Tian Shan

The Tian Shan,[a] also known as the Tengri Tagh, meaning the Mountains of Heaven or the Heavenly Mountain, is a large system of mountain ranges located in Central Asia. The highest peak in the Tian Shan is Jengish Chokusu, at 7,439 metres (24,406 ft) high. Its lowest point is the Turpan Depression, which sits at 154 m (505 ft) below sea level.[1]

The Chinese name for Tian Shan may have been derived from the Xiongnu word Qilian (simplified Chinese: 祁连; traditional Chinese: 祁連; pinyin: Qí lián) – according to Tang commentator Yan Shigu, Qilian is the Xiongnu word for sky or heaven.[2] Sima Qian in the Records of the Grand Historian mentioned Qilian in relation to the homeland of the Yuezhi, and the term is believed to refer to the Tian Shan rather than the Qilian Mountains 1,500 kilometres (930 mi) further east now known by this name.[3][4] The Tannu-Ola mountains in Tuva has the same meaning in its name ("heaven/celestial mountains" or "god/spirit mountains"). Tian Shan is sacred in Tengrism, and its second-highest peak is known as Khan Tengri which may be translated as "Lord of the Spirits".[5]

Tian Shan
Central Tian Shan mountains
The Tian Shan range on the border between China and Kyrgyzstan with Khan Tengri (7,010 m) visible at center
Highest point
PeakJengish Chokusu
Elevation7,439 m (24,406 ft)
Coordinates42°02′06″N 80°07′32″E / 42.03500°N 80.12556°E
Range coordinates42°N 80°E / 42°N 80°ECoordinates: 42°N 80°E / 42°N 80°E
Age of rockMesozoic and Cenozoic
Official nameXinjiang Tianshan
Criteriavii, ix
Designated2013 (37th session)
Reference no.1414
State PartyChina
Official nameWestern Tien-Shan
Designated2016 (40th session)
Reference no.1490
State PartyKazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan


Tian Shan is north and west of the Taklamakan Desert and directly north of the Tarim Basin in the border region of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Xinjiang in northwest China. In the south it links up with the Pamir Mountains and to north and east it meets the Altai Mountains of Mongolia.

In Western cartography such as National Geographic, the eastern end of the Tian Shan is usually understood to be east of Ürümqi, with the range to the east of that city known as the Bogda Shan as part of the Tian Shan. Chinese cartography from the Han Dynasty to the present agrees, with the Tian Shan including the Bogda Shan and Barkol ranges.

Tien shan sat
Tian Shan Mountains from space, October 1997, with Issyk-Kul Lake in Kyrgyzstan at the northern end

The Tian Shan are a part of the Himalayan orogenic belt, which was formed by the collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates in the Cenozoic era. They are one of the longest mountain ranges in Central Asia and stretch some 2,900 kilometres (1,800 mi) eastward from Tashkent in Uzbekistan.[1]

The highest peak in the Tian Shan is Jengish Chokusu (also called Victory Peak) on the border of China. At 7,439 metres (24,406 ft) high, it is the highest point in Kyrgyzstan.[1] The Tian Shan's second highest peak, Khan Tengri (Lord of the Spirits), straddles the Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan border and at 7,010 metres (23,000 ft) is the highest point of Kazakhstan. Mountaineers class these as the two most northerly peaks over 7,000 metres (23,000 ft) in the world.

The Torugart Pass, at 3,752 metres (12,310 ft), is located at the border between Kyrgyzstan and China's Xinjiang province. The forested Alatau ranges, which are at a lower altitude in the northern part of the Tian Shan, are inhabited by pastoral tribes that speak Turkic languages.

The Tian Shan are separated from the Tibetan Plateau by the Taklimakan Desert and the Tarim Basin to the south.

The major rivers rising in the Tian Shan are the Syr Darya, the Ili River and the Tarim River. The Aksu Canyon is a notable feature in the northwestern Tian Shan.

Continuous permafrost is typically found in the Tian Shan starting at the elevation of about 3,500-3,700 m above the sea level. Discontinuous alpine permafrost usually occurs down to 2,700-3,300 m, but in certain locations, due to the peculiarity of the aspect and the microclimate, it can be found at elevations as low as 2,000 m.[6]

One of the first Europeans to visit and the first to describe the Tian Shan in detail was the Russian explorer Peter Semenov, who did so in the 1850s.

Glaciers in the Tian Shan Mountains have been rapidly shrinking and have lost 27%, or 5.4 billion tons annually, of its ice mass since 1961 compared to an average of 7% worldwide.[7] It is estimated that by 2050 half of the remaining glaciers will have melted.


The Tian Shan have a number of named ranges which are often mentioned separately (all distances are approximate).

