Fann Mountains

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Fann Mountains

The Fann Mountains (Fans) is an amazingly beautiful land of mountain lakes and snow-capped peaks, located in Central Asia (on the territory of Tajikistan), at the junction of two huge Pamir-Alay ranges - Zarafshan and Gissar, not far from the famous ancient excursion city - Samarkand. This is a truly unique mountainous country, the ancient name of which sounds like Kuhistan (translated from Farsi - “Country of Mountains”).

Picturesque gorges and passes, turbulent rivers, ancient glaciers and magnificent emerald green and turquoise lakes, juniper forests and pointed peaks, stable warm weather and convenient transport accessibility make this mountainous region extremely attractive for climbers, tourists and lovers of extreme sports.


Administratively, the Fann Mountains are located on the territory of the Sughd region of Tajikistan (the former name was Khojand region, and in Soviet times - Leninabad region). The regional center is the city of Khujand.

Geographically, Fans is nothing more than a kind of meridional bridge between two powerful latitudinally oriented ridges of the Pamir-Alai mountain system - the Zerafshan ridge from the north and the Gissar ridge from the south, and this security, isolation largely determines the uniqueness and originality of the climate, flora and fauna peace of the area and makes it very attractive for travel.

In length, the Fann Mountains stretch for about 150 km. In appearance, the closed basin, outlined by ridges, has a single outlet through the gorge of the Fandarya River, cut in the Zarafshan Range. The largest watercourse in this region is the Zerafshan River, which in terms of length (780 km) is the third river in Central Asia after the Syrdarya and Amudarya.

The names of localities, peaks and passes in the Fann Mountains are divided into three groups. The first includes names with unrevealed semantic meanings: Fandarya, Fan-Ulla, Hansa, Zinakh. Local Tajiks believe that these names have remained as monuments of some people who previously lived here. Another group is represented by the names given by the Tajiks and translated into Russian: Yagnob (ice water), Akhbasoy (gorge to the pass), Archa-Maidan (juniper area), Bodhona (house of winds), Yakka-Khana (one house), Zindon (prison), Sangi Safed (white stone), etc. The third group is made up of names given by travelers, climbers and tourists - Energia peak, Dozhdemernaya mountain, Moscow peak, Dvoynoy pass.


Unlike, say, the Tien Shan (within the CIS) or the Caucasus, where even in summer a rare day goes without rain or snow, in the Fans, which are located much to the south, the climate is much drier and more stable, continental, on average with a small amount of precipitation per year (250 mm).
Summers are hot, with almost no precipitation. From June to September-October sunny warm windless weather is guaranteed.

Winter is cold, with frosts. But the position near the 39th parallel, the difference in heights, the orientation of gorges and slopes, as well as the direction of the prevailing winds, make significant corrections, soften temperature differences and divide the area into a number of climatic zones both in the vertical direction and when moving from west to east.

Vertical zonality is reflected in the fact that in the lower reaches of the gorges, at elevations of 1400 - 1600 m, winters are mild, with frequent thaws, summers are hot, but without stuffiness. Negative temperatures are observed in December-January. For every 100 m you rise, the temperature drops by 0.6-.7°C and the amount of precipitation increases. At an altitude of 3200 - 3400 m, positive temperatures occur only in May-September. At altitudes up to 5500 m, a cold period prevails with frosts down to -10, -12 ° C in summer, and down to -25, -30 ° C in winter, but as a result of intense solar radiation on clear days, the rocks heat up and snow melts on the slopes illuminated by the sun. The most pleasant zone with meadow and forest vegetation is at an altitude of 2000 - 2800 m. In summer days, the sun warms the air well, and the nights are relatively warm even at an altitude of 2500 m.

Feature: western and southwestern winds blowing from Afghanistan and the Iranian highlands bring precipitation to Fana from the Atlantic. Encountering a natural barrier in the form of the Hissar Range, these air currents reach the Fan weakened, losing on their way a fair amount of moisture (up to 2000 mm per year) in the Gissar in the valleys of the Kashkadarya, Surkhandarya, Kafirnigan and Sorbog rivers. Therefore, in Fanakh, the bulk of precipitation falls in the south (upper reaches of the Sarymat, Karakul) and south-west of the region (Archamaydan). Less precipitation falls on the Alautdin and Kulikalon lakes, and the lower reaches of the Pasrud, Fandarya and Iskanderdarya belong to the arid zone.


