Journey to Tajikistan, part 3: Lake Sarez

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Our good friend, Manizha, agreed to write a series of articles taking us “inside Tajikistan”.  It is truly a gift to have a “little-known” country opened up through the eyes of a native.  We are very grateful to Manizha for her beautiful stories.

SAREZ lake is the most beautiful lake in Tajikistan. When you look at such beauty, such a place makes you very happy and you feel limitless.

     The lake is located in the Pamir. The length of the lake is almost 60 kilometers, and the depth is more than 500 meters. The lake is surrounded by mountains ranges almost 6000 meters high.  Many of the mountain peaks no one has ever climbed.  Who lives there?  Are there animals to discover there?  Are their birds who make their nests there? Or are there just clouds there?  

     This lake is called the pearl of the Pamir mountains. And so you can imagine that it is extremely beautiful. The water in Sarez lake is dark, dark blue like a perfect sky.  When you look at the surface of the water it holds the clouds like you were looking at the sky. The water is very cold because it is high in the mountains.     

     The banks are very steep, and it is extremely difficult to walk along them. To visit the lake, you must have a special pass, since the region around the lake is protected. There is a special reason why it is protected.  It is not completely safe to try to go there!

     Lake Sarez was formed not that long ago, just a hundred years ago. The story of its birth is very sad. In February 1911 there was a powerful earthquake. A huge part of the mountain broke off and fell on the village called Usoi.  It blocked the river and formed a natural dam half a kilometer high. Sadly, 105 people were killed that day. Water in the basin began to fill rapidly and later flooded the village of Sarez. In memory of the destroyed villages the lake was named Sarez.

     The first time I saw a photo of this lake, it gave me such a strong feeling because it was an amazing photo.  I really wanted to visit this place but it is far from where I live. In summer, for just 2 or 3 months you can get there only by helicopter to see this magical place.  In the winter it’s impossible to go there . . . even though at one time, this place was home to many villagers for many, many years.  They loved this place and couldn’t live anywhere but on this, their homeland. —Manizha   


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