Seidenstrasse GMT Ausschnitt Zentralasien
Tian Shan with the ancient silk road

In China the Tian Shan starts north of Kumul City (Hami) with the U-shaped Barkol Mountains, from about 600 to 400 kilometres (370 to 250 mi) east of Ürümqi. Then the Bogda Shan (god mountains) run from 350 to 40 kilometres (217 to 25 mi) east of Ürümqi. Then there is a low area between Ürümqi and the Turfan Depression. The Borohoro Mountains start just south of Ürümqi and run west northwest 450 kilometres (280 mi) separating Dzungaria from the Ili River basin. Their north end abuts on the 200 kilometres (120 mi) Dzungarian Alatau which run east northeast along Sino-Kazakh border. They start 50 kilometres (31 mi) east of Taldykorgan in Kazakhstan and end at the Dzungarian Gate. The Dzungarian Alatau in the north, the Borohoro Mountains in the middle and the Ketmen Range in the south make a reversed Z or S, the northeast enclosing part of Dzungaria and the southwest enclosing the upper Ili valley.

Kyrgyzstan Topography
Kyrgyzstan (borders marked in red) The indentation on the west is the Fergana Valley
Tian Shan
Map of Tian Shan.
Karakol Valley
In the Karakol valley (Issyk-Kul Region, Kyrgyzstan).)
Snow-capped peaks of Tian Shan seen from an Issyk Kul Lake beach

In Kyrgyzstan the main line of the Tian Shan continues as Narat Range from the base of the Borohoros west 570 kilometres (350 mi) to the point where China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan meet. Here is the highest part of the range – the Central Tian Shan, with Peak Pobeda (Kakshaal Too range) and Khan Tengri. West of this, the Tian Shan split into an ‘eye’, with Issyk Kul Lake in its center. The south side of the lake is the Terskey Alatau and the north side the Kyungey Ala-Too (shady and sunny Ala-Too). North of the Kyungey Ala-Too and parallel to it is the Trans-Ili Alatau in Kazakhstan just south of Almaty. West of the eye, the range continues 400 kilometres (250 mi) as the Kyrgyz Ala-Too, separating Chui Province from Naryn Oblast and then Kazakhstan from the Talas Province. This oblast is the upper valley of the Talas River, the south side of which is the 200 kilometres (120 mi) Talas Ala-Too Range ('Ala-too' is a Kirgiz spelling of Alatau). At the east end of the Talas Alatau the Suusamyr Too range runs southeast enclosing the Suusamyr Valley or plateau.

As for the area south of the Fergana Valley there is a 800 kilometres (500 mi) group of mountains that curves west-southwest from south of Issyk Kul Lake separating the Tarim Basin from the Fergana Valley. The Fergana Range runs northeast towards the Talas Ala-Too and separaties the upper Naryn basin from Fergana proper. The southern side of these mountains merge into the Pamirs in Tajikistan (Alay Mountains and Trans-Alay Range). West of this is the Turkestan Range, which continues almost to Samarkand.

Ice Age

On the north margin of the Tarim basin between the mountain chain of the Kokshaal-Tau in the south and that one of the Terskey Alatau in the north there stretches the 100 to 120 km wide Tian Shan plateau with its set up mountain landscape.The Kokshaal-Tau continues with an overall length of 570 km from W of Pik Dankowa (Dankov, 5986 m) up to east-north-east to Pik Pobedi (Tumor Feng, 7439 m) and beyond it. This mountain chain as well as that of the 300 km long parallel mountain chain of the Terskey Alatau and the Tian Shan plateau situated in between, during glacial times were covered by connected ice-stream-networks and a plateau glacier. Currently the interglacial remnant of this glaciation is formed by the only just 61 km long South Inylschek glacier. The outlet glacier tongues of the plateau glacier flowed to the north as far as down to Lake Issyk Kul (Lake) at 1605 (1609) m asl calving in this 160 km long lake.

In the same way strongly glaciated was the in excess of 50 km wide high mountain area of the Kungey Alatau connected north of Issyk Kul and stretching as far as the mountain foreland near Alma Ata. The Kungey Alatau is 230 km long. Down from the Kungey Alatau the glacial glaciers also calved into the Issyk Kul lake.Its Chon-Kemin valley was glaciated up to its inflow into the Chu valley.[8][9][10] From the west-elongation of the Kungey Alatau –that is the Kirgizskiy Alatau range (42°25’N/74° - 75°E) - the glacial glaciers flowed down as far as into the mountain foreland down to 900 m asl (close to the town Bishkek). Among others the Ak-Sai valley glacier has developed there a mountain foreland glacier.[8][11][10]

Altogether the glacial Tian Shan glaciation occupied an area of c. 118 000 km² .The glacier snowline (ELA) as altitude limit between glacier feeding area and melting zone had decreased about 1200 altitude metres compared with today. Under the condition of a comparable precipitation ratio there would result from this a depression of the average annual temperature of 7.2 to 8.4 °C for the Würm-ice age (Last Glacial period = MIS 2) compared with today. [8]


The Tian Shan holds important forests of Schrenk's Spruce (Picea schrenkiana) at altitudes of over 2,000 metres (6,600 ft); the lower slopes have unique natural forests of wild walnuts and apples.[12]

The Tian Shan in its immediate geological past, was kept from glaciation due to the "protecting" warming influence of the Indian Ocean monsoon climate. It defined its ecological features, acting as a region that could sustain a distinctive type of ecosphere. The mountains were faced to constant geological changes, disturbing drainage systems, patterns of vegetation, as well as exposing fertile soil for coming seedlings to be exploited.

