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The Pamir Mountains are a
mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and alignment that have arisen from the same cause, us ...

mountain range
between
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area ...

Central Asia
,
South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The region consists of the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri La ...

South Asia
and
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia, which is defined in both Geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The modern State (polity), states of East Asia include China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. ...

East Asia
. It is located at a junction with other notable mountains, namely the
Tian Shan The Tian Shan,; dng, Тянсан, ; otk, 𐰴𐰣 𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃, ; tr, Tanrı Dağı; mn, Тэнгэр уул, ; ug, تەڭرىتاغ, , ; kk, Тәңіртауы / Алатау, , ; ky, Теңир-Тоо / Ала-Тоо, , ; uz, Tyan- ...

Tian Shan
,
Karakoram The Karakoram is a mountain range spanning the borders of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and ...

Karakoram
,
Kunlun The Kunlun Mountains ( zh, s=昆仑山, t=崑崙山, p=Kūnlún Shān, ; mn, Хөндлөн Уулс, ''Khöndlön Uuls''; ug, كۇئېنلۇن تاغ تىزمىسى) constitute one of the longest mountain chains in Asia, extending for more tha ...

Kunlun
,
Hindu Kush The Hindu Kush ( Dari, Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language of the Indo-European family. It is known in Persian literature as Afghani (, ). The language is natively spoken ...
and the
Himalaya The Himalayas, or Himalaya (; Sanskrit: , "snow", "dwelling", "abode"), are a mountain range in Asia separating the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. The range has some of the planet's highest peaks, including the ...

Himalaya
mountain ranges. They are among the world's highest
mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area, and is larger than a hill, typically rising at least ...

mountain
s. Much of the Pamir Mountains lie in the Gorno-Badakhshan Province of
Tajikistan ) , image_map = Tajikistan (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , capital = , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , official_languages = (state) (interethn ...

Tajikistan
. To the south, they border the Hindu Kush mountains along
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari language, Dari: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central Asia, Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the ea ...

Afghanistan
's
Wakhan Corridor The Wakhan Corridor ( ps, واخان دهلېز, translit=wāxān dahléz, fa, دالان واخان, translit=dâlân vâxân) is a narrow strip of territory in Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari language, Dari: , Pashto: , Dari: ) ...

Wakhan Corridor
in
Badakhshan Province Badakhshan Province ( fa, بدخشان ولایت, ''Badaxšān wilāyat'') is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the farthest northeastern part of the country between Tajikistan and Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan region. It shares ...
. To the north, they join the Tian Shan mountains along the
Alay Valley The Alay Valley ( ky, Алай өрөөнү) is a broad, dry valley running east–west across most of southern Osh Province, Kyrgyzstan. It spreads over a length of 174 km east–west. The valley extends in north–south direction with var ...
of
Kyrgyzstan russian: Киргизская Республика, Kirgizskaya Respublika , image_flag = Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg , image_coat = Emblem of Kyrgyzstan.svg , symbol_type = Emblem , motto = " ...

Kyrgyzstan
. To the east, they extend to the range that includes
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
's
Kongur Tagh Kongur Tagh or Kongkoerh (KyrgyzKyrgyz, Kirghiz or Kyrgyzstani may refer to: *Things related to Kyrgyzstan *Kyrgyz people *Kyrgyz language *Kyrgyz culture *Kyrgyz cuisine *Yenisei Kirghiz *The Fuyu Kyrgyz language, Fuyü Gïrgïs language in Nor ...
, in the "Eastern Pamirs", separated by the
Yarkand Yarkant County,, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency also Shache County,, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency also SASM/GNC rom ...
valley from the
Kunlun Mountains The Kunlun Mountains ( zh, s=昆仑山, t=崑崙山, p=Kūnlún Shān, ; ug, كۇئېنلۇن تاغ تىزمىسى) constitute one of the longest mountain chain A mountain chain is a row of high mountain summits, a linear sequence of interconn ...

