You are here

Home » Kyrgyzstan nature. Mountains of Kyrgyzstan. Rest and travel in mountains of Kyrgyzstan.

Gissaro-Alai mountain system.

Corporate travel to Uzbekistan.

“I am becoming old, but I always travel and I learn a lot everywhere”

Excursion trip to Kokand town.

Gissaro-Alai is a mountain system in Central Asia, an integral part of the Pamir-Alai. Gissaro-Alai is located west of the Pamirs, between the Ferghana Valley in the north, the Karshi Steppe, the Tajik Depression and the Alai Valley in the south.
The eastern part of the system is located in Kyrgyzstan, the middle in Tajikistan and the western in Uzbekistan. The length of the Gissar-Alai from west to east is about 900 kilometers, the width in the western part - up to 150 kilometers, in the eastern - up to 80 kilometers.
The main mountain ranges of Gissar-Alai have a latitudinal and sub-latitudinal strike. The western and middle parts of the system are formed by Turkestan, Zeravshan and Gissar ranges and their spurs; the eastern part is the Alai Range, which extends from the connection with the Ferghana Range to the Matchinsky mountain junction.
In the western part, on the continuation of the Turkestan ridge and its spur of the Malguzar ridge, there are medium-high ridges Nuratau, Aktau and a number of low-mountain massifs on the continuation of the Zeravshan ridge - the so-called Zirabulak-Ziaetdin mountains.
The heights of many ranges exceed 5,000 meters above sea level. In the area of ​​the Matchinsky mountain knot, the height reaches 5621 m, at the junction of the Zeravshan and Alai ridges - 5301 meters above sea level - the Igla peak, a little to the east - 5539 meters above sea level - the highest point of the Alai mountain range. In the middle of the Zeravshan Range - 5489 meters above sea level - Chimtarga peak. The main ridges of the largest ridges of Gissar-Alai have a typical alpine relief.
In the northern front chains of the Alai and Turkestan ranges, in the western part of Turkestan and on its spurs, flat leveled surfaces that experienced tectonic deformations in the form of longitudinal arch-shaped swellings were well preserved in the Neogene-Pleistocene time.
Plateau-shaped surfaces of ridges and slopes are dissected by erosion gorges. At the northern foothills of the Alai and Turkestan ranges, Kichik-Alai, strongly dissected loess foothills (adyrs) are developed. In the limestones of the Zerafshan ridge, the northern advanced ridges of the Turkestan and Alai ridge, karst manifestations are widespread.
In tectonic terms, Gissaro-Alai is a symmetrical folded structure of the Hercynian age, composed of geosynclinal Paleozoic formations. The central part of the system is composed mainly of thick strata of Silurian shales.
The northern slopes of the Turkestan and Alai ranges, the Zeravshan ridge and the northern slope of the Hissar are formed by limestones and shales of the Mesozoic. Conglomerates, sandstones and effusive rocks are developed along deep faults in the Zeravshan valley and on the northern slope of the Turkestan ridge.
The igneous rocks of Gissar-Alai - granites, granodiorites and alkaline - form large bodies in the axial part of the Turkestan and Alai ridges, are also present in the Zeravshan ridge, and in the Gissar ridge they compose large batholith.
At the end of the Paleogene, an era of new activation came, which led to the formation of a modern relief. Mesozoic and Paleogene sediments have a platform appearance and are preserved in the mountains in the form of narrow, sandwiched by faults, and form wide fields in South Ferghana and in the south-western spurs of the Gissar Range.
They are represented by continental coal-bearing Jurassic, red-colored Lower Cretaceous and marine variegated Upper Cretaceous and Paleogene formations, collected in simple folds. Oligocene-Miocene, Pliocene and ancient anthropogenous deposits form an orogenic complex of continental molasses, performing foothill and intermountain depressions.
Deposits of tungsten, molybdenum, arsenic, and gold are associated with granites of the Late Paleozoic. Of greatest importance are the mercury-antimony deposits of the northern slopes of the Turkestan and Alai ranges and the antimony deposits of Tajikistan. Coal is confined to Jurassic deposits.
The Shorsu sulfur deposit is located in the Paleogene deposits of the northern foothills of the Turkestan Range, the oil deposits of South Ferghana are associated with Cretaceous and Paleogene deposits. The climate of Gissaro-Alai is characterized by a change in the height of thermal conditions, an uneven distribution of precipitation and moisture.
In basins and valleys along the outskirts of the mountain system, the average July temperature is 24 - 28 ° C, January - 1.5 - 3 ° C; at an altitude of 3600 meters above sea level, the average July temperature is about 13 ° C. On the windward slopes of the mountains, facing south and west, the annual rainfall reaches 1000 - 2000 mm.
On the leeward slopes, even in the middle mountains, less than 200 mm falls in some places. The maximum rainfall at the foot of the mountains is spring, and higher is spring-summer. The rivers have a mixed diet with a predominance of glacial-snow.
The share of glacial nutrition is especially high near the head of Zerafshan. The mountain lakes Iskanderkul, Marguzor and others are picturesque. High mountain ridges are covered with eternal snows and glaciers.
In Gissaro-Alai, there are more than 3800 glaciers with a total area of ​​about 2320 square kilometers, of which 380 square kilometers are covered with continuous moraine cover. The largest glacier is Zeravshan (about 25 kilometers long), located in the upper reaches of Zeravshan.
On the slopes of the Gissaro-Alai mountains, the following high-altitude zones and zones are distinguished from bottom to top:
- zone of ephemeral and wormwood-ephemeral semi-deserts of foothill plains and Adyrs;
- zone of subtropical steppes of loess foothills and middle mountains with belts of grassland-grassland, grassland-grassland shrub and grass-grass shrub steppes;
- mid-mountain zone of forests of juniper, light forests, steppes and meadow steppes;
- zone of alpine meadows with belts:
- subalpine meadows and steppes, alpine cobresian and mixed meadows, subnival belt with fragmented soil and vegetation of alpine-meadow type among bare rocks and screes;
- glacial-nival zone of eternal snows, glaciers and rocks.


Photos by
Alexander Petrov.