Alay mountains

Alay mountains

The Alay range - a mountain ridge in the south of the Fergana region on the northern edge of the Alai valley that separates this valley from the parallel Trans-Alay mountains.

The Alay range is the watershed of the great Central Asian rivers - the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya. Right onflows of the Amu Darya (Vakhsh, Kafirnigan, Surkhan) originate in the Alay mountain system.

From west to east the Alay range has the length of 580 kilometers. The average height is about 4440 meters. Tamdykul peak (5539 m.) is the highest point in the Alay mountains.

Alay mountains Uzbekistan

The Alay range begins in difficult mining site in the pass Suyak (Tuzbel), which the Fergana range and the Kokshaal-tau close up. Here the Alay mountains have the ridge of 4571 meters height on average.

The northern biases of the Alay range are gentle and form a series of longitudinal valleys; the southern slopes steeply fall to the Alay valley.

The crown of the Alay range is almost entirely covered with icing, the total space of which is 955 square kilometers.

On the slopes there are dry feather-grass and fescue steppes, meadow steppes, which give way to subalpine and highland meadow and glacial-nival (above 5000 m.) landscapes. In the gorges of the Alay mountains there are junipers, forests of walnut, almond, apricot. Here are about 200 passes, and Taldyk pass is one of the most eminent.

Facts about the Alay mountains 

Because of its location the Alay range long since had drew the attention of geographers. Thus the German traveler of the XIX century Alexander von Humboldt called the Alay mountain range “Asfarakh”, a distorted formation from the name of the local river Isfara. 

Facts about the Alay mountains

Then A.P. Fedchenko, the Russian pathfinder nicknamed the Alay range the South Kokand ridge, because of the closeness to the Kokond Khanate. And only in 1876 after the military campaign of the general Skobelev the name “Alay range” went out of use. 

More facts about the Alay range

Also V.F. Oshanin, the famous Russian explorer, geographer and naturalist made an expedition in the Alay valley. Oshanin crossed the Alay range through Archatdavan pass and went to the eastern area of the Alay valley. Here he separated from the expedition and climbed down the valley, passing it from east to west to the outfall of the river Kok-su.

Alay range

Then Oshanin climbed the pass Karakazyk and on the way to the Fergana valley for the second time he crossed the Alay range. Thus, he was the first who visited the Alay valley from end to end, except a small distance in the east. The most important result of his first major expedition was a detailed physical and geographical description of the Alay valley.

On personal observations and carefully collected data Oshanin gave the first outline of the morphology of the Alay range and information about its altitude snow line. 

Alay valley

The Alay valley, is one of the most vast intermountain basins in the country. The plain of the valley is little acclive to the west and is aligned along the central part. Along the tilt there is the river Kyzylsu. In the south side, in the foothills of the Trans-Alay Range there are hilly spurs consisting of ancient ocean deposits. The weather in the valley is sharp continental - dry and harsh.

Natural attractions of the Alay mountains

Shakhimardan in the foothills of the Alay mountains, Uzbekistan

Fifty km. southward of Fergana the road leads to Shakhimardan located in the Alay mountain range, Uzbekistan. Beyond Shakhimardan there are grazing lands, proprietorships of shepherds and gamebirds.

"Shahimardan" is translated as "proprietor of the people", which is mapped to the name of Khazrat Ali. In the Muslim world he is considered the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad. And according to popular legends one of his seven graves is in this town.

The small and not populous (5 thousand of inhabitants) village of the Alay range is a tiny island of Uzbekistan, surrounded with the Batkesk area of Kyrgyzstan. It came to pass that in the 30 years the village went to Uzbekistan, and now from this tiny enclave up to the "big land" there are almost 17 kilometers in the around of the adjoining state.

Shakhimardan in the foothills of the Alay mountains

There is another interesting moment in the history of Shakhimardan. In Soviet period Shakhimardan some time was called Khamzaabad, in honor of Khamza Khakim-zade Niyazi - the poet and the initiator of the Uzbek dramatic art. Here in 1929, March, religious zealots stoned to death the Uzbek poet. In the 60-s in tribute to the great figure of literature the museum and mausoleum of Khamza were built. In 1989 a new museum and a monument were unveiled in Shakhimardan.

Shakhimardan in the Alay mountains is an incredibly beautiful place. It's hard to discover a place prettier throughout the Fergana valley, and Uzbekistan as a whole. Shakhimardan conveniently lies on the northern slopes of the Alay range. From both sides it is washed by the Ok-Su and Kok-Su rivers. They merge and form the Shakhimardan-sai.

The waters of these rivers are pristine and at the bottom you can see the floating fish. Here are good recreation centers, where with a conductor it is possible to conquer the mountains. In the Alay mountains it is quite possible to find out the paths and plants that have not been met by you, listen to the chirping of birds, watch the mating games of hawks, gather pistachios and swim in the clear mountain water, which treats many ailments, and you will feel re-born.

Kurban-Kul Lake or the Blue Lake in the Alay mountains

In 7 kilometers south-west of Shakhimardan the Blue Lake (Kurban-Kul - "Sacrificial lake") is located. In 1766, collapsed in previous times the mass of rocks on the right bank of the river Karasu created a natural dike, having dammed the river and formed the Blue Lake.

As the local legend tells, the villagers were punished for their sins and buried under the rubble. Shakhimardan and the Blue Lake are the places of active Muslim pilgrimage and mountain tourism. It is also an amazing place for making trekking trips up the Alay range.

At the base of the natural dam from the left port side of the lake in its tailrace reach the powerful spring with the debit of more than 1,000 liters per second comes out.

Kurban-Kul Lake or the Blue Lake in the Alay mountain

The Blue Lake in the Alay mountains is at a height of 1724 meters above-sea level. The length of the lake is 170 meters, the expanse is 60 meters and a depth is 5-10 meters. In summer time the temperature of water reaches 5-10 degrees. The Blue Lake and Shakhimardan itself, is a very scenic and vivid place.

At 100-200 meters above the Blue Lake another small lake, known as "Green Lake" is situated

Healing mountain air, splendid nature, rapid rivers and charming expanse of the lake turn Shakhimardan into a favorite holiday spot for inhabitants of Uzbekistan, and a desirable object for inveterate tourists. 

Peopletravel Company is glad to offer different kinds of tours along the Alay mountains including mountain skiing tours.You will have the opportunity to take Alay mountains photos in this picturesque surroundings, as well as to make Alay range videos of some rare animals or birds.

Our qualified agents will compose suitable tours for you in order you holidays in Uzbekistan is pleasant and unforgettable.  

We will be happy to find you a unique offer for travel to Uzbekistan. Simply send us a request.

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