Kunlun Mountains
.


Name and etymology

Since Victorian times, they have been known as the "
Roof of the World of Central Asia from the Caucasus in the northwest, to Mongolia in the northeast. The Roof of the World or Top of the World is a metaphoric description of the high region in the world, also known as High Asia. The term usually refers to the mounta ...

Roof of the World
", presumably a translation from
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
.


Names

In other languages they are called: ps, پامیر غرونه ; ky, Памир тоолору, , ; fa, رشته کوه‌های پامیر, Rešte Kuhhâ-ye Pâmir; tg, Ришта Кӯҳҳои Помир, Rishta Köhhoyi Pomir; ug, پامىر ئېگىزلىكى, , ; sa, सुमेरु, ; ur, , ; or "Onion Range" (after the
wild onion
wild onion
s growing in the region); dng, Памир or Цунлин, written in
Xiao'erjing Xiao'erjing or Xiao'erjin or Xiaor jin or in its shortened form, Xiaojing, literally meaning "children's script" or "minor script" (cf. "original script" referring to the original Perso-Arabic script; zh, s=本经, t=本經, p=Běnjīng, Xiao' ...
: or . The name "Pamir" is used more commonly in Modern Chinese and loaned as .


"A pamir"

According to Middleton and Thomas, "pamir" is a
geological Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which th ...

geological
term. A pamir is a flat plateau or U-shaped valley surrounded by mountains. It forms when a glacier or ice field melts leaving a rocky plain. A pamir lasts until erosion forms soil and cuts down normal valleys. This type of terrain is found in the east and north of the
Wakhan Wakhan, or "the Wakhan" (also spelt Vakhan; Persian language, Persian and ps, واخان, ''Vâxân'' and ''Wāxān'' respectively; tg, Вахон, ''Vaxon''), is a rugged, mountainous part of the Pamir Mountains, Pamir, Hindu Kush and Karako ...

Wakhan
,Aga Khan Development Network (2010): ''Wakhan and the Afghan Pamir'' p.3
and the east and south of Gorno-Badakhshan, as opposed to the valleys and gorges of the west. Pamirs are used for summer pasture. The
Great PamirThe Great Pamir or Big Pamir ( Wakhi: ''Past Pamir''; Kyrgyz: ''Chang Pamir''; fa, پامیر کلان, translit=Pāmīr-e Kalān) is a broad U-shaped grassy valley or '' pamir'' in the eastern part of the Wakhan in north-eastern Afghanistan and th ...
is around Lake
Zorkul 150px, left, Zorkul, watercolor by Thomas Edward Gordon (in May 2nd, 1874) Zorkul (or ''Sir-i-kol, Syr Kul, Kol-ye Zor Kol, Kōl-ye Zor Kōl, Lake Victoria, Ozero Zorkul', Ozero Zorkul’, Sar-i-Kol, Sar-i-Kul,...'') (russian: Зоркуль; tg, ...
. The
Little Pamir The Little Pamir ( Wakhi: ''Wuch Pamir''; Kyrgyz: ''Kichik Pamir''; fa, rtl=yes, پامیر خرد, translit=Pāmīr-e Khord) is a broad U-shaped grassy valley or '' pamir'' in the eastern part of the Wakhan Wakhan or "the Wakhan" (also spelt ...
is east of this in the far east of Wakhan. The
Taghdumbash Pamir Taghdumbash Pamir ( or historically ) or Taxkorgan Valley is a '' pamir'' or high valley in the south west of Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County, in Xinjiang Xinjiang, SASM/GNC: ''Xinjang''; zh, c=, p=Xīnjiāng; alternately romanized as S ...
is between
Tashkurgan Tashkurgan (; ; ) is a town in the far north west of China, close to the borders of Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is the principal town and seat of Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County, Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County, in the Autonomous ...
and the
Wakhan Wakhan, or "the Wakhan" (also spelt Vakhan; Persian language, Persian and ps, واخان, ''Vâxân'' and ''Wāxān'' respectively; tg, Вахон, ''Vaxon''), is a rugged, mountainous part of the Pamir Mountains, Pamir, Hindu Kush and Karako ...