Fans are lakes of amazing beauty, mountain peaks decorated with snow and ice caps, incredibly concentrated in a very small area - within a few hours of walking from one another. Here, a discovery awaits the traveler behind every bend in the gorge. Giant steps of stone “dams” and “mounds”, formed by ancient moraines and landslides, block off unextended U-shaped valleys, the vertical kilometer-long rocky sides of which are composed of metamorphic limestones and shales and smoothed out by the millennial joint efforts of water, ice and sun. Climbing from step to step, following the windings of the most transparent rivers rapidly flowing along the bottom of the gorge, forming emerald green or turquoise lakes of magnificent beauty, giving water to unique relic juniper forests, observing rare birds and animals in their natural habitat, enjoying the endless variety of species of peaks and ridges, from turn to turn revealing one or another of their new features, the traveler absorbs with this beauty the healing energy of the Earth, listening to the surrounding splendor of nature.

A feature of the Fann Mountains is the widespread ancient terminal and bottom moraines, lakes of glacial origin and the trough character of the transverse profile (i.e. rounded bottom and steep high walls licked with ice) of valleys.

FANS Peaks

The highest point of the Fann Mountains is Chimtarga Peak (5494 m). To the south of Chimtarga in the Zarafshan ridge rises the peak Energia (5100 m). Mirali (5200 m) is adjacent to Chimtarga from the north. In the northern spur there are remarkable peaks - Bodkhona (5300 m) and Chapdara (5200 m), in the south - the peaks of the Red Dawns and the White Leopard.

In the Eastern Fansky Range, the following peaks are located sequentially, starting from Energia: four-thousanders - Zmeya (4150 m), Fizkultura i Sport (4120 m), Gratuleta (4230 m), Chinal with a spur of Fagitar (4277 m), Paykhamber (4958 m); five-thousanders - Zamok (5070 m), Black Peak (5010 m), Small Hansa (5031 m), Big Hansa (5306 m); four-thousanders - Fan-Ulla, Sarof, Ships, Zinakh, Shome.

From the nodal peak of Sarof, spurs extend to the north and south: to the north - Turzulsky with the peaks of Stupenka (4200 m), Tower, Patrush (4040 m) and Tangi, to the south - a short spur with a four-thousander peak Fingers (4150 m).

Peaks rise in the Western Fansky Range: Maria (4800 m), Aurondag (4600 m), Saryshakh (4700 m), Gaznych (4200 m). In the Zarafshansky ridge, south of the peak of Energia, there are the peaks Rocky Wall (4734 m), Moscow (5200 m), Sugar Loaf (about 5000 m), Pushnovat (4600 m), and then the ridge turns west and forms a powerful rock-ice barrier Dukdong with peaks up to 5000 m.


During the great glaciation, the entire inner basin of the Fann Mountains and Yagnob was filled with ice. As the climate softened, the ice massif was divided into several glaciers descending to the lowest part of the basin - the Fandarya gorge. Traces of the work of these glaciers have survived to this day and are clearly visible in many places. Glaciers gradually receded, piling up terminal moraines and forming vast lakes. Melt water, collecting in the Fandarya hollow, had a stronger effect on the Zarafshan ridge made of limestone than on the Gissar granite massif, and found its way out to the Zarafshan valley, cutting through the ridge with a narrow canyon. By counting the amount of suspended solids in the Fandarya waters, one can imagine how much material has been carried into the Zarafshan valley over many years. This work of glaciers, rivers and other factors has led to the formation of side spurs and ridges with deep gorges between them.

The modern glaciers of the Fann Mountains are in a phase of recession, this is only a weak trace of that great glaciation, which, like a shell, covered the current flowering valleys almost to the top in former times. Today, due to the dryness of the climate, glaciation is small - up to a hundred glaciers descend from the Gissar and Zarafshan ranges. This ice sheet continues to shrink rapidly, all glaciers are in retreat. Their former dimensions can be established from the preserved terminal and bottom moraines.

A large glacier covered the entire Kulikalon basin, and it is a continuous bottom moraine. This glacier filled the final moraine at the headwaters of the Artuch River. Retreating and shrinking, the glacier split into two streams. The moraine lake Kulikalon and several short glaciers in the sinuses of the Kulikalon wall, south of the lake, now remain from the first one. The second stream started from the walls of the Mirali peak. Its terminus moraine is prominent above Bibi Jonat Lake. From this glacier remained the moraine lakes of Dyushakha, the short Maria glacier and the hanging glaciers under the slopes of the Intermediate peak.

