine vegetation finally leading to sheer permafrost.


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