Wakhan
west of the
Karakoram Highway The Karakoram Highway ( ur, , translit=śāhirāh qarāquram; known by its initials KKH, also known as N-35 or National Highway 35 ( ur, ) or the China-Pakistan Friendship Highway) is a national highway which extends from Hasan Abdal Ha ...

Karakoram Highway
. The Alichur Pamir is around Yashil Kul on the
Gunt River The Gunt (russian: Гунт, tg, Ғунд ''Ghund'' or Аличур ''Alichur'', historically in English also ''Ghund'') is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or anoth ...
. The Sarez Pamir is around the town of
Murghab, Tajikistan tg, Мурғоб , image_skyline = Murghab east entry.jpg , imagesize = , image_caption = , image_flag = , image_seal = , image_map = , map_caption = , pushpin_map = Tajikistan , pushpin_label_position =bottom , pushpin_mapsize ...
. The Khargush Pamir is south of Lake Karakul. There are several others. The
Pamir River The Pamir is a river in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. It is a tributary of the Panj River, and forms the northern boundary of Wakhan. The river has its sources in the Pamir Mountains in Gorno-Badakhshan province in the far eastern part of Tajikistan. ...
is in the south-west of the Pamirs.


Geography


Mountain

The three highest mountains in the Pamirs core are
Ismoil Somoni Peak Ismoil Somoni Peak (Tajik language, Tajik: Қуллаи Исмоили Сомонӣ, ''Qulla-i Ismō‘il-i Sōmōnî/Qullaji Ismojili Somonī''; fa, قلّهٔ اسماعیل سامانی; ) is the highest mountain in Tajikistan. Because it was ...
(known from 1932 to 1962 as Stalin Peak, and from 1962 to 1998 as Communism Peak), ; Ibn Sina Peak (still unofficially known as Lenin Peak), ; and
Peak Korzhenevskaya Korzhenevskoi Peak is the third highest peak in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan. It is one of the five "Snow Leopard award, Snow Leopard Peaks" in the territory of the former Soviet Union. It is named after Evgenia Korzhenevskaya, the wife of Ru ...
(russian: Пик Корженевской, ''Pik Korzhenevskoi''), . In the Eastern Pamirs, China's
Kongur Tagh Kongur Tagh or Kongkoerh (KyrgyzKyrgyz, Kirghiz or Kyrgyzstani may refer to: *Things related to Kyrgyzstan *Kyrgyz people *Kyrgyz language *Kyrgyz culture *Kyrgyz cuisine *Yenisei Kirghiz *The Fuyu Kyrgyz language, Fuyü Gïrgïs language in Nor ...
is the highest at . Among the significant peaks of the Pamir Mountains are the following: ''Remark'': The summits of the Kongur and Muztagata Group are in some sources counted as part of the
Kunlun The Kunlun Mountains ( zh, s=昆仑山, t=崑崙山, p=Kūnlún Shān, ; mn, Хөндлөн Уулс, ''Khöndlön Uuls''; ug, كۇئېنلۇن تاغ تىزمىسى) constitute one of the longest mountain chains in Asia, extending for more tha ...

Kunlun
, which would make Pik Ismoil Somoni the highest summit of the Pamir.


Glaciers

There are many
glacier A glacier (; ) is a persistent body of dense ice Ice is into a state. Depending on the presence of such as particles of soil or bubbles of air, it can appear transparent or a more or less bluish-white color. In the , ice is abunda ...

glacier
s in the Pamir Mountains, including the long
Fedchenko Glacier The Fedchenko Glacier (russian: Ледник Федченко) is a large glacier A glacier ( or ) is a persistent body of dense ice that is constantly moving under its own weight. A glacier forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its A ...

