The Fan Mountains provide some of the most attractive scenery in the whole of Tajikistan. They are situated in the north west of the country, between the Hissar and Zerafshan Ranges, west of the Anzob pass. The Fan Mountains are often known as the “Land of Lakes”, thirty of which can be seen here in a wide variety of colours. This includes the legendary Iskanderkul Lake, believed to have been created by Alexander the Great. The amazingly colorful Alauddin and Kuli Kalon Lakes meanwhile are found in the narrow Zindon Valley. The Fan Mountains contain eleven peaks over 5,000 meters in height, the tallest of which is Chimtarga (5489m).
The first scientific exploration of the Zerafshan Valley and Fan Mountains was conducted by the Russian “Turkestan” expedition in 1968. A. Fedchenko, the famous explorer of the Pamirs was part of this exploration. The second expedition to the Fan Mountains was conducted two years later by the Russian general A. Abramov. Abramov started in Kuhistone Mastchoh, headed toward Varziminor (today Ayni) and then along the Dandaryo river to Iskanderkul. In 1964, the alpinist Paganuzi opened the first tourist route and by the summer 1965, 12 tourist groups had visited the Fan Mountains. Since then, the regions popularity with tourists has steadily increased.
Flora and Fauna
There is a huge variety of plants and wildlife in the Fan Mountains. The upper reaches of the mountains contain woodlands, steppe and meadows. The hillsides are often covered by juniper forests while in the valleys a wide range of fruit, nuts and berries can be found.
The area is home to rabbits, foxes, red marmots, wolves, black and brown bears, mountain goats and snow leopards. There are also a variety of birds to be found, these include: snow cocks, stone partridges, griffons, and quails.