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Home » Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region nature. Pamir of Lakes.

Lake of Zorkul.

Tours and excursions in Pamirs.

 "A terrible cold reigns here, and gusty winds blow. It snows in winter and summer. Neither grain bread nor fruits can grow here"

VIIth century Chinese traveler Xuan Jiang.

Trip to valley of Lake Zorkul.

Lake Zorkul (Zorkul - taj. "Big Lake") is located at an altitude of 4129.9 meters above sea level, located in the South-Eastern Pamirs, in the Murgab district of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan.
It is located in a wide valley between the South Alichur Range (in the north) and the Wakhan Range (in the south). In shape, Lake Zorkul is a stretched ellipse with a major axis. From the beginning of the eastern mouth of the Mukurchilob River to the headwaters of the Pamir River, the state border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan runs along the central part of the lake.
The length of the lake is up to 20 kilometers 774 meters, the largest width in the eastern part of the lake is 4372 meters, in the western part - 2336 meters, the lake area is 38.9 square kilometers. The lake is fresh, rich in fish and waterfowl.
The border river Pamir flows out of the lake, one of the sources of the Pyanj River (Amu Darya basin). The lake of moraine origin, from the east and west it is limited by a belt of moraines up to 4 kilometers wide. The terrace, located at a height of about 6 meters, testifies to the higher level of the lake in the past.
A strong decrease in its level occurred at the end of the 19th century and was apparently caused by increased erosion activity of the Pamir River flowing from the lake. The surroundings and the water area of ​​the lake were included in the Zorkul nature reserve, created by the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan dated March 14, 2000 No. 120.
The Zorkul state reserve was organized on the basis of the existing Zorkul nature reserve. In 2001, Lake Zorkul was included in the list of wetlands subject to the Ramsar Convention. In 2006, the State Committee for Environmental Protection and Forestry of the Republic of Tajikistan made the Zorkul Reserve a candidate for the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The first European to meet the lake was the English explorer Wood, who in 1838 traveled to the headwaters of the Amu Darya and named the lake after Queen Victoria of Great Britain (1819 - 1901).
Geographical coordinates of Lake Zorkul: N37°26'54.30" E73°42'24.99"

Pamir Lake Victoria. May 2, 1874, watercolor by T.E. Gordon.

 "Nature of Tajikistan" publishing house "Thought", 1982, "Pamir", publishing house "Planet" 1987, edited by corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences M.S. Asimova.