Fedchenko Glacier
, the longest in the former
USSR The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state that spanned Eurasia during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a Federation, federal union of multiple national Republics of ...
and the longest glacier outside the
polar regions The polar regions, also called the frigid zones, of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continent A continent ...
. Approximately 12,500 km2 (ca. 10%) of the Pamirs are glaciated. Glaciers in the Southern Pamirs are retreating rapidly. Ten percent of annual runoff is supposed to originate from retreating glaciers in the Southern Pamirs. In the North-Western Pamirs, glaciers have almost stable
mass balance A mass balance, also called a material balance, is an application of conservation of mass In physics and chemistry, the law of conservation of mass or principle of mass conservation states that for any closed system, system closed to all transfe ...
s.


Climate

Covered in
snow Snow comprises individual ice Ice is water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a ). ...

snow
throughout the year, the Pamirs have long and bitterly cold
winter Winter is the est of the year in and . It occurs between and . The tilt of Earth's axis causes seasons; winter occurs when a is oriented away from the . Different cultures define different dates as the start of winter, and some use a de ...

winter
s, and short, cool
summer Summer is the hottest of the four temperate In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenom ...

summer
s. Annual
precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology dates back , though significant progress in meteorology did not begin until the 18th century. The 19th century saw mod ...
is about , which supports
grassland Grasslands are areas where the vegetation Vegetation is an assemblage of species and the they provide. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular , life forms, structure, extent, or any other specific or geographic ...

grassland
s but few
tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only wood plants with se ...

tree
s.


Paleoclimatology during the Ice Age

The East-Pamir, in the centre of which the
massif In geology, a massif ( or ) is a section of a planet's Crust (geology), crust that is demarcated by geologic fault, faults or Lithospheric flexure, flexures. In the Plate tectonics, movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal s ...
s of Mustagh Ata (7620 m) and Kongur Tagh (Qungur Shan, 7578, 7628 or 7830 m) are situated, shows from the western margin of the Tarim Basin an east–west extension of c. 200 km. Its north–south extension from King Ata Tagh up to the northwest Kunlun foothills amounts to c.170 km. Whilst the up to 21 km long current valley glaciers are restricted to mountain massifs exceeding 5600 m in height, during the last glacial period the glacier ice covered the high plateau with its set-up highland relief, continuing west of Mustagh Ata and Kongur. From this glacier area an outlet glacier has flowed down to the north-east through the Gez valley up to c.1850 m asl (meters above sea level) and thus as far as to the margin of the Tarim basin. This outlet glacier received inflow from the Kaiayayilak glacier from the Kongur north flank. From the north-adjacent Kara Bak Tor (Chakragil, c. 6800 or 6694 m) massif, the Oytag valley glacier in the same exposition flowed also down up to c. 1850 m asl. At glacial times the glacier snowline (ELA) as altitude limit between glacier nourishing area and ablation zone, was about 820 to 1250 metres lower than it is today. Under the condition of comparable proportions of precipitation there results from this a glacial depression of temperature of at least 5 to 7.5 °C.


Economy

Coal Coal is a combustible , Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , ...

Coal
is mined in the west, though
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order (biology), order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name ''sheep'' applies to many species ...

sheep
herding in upper meadowlands is the primary source of income for the region.


Exploration

The
lapis lazuli Lapis lazuli (; ), or lapis for short, is a deep-blue metamorphic rock , a type of metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock (geology), rock to new types of rock, in a process called metamorphism up ...

lapis lazuli
found in Egyptian tombs is thought to come from the Pamir area in Badakhshan province of Afghanistan. This section is based on the book by R. Middleton and H. Thomas: Robert Middleton and Huw Thomas, 'Tajikistan and the High Pamirs',Odyssey Books, 2008 About 138 BC
Zhang Qian Zhang Qian (; died c. 114) was a Chinese official and diplomat who served as an imperial envoy to the world outside of China in the late 2nd century BC during the Han dynasty. He was one of the first official diplomats to bring back valuable inf ...

