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The Lake of Zorkul.

Tours and excursions in the 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.

A trip to the valley of Lake Zorkul.

Lake Zorkul (Zorkul - taj. "Big Lake") is located in the South-East Pamir, in the Murgab district of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan. Located at an altitude of 4,129.9 meters above sea level in a wide valley between the South Alichur Range (in the north) and the Vakhan Range (in the south).
In shape, Lake Zorkul represents a stretched ellipse with a large 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 area of ​​the lake is 38.9 square kilometers. The lake is fresh, rich in fish and waterfowl.
From the lake flows the border river Pamir, one of the sources of the Pyanj river (Amu Darya basin). A lake of moraine origin, from the east and west it is limited by a moraine belt up to 4 kilometers wide. A terrace at a height of about 6 meters testifies to a 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 flowing from the Pamir River Lake. Neighborhoods and the water area of ​​the lake were included in the Zorkul 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 reserve. In 2001, Lake Zorkul was included in the list of wetlands covered by the Ramsar Convention. In 2006, the State Committee for Environmental Protection and Forestry of the Republic of Tajikistan introduced the Zorkul Nature Reserve as a candidate on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The first European to meet the lake was the English explorer Wood, who in 1838 made a trip to the origins of the Amu Darya and named the lake by the name of Queen Victoria of Great Britain (1819 - 1901).

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.