The gorge of the Chapdara River had a great glaciation. The glacier descended below the Alaudin lakes. Its terminal moraine is now overgrown with forest, and Chapdara is cascading down from it. Retreating, the glacier had periods of equilibrium in the process of melting, successively deposited terminal moraines above the Big Alaudin Lake and above - in the form of three moraine ridges. The gaps between the ramparts are filled with bottom sediments with numerous moraine lakes, preserved and dried up. Above the Second Shaft, the glacier split. One branch fed on recruits from the slopes of Chapdara, Bodkhona and Zamka (northern slopes). The high yellow moraine and the fresh moraine of the modern Bodhona glacier remained in memory. From the second branch, the Payhamber and Zamok glaciers remained. The largest branch united the glaciers of the Mutnye Lakes Circus. The final moraine of this glacier is the Third shaft. This glacier also receded, leaving a bottom moraine between the Third Shaft and Mutnye Lakes. At present, four glaciers descend to the Mutnye Lakes from the slopes of the Kaznok Pass and the peaks of Energia, Chimtarga and Mirali. A curious glacier descends from the Chimtarga ridge, splitting into two tongues at the bottom.


It is unlikely that anywhere else in the world you can find such a place where, in a small space among wonderful mountain landscapes, at the foot of snow-white high mountains surrounded by emerald forests, under a bright blue sky, multi-colored lakes are scattered, the water in which shimmers with all the colors of the rainbow - from pale green to dark purple.

The Fann Mountains have about 40 lakes of different nature and size with cold clear water, born on the snow fields of the peaks. At one time, all Fan lakes were located on the pedestals of ancient and fresh moraines, formed as a result of melting and retreat of glaciers. Only a few of them (Biryuzovoe and Akhbasher lakes) were formed in the depressions of snow-gravelly slopes.

To date, the size of many lakes has been greatly reduced, as the inflow of water entering them has decreased. And some didn't exist at all. Previously existing lakes are now represented by dried-up depressions. For example, these are dry bottoms above the Alautdin lakes. The current valleys of Sarytog and Pasrud were once large lakes.

Often in Tajikistan there are also systems of two lakes. These are Dyushakha, Zierat, Kulikalon, Chukurak, Pushnovat. Water from the upper lake overflows into the lower one, and if the level of the upper one falls, the flow stops, and the lower lake either decreases in size or temporarily dries up.

White lake
Big and Small Hello
Dyushakha Zamin-Mulla


All rivers and waters of the Fann Mountains and Yagnob are part of the Zarafshan river system. The Voru and Fandarya rivers - the left tributaries of the Zaravshan - are of great economic importance, since, pouring into the Zaravshan, they feed the Samarkand and Bukhara oases.

When considering the river network, it must be borne in mind that the Tajiks inhabited the gorges, moving from the mouth to the upper reaches, and called the right tributary of the river the "left river" - "chapdara", and, reaching the confluence of a large tributary, it was difficult which river to consider as the main one, and therefore gave both channels new names. So, from the confluence of Kaznok and Akhbasoy, the Arg River was obtained, from the confluence of the Arga and Karakul, the Sarytog River. Fandarya lost its name at the confluence of Iskanderdarya and Yaghnob, while Zarafshan bears its name only up to the confluence of Fandarya and Matcha. The Kshtut River exists before the confluence of Artuchi and Voru, and the latter loses its name at the confluence of Sarymat with Archa-Maidan.

The rivers of the Fann Mountains are born high in the mountains, at an altitude of about 3000 meters. They mainly get food from the melting of glaciers and snowfields. Rainfall for them is of secondary importance. Even less part in the feeding of rivers is taken by underground springs and springs. Traditionally, the average water temperature in the Fan rivers is 5-12°C.

Depending on the season, the water level fluctuates and gradually decreases over time. The most abundant rivers are in the spring months and early summer. A temporary rise in the water level can be caused by heavy rains that have passed in the mountains. By the end of summer, rivers, especially those that feed on short-lived snowfields, become shallow. In winter, the flow of rivers drops sharply. Glacier-fed streams and glacial streams have diurnal fluctuations. Water appears in the morning at 10 - 11 o'clock and dries up after sunset. Numerous lakes through which these rivers flow have a regulating influence on the regime of rivers. In winter, the largest rivers do not freeze, while small ones either dry up or form ice. Fish in most cases is completely absent, or only small representatives of it are found.

The network of Fan rivers belongs to two basins - the Fandarya and Kshtutdarya rivers. The Fandarya basin includes the Pasrud, Yagnob and Iskanderdarya rivers.

Iskanderdarya Archa-Maidan

Every year, hundreds of tourists come to the banks of the turbulent rivers of the Fann Mountains, who want to raft in these rebellious raging streams. Water tourism today is one of the most popular types of outdoor activities. And the rivers of the Fann Mountains are a great place for rafting, regardless of the level of preparation of tourists.