Zhang Qian
reached the
Fergana Valley The Fergana Valley in Central Asia spreads across eastern Uzbekistan Uzbekistan (, ; uz, Ozbekiston, ), officially the Republic of Uzbekistan ( uz, Ozbekiston Respublikasi), is a landlocked country A country is a distinct territory, ter ...
northwest of the Pamirs.
Ptolemy Claudius Ptolemy (; grc-koi, Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος, , ; la, Claudius Ptolemaeus; AD) was a mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes ...
vaguely describes a trade route through the area. From about 600 AD, Buddhist pilgrims travelled on both sides of the Pamirs to reach India from China. In 747 a Tang army was on the Wakhan River. There are various Arab and Chinese reports.
Marco Polo Marco Polo (, , ; September 15, 1254January 8, 1324) was a merchant, explorer, and writer who travelled through Asia along the between 1271 and 1295. His travels are recorded in ' (also known as ''Book of the Marvels of the World '' and '' ...

Marco Polo
may have travelled along the
Panj River The Panj ( fa, رودخانه پنج) (; tg, Панҷ, پنج), also known as ''Pyandzh'' or ''Pyanj'' (derived from its Russian name "Пяндж"), is a tributary of the Amu Darya. The river is long and has a basin area of . ...

Panj River
. In 1602
Bento de Goes A is a single-portion take-out A take-out or takeout (U.S., Canada, & the Philippines); carry-out or to-go (Scotland and some dialects in the U.S. & Canada); take-away (U.K., Australia, Lebanon, South Africa, & Ireland, and occasionally in ...
travelled from
Kabul Kabul (; ps, , translit=Kābəl, ; prs, , translit=Kābol, ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capital ...

Kabul
to
Yarkand Yarkant County,, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency also Shache County,, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency also SASM/GNC rom ...
and left a meager report on the Pamirs. In 1838 Lieutenant John Wood reached the headwaters of the
Pamir River The Pamir is a river in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. It is a tributary of the Panj River, and forms the northern boundary of Wakhan. The river has its sources in the Pamir Mountains in Gorno-Badakhshan province in the far eastern part of Tajikistan. ...
. From about 1868 to 1880, a number of Indians in the British service secretly explored the Panj area. In 1873 the British and Russians agreed to an Afghan frontier along the Panj River. From 1871 to around 1893 several Russian military-scientific expeditions mapped out most of the Pamirs (
Alexei Pavlovich Fedchenko Alexei Pavlovich Fedchenko (russian: Алексей Павлович Федченко; 7 February 184415 September 1873) was a Russia Russia (russian: link=no, Россия, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Euro ...
,
Nikolai SevertzovNikolai Alekseevich Severtzov (5 November 1827 – 8 February 1885) was a Russia Russia (russian: link=no, Россия, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries ...
, Captain
Putyata Putyata (Russian: Путята) was the first tysyatsky of Novgorod whose name is found in Slavonic chronicles. According to the Ioachim Chronicle, he was active during the reign of Vladimir the Great and forced the Novgorodians to accept Christian ...
and others. Later came Nikolai Korzhenevskiy). Several local groups asked for Russian protection from Afghan raiders. The Russians were followed by a number of non-Russians including
Ney Elias Ney Elias, CIE, (10 February 1844 – 31 May 1897) was an English explorer, geographer, and diplomat, most known for his extensive travels in Asia. Modern scholars speculate that he was a key intelligence agent for Britain during the Great Game ...

Ney Elias
, George Littledale, the Earl of Dunmore,
Wilhelm Filchner Wilhelm Filchner (13 September 1877 – 7 May 1957) was a German army officer, scientist and explorer. He conducted several surveys and scientific investigations in China, Tibet and surrounding regions, and led the Second German Antarctic Expeditio ...

