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Central Asia 2000 : Part 4 - Around Sarez lake and to Bartang valley (Tajikistan)

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Path around the Sarez lake. This lake is a unique beautiful treasure in the heart of Pamir. It arouse when an earthquake in 1916 created a basin from this valley and local rives filled this basin.

Sometimes the path was very narrow, across the steep slopes. According to locals, even a cow can manage this. I still can't believe this, although local cows are quite special in this way.

One can see from this picture, that the lake fits a bit artificially to local surroundings. Like on the Moon a bit.

Sarez lake near meteorological station

The edge of Sarez lake. This is the dam that people are afraid could crack during some bigger earthquake. Flood would go as far as the deserts of Uzbekistan. Radios (sponsored by EU) are installed in every village down in the Bartang valley for emergency information. They can be useful for organizing transport back to Rushan.

Drinking from a tiny spring in a slope. Although a lot of water can be seen (the lake), these mountains are very dry in fact. Air is dry and there is not much snow here during the winter as well (but quite cold).

New ranger's hut near Sarez lake dam. Although this is the only place where tourists usually go (we came from opposite direction), there are not many tourists here generally. Accommodation was for free here as well.

One ranger with a self-made guitar-like instrument. Rangers report everyone passing by radio to local police, so better to have the required permit (from Khorog). But they were very kind and hospitable as all Pamiri Tajiks.

The path leading from Sarez lake down to the village of Barchadif in Bartang valley.

It is about a 1 day hike up to the Sarez lake (long day) and a short day hike down to Barchadif in the opposite direction.

Barchadif village. The only owner of a car (for going down the Bartang valley) was quite unfair. But not all villages in this area have some car to disposal, so we continued with trekking further down the valley, through Nisur village into Yapshok village.

Although still very hospitable, people are more used to tourists in Barchadif, because this is the place where occasional tourists start and finish their treks to Sarez lake.

Our host in Barchadif.

In our host's house in Barchadif.

In Nisur village.

In Nisur village

In Nisur village. Small apricots are the only fruit in these dry mountains.

In Nisur village.

In the Yapshok village (bellow Nisur). Our host was a genuine person to remember for one's lifetime.

In the Yapshok village (bellow Nisur), singing local songs.

Crushing seeds from small apricots. Cores of this seeds was eaten instead of nuts.

Bridge over Bartang river

In Nisur village.

Friendly and hospitable people in Yapshok village. We passed 2 villages down Barchadif to find car in a nearby village away from the main road (Savnob ?). But when this car finally did not arrive for us on time, we went by Medicins Sans Frontieres Toyota passing by and even for free.

A toilet in the only tourist hotel in Khorog. 

Better move to a house of locals....here with the driver of ZIL truck who took us along Pamir Highway.


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