Wilhelm Filchner
and
Lord Curzon George Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston, (11 January 1859 – 20 March 1925), was styled as Lord Curzon of Kedleston between 1898 and 1911, and as Earl Curzon of Kedleston between 1911 and 1921, was a British Conservative ...
who was probably the first to reach the Wakhan source of the
Oxus River The Amu Darya, tk, Amyderýa/ uz, Amudaryo// tg, Амударё, Amudaryo ps, , tr, Ceyhun / Amu Derya grc, Ὦξος, Ôxos (also called the Amu, Amo River, or Jay-hoon, and historically known by its Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical ...
. In 1891 the Russians informed
Francis Younghusband Lieutenant Colonel Lieutenant colonel ( or ) is a rank of commissioned officer An officer is a person who holds a position of authority as a member of an armed force A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a hea ...
that he was on their territory and later escorted a Lieutenant Davidson out of the area ('Pamir Incident'). In 1892 a battalion of Russians under Mikhail Ionov entered the area and camped near the present . In 1893 they built a proper fort there (''Pamirskiy Post''). In 1895 their base was moved to
Khorog russian: Хорог , image_skyline = File:Khorog 1.jpg , imagesize = , image_caption = , image_flag = , image_seal = Coat of Khorog.jpg , image_map = , map_caption = , pushpin_map = Tajikistan , pushpin_label_position =bottom , pus ...

Khorog
facing the Afghans. In 1928 the last blank areas around the
Fedchenko Glacier The Fedchenko Glacier (russian: Ледник Федченко) is a large glacier A glacier ( or ) is a persistent body of dense ice that is constantly moving under its own weight. A glacier forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its A ...

Fedchenko Glacier
were mapped by a German-Soviet expedition under Willi Rickmer Rickmers.


Discoveries

In the early 1980s, a deposit of
gemstone A gemstone (also called a fine gem, jewel, precious stone, or semi-precious stone) is a piece of mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chem ...

gemstone
-quality
clinohumite Clinohumite is an uncommon member of the Humite (mineral group), humite group, a magnesium silicate according to the chemical formula (magnesium, Mg, iron, Fe)9(silicon, Sioxygen, O4)4(fluorine, F,Ohydrogen, H)2. The formula can be thought of as ...

clinohumite
was discovered in the Pamir Mountains. It was the only such deposit known until the discovery of gem-quality material in the Taymyr region of
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region, constituting all of North Asia, from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. It has been a part of R ...

Siberia
, in 2000. The earliest known evidence of human
cannabis ''Cannabis'' () is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including ...

cannabis
use was found in tombs at the Jirzankal Cemetery.


Transport

The
Pamir Highway 300px, The historical Pamir Highway travels through the Central Asian nations of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. The modern M41 extends further from Osh to Kara-Balta in the western suburbs of Bishkek The M41, known informal ...
, the world's second highest international road, runs from
Dushanbe Dushanbe ( tg, Душанбе, ; ; russian: Душанбе) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Tajikistan. , Dushanbe had a population of 863,400 and that population was largely Tajiks, Tajik. Until 1929, the city was known in Ru ...
in
Tajikistan ) , image_map = Tajikistan (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , capital = , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , official_languages = (state) (interethn ...

Tajikistan
to
Osh Osh (KyrgyzKyrgyz, Kirghiz or Kyrgyzstani may refer to: *Things related to Kyrgyzstan *Kyrgyz people *Kyrgyz language *Kyrgyz culture *Kyrgyz cuisine *Yenisei Kirghiz *The Fuyu Kyrgyz language, Fuyü Gïrgïs language in Northeastern China {{ ...

Osh
in
Kyrgyzstan russian: Киргизская Республика, Kirgizskaya Respublika , image_flag = Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg , image_coat = Emblem of Kyrgyzstan.svg , symbol_type = Emblem , motto = " ...

Kyrgyzstan
through the
Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province , native_name_lang = , settlement_type = Region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact characteristics ( human geography), and the interaction o ...
, and is the isolated region's main supply route. The Great
Silk Road The Silk Road () was and is a network of trade routes connecting the Eastern world, East and Western culture, West, from the 2nd century BCE to the 18th century CE. It was central to the economic, cultural, political, and religious interactions ...

Silk Road
crossed a number of Pamir Mountain ranges.


Tourism

In December 2009, the ''
New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Serial (publishing), serial published, publicatio ...
'' featured articles on the possibilities for tourism in the Pamir area of Tajikistan. 2013 proved to be the most successful year ever for tourism in the region and tourism development continues to be the fastest growing economic sector. The META (Murghab Ecotourism Association) website (www.meta.tj) provides an excellent repository of tourism related resources for the Eastern Pamir region.


Strategic position

Historically, the Pamir Mountains were considered a strategic trade route between
Kashgar Kashgar ( ug, قەشقەر – ''Qeshqer'') or Kashi ( zh, c=喀什) is an oasis In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, feat ...

Kashgar
and
Kokand Kokand ( uz, Qo‘qon, ''Қўқон'', قوقان; russian: Кока́нд; fa, خوقند, Xuqand; Chagatai language, Chagatai: خوقند, ''Xuqand''; ky, Кокон, Kokon; tg, Хӯқанд, Xökand) is a city in Fergana Region in eastern U ...
on the
Northern Silk RoadImage:Tarimrivermap.png, 300px, Taklimakan Desert The Northern Silk Road is an Ancient history, ancient trackway in northern China originating in the early capital of Xi'an and extending north of the Taklimakan Desert to reach the ancient monarchy, k ...
, a prehistoric trackway, and have been subject to numerous territorial conquests. The Northern Silk Road (about in length) connected the ancient Chinese capital of
Xi'an Xi'an ( , ; ; Chinese: ), sometimes romanized as Sian, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals ...

Xi'an
over the Pamir Mountains towards the west to emerge in
Kashgar Kashgar ( ug, قەشقەر – ''Qeshqer'') or Kashi ( zh, c=喀什) is an oasis In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, feat ...

Kashgar
before linking to ancient
Parthia Parthia ( peo, 𐎱𐎼𐎰𐎺 ''Parθava''; xpr, 𐭐𐭓𐭕𐭅 ''Parθaw''; pal, 𐭯𐭫𐭮𐭥𐭡𐭥 ''Pahlaw'') is a historical region located in north-eastern Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and offici ...

Parthia
. In the 20th century, they have been the setting for
Tajikistan Civil War The Tajikistani Civil War ( tg, Ҷанги шаҳрвандии Тоҷикистон, translit=Jangi şahrvandi'i Tojikiston/Çangi şahrvandiji Toçikiston), also known as the Tajik Civil War, began in May 1992 when regional groups from the Gar ...
, border disputes between China and Soviet Union, establishment of US, Russian, and Indian military bases, and renewed interest in trade development and resource exploration. China has since resolved most of those disputes with Central Asian countries.


Religious symbolism

Some researchers identify the Pamirs with the
Mount Meru Mount Meru (Sanskrit/Pali: मेरु), also recognized as Sumeru, Sineru or Mahāmeru, is the Sacred mountain, sacred five-peaked mountain of Hindu cosmology, Hindu, Jain cosmology, Jain, and Buddhist cosmology and is considered to be the ...

Mount Meru
or Sumeru. The Mount Meru is the sacred five-peaked mountain of
Buddhist Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, an ...
,
Jain Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religion ...
, and
Hindu cosmology Hindu cosmology is the description of the universe and its states of matter, cycles within time, physical structure, and effects on living entities according to Hindu texts Hindu texts are manuscripts and voluminous historical literature whic ...
and is considered to be the center of all the
physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Physical (Olivia Newton-John song), "Physical" (Olivia Newton-John song) *Physical ( ...
,
metaphysical Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship between ...

metaphysical
and spiritual universes.


See also

* Pamir National Park *
Pamir languages The Pamir languages are an areal group of the Eastern Iranian languages The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European l ...
*
List of mountain ranges This is a list of mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and alignment that h ...
*
List of highest mountains There are at least 108 mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area, and is large ...
*
Soviet Central Asia Soviet Central Asia (russian: Советская Средняя Азия}, ''Sovetskaya Srednyaya Aziya'') refers to the section of Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mon ...

Soviet Central Asia
*
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area ...

Central Asia
*
Mount Imeon Mount Imeon () is an ancient name for the Central Asian complex of mountain ranges comprising the present Hindu Kush, Pamir Mountains, Pamir and Tian Shan, extending from the Zagros Mountains in the southwest to the Altay Mountains in the northeast, ...
* Ak-Baital Pass * China–Tajikistan border * Kam Air Flight 904  – crashed into Pamir Mountains; the cause remains unknown * Chalachigu Valley


Notes


References


Further reading

* George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston, Curzon, George Nathaniel. 1896. ''The Pamirs and the Source of the Oxus''. Royal Geographical Society, London. Reprint: Elibron Classics Series, Adamant Media Corporation. 2005. (pbk; (hbk). * Gordon, T. E. 1876. ''The Roof of the World: Being the Narrative of a Journey over the high plateau of Tibet to the Russian Frontier and the Oxus sources on Pamir''. Edinburgh. Edmonston and Douglas. Reprint by Ch’eng Wen Publishing Company. Taipei. 1971. * Toynbee, Arnold J. 1961. ''Between Oxus and Jumna''. London. Oxford University Press. * Wood, John, 1872. ''A Journey to the Source of the River Oxus''. With an essay on the Geography of the Valley of the Oxus by Colonel Henry Yule. London: John Murray. * Horsman, S. 2002. ''Peaks, Politics and Purges: the First Ascent of Pik Stalin'' in Douglas, E. (ed.) Alpine Journal 2002 (Volume 107), The Alpine Club & Ernest Press, London, pp 199–206. * Leitner, G. W. 1890. ''Dardistan in 1866, 1886 and 1893: Being an Account of the History, Religions, Customs, Legends, Fables and Songs of Gilgit, Chilas, Kandia (Gabrial) Yasin, Chitral, Hunza, Nagyr and other parts of the Hindukush''. With a supplement to the second edition of The Hunza and Nagyr Handbook. And an Epitome of Part III of the author's “The Languages and Races of Dardistan”. First Reprint 1978. Manjusri Publishing House, New Delhi. * Strong, Anna Louise. 1930. ''The Road to the Grey Pamir''. Robert M. McBride & Co., New York. * Slesser, Malcolm "Red Peak: A Personal Account of the British-Soviet Expedition" Coward McCann 1964 * Tilman, H. W. "Two Mountains and a River" part of "The Severn Mountain Travel Books". Diadem, London. 1983 * Waugh, Daniel C. 1999. "The ‘Mysterious and Terrible Karatash Gorges’: Notes and Documents on the Explorations by Stein and Skrine." ''The Geographical Journal'', Vol. 165, No. 3. (Nov., 1999), pp. 306–320. * ''The Pamirs. 1:500.000 – A tourist map of Gorno-Badkshan-Tajikistan and background information on the region.'' Verlag „Gecko-Maps“, Switzerland 2004 () * Dagiev, Dagikhudo, and Carole Faucher, eds. Identity, History and Trans-nationality in Central Asia: The Mountain Communities of Pamir. Routledge, 2018.


External links


Life in Afghanistan's Pamir mountains

Information and photos

Afghan's Little Pamir – photos of the life of ethnic Kyrgyz
{{Authority control Pamir Mountains, Landforms of Central Asia Mountain ranges of Asia Mountain ranges of China Mountain ranges of Afghanistan Mountain ranges of Tajikistan Mountain ranges of Kyrgyzstan Physiographic provinces Landforms of Badakhshan Province