Ancestors of thousands of plants and important crops mobilized in the area, among them the ancestor of the sweet apple that would later develop into apricots (Prunus armeniaca), pears (Pyrus spp.), pomegranates (Punica granatum), figs (Ficus), cherries (Prunus avium) and mulberries (Morus). The area expanding the Tian Shan was an arena of exchange, including animals like bear, deer and wild boar.

The ancestor of the sweet apple, resembling Malus baccata, colonized Tian Shan probably via birds from the east carrying its pips. A possible candidate is the Cyanopia cyanus, during the Miocene, as early as 5.3 million years ago. It was a favourable environment for a tree species to appear, but as they could not pollinate themselves, external factors had to trigger the expansion. The seeds were rich in cyanoglycosides, highly repellent to birds. This turns into thinking another way of distributing the fruit apples, including bears and wild horses from North America widely germinating elsewhere via intact apple seeds in their fecal mass. [13]


Chinese religion

In Chinese traditional religion and Daoism, Tian Shan is associated to God, Tian itself. It is also regarded as the location of the peach tree of immortality wardened by Xiwangmu, the Queen Mother of the West.


In Tengrism, Khan Tengri is the lord of all spirits and the religion's supreme deity, and it is the name given to the second highest peak of Tian Shan.[5]

World Heritage Site

At the 2013 Conference on World Heritage, the eastern portion of Tian Shan in western China's Xinjiang Region was listed as a World Heritage Site.[14] The western portion in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan was then listed in 2016.[15]

See also


  1. ^ Chinese: 天山; pinyin: Tiānshān, Dungan: Тянсан; Tiansan; Old Turkic: 𐰴𐰣 𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃‎, Tenğri tağ; Turkish: Tanrı Dağı; Mongolian: Тэнгэр уул, Tenger uul; Uyghur: تەڭرىتاغ‎, Тәңри тағ, Tengri tagh; Kyrgyz: Теңир-Тоо / Ала-Тоо, Teñir-Too / Ala-Too, تەڭىر-توو / الا-توو‎; Kazakh: Тәңіртауы / Алатау, Táńirtaýy / Alataý, تٵ‬ڭٸرتاۋى / الاتاۋ‎; Uzbek: Tyan-Shan / Tangritog‘, Тян-Шан / Тангритоғ, تيەن-شەن / تەڭرىتاغ


  1. ^ a b c Scheffel, Richard L.; Wernet, Susan J., eds. (1980). Natural Wonders of the World. United States of America: Reader's Digest Association, Inc. p. 378. ISBN 978-0-89577-087-5.
  2. ^ 班固 Ban Gu (2015-08-20). 漢書: 顏師古註 Hanshu: Yan Shigu Commentary. 祁連山即天山也,匈奴呼天為祁連 (translation: Qilian Mountain is the Tian Shan, the Xiongnu called the sky qilian)
  3. ^ Liu, Xinru (2001), "Migration and Settlement of the Yuezhi-Kushan: Interaction and Interdependence of Nomadic and Sedentary Societies", Journal of World History, Volume 12 (Issue 2, Fall 2001): 261–291
  4. ^ Mallory, J. P. & Mair, Victor H. (2000). The Tarim Mummies: Ancient China and the Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West. Thames & Hudson. London. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-500-05101-6.
  5. ^ a b Wilkinson, Philip (2 October 2003). Myths and Legends. Stacey International. p. 163. ISBN 978-1900988612.
  6. ^ Gorbunov, A.P. (1993), "Geocryology in Mt. Tianshan", PERMAFROST: Sixth International Conference. Proceedings. July 5-9, Beijing, China, 2, South China University of Technology Press, pp. 1105–1107, ISBN 978-7-5623-0484-5
  7. ^ Naik, Gautam (August 17, 2015). "Central Asia Mountain Range Has Lost a Quarter of Ice Mass in 50 Years, Study Says". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c Kuhle, M. (1994): New Findings on the Ice-cover between Issyk-Kul and K2 (Tian Shan, Karakorum) during the Last Glaciation. Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Karakorum and Kunlun Mountains (ISKKM), Kashi, China, June 1992. (Eds: Zheng Du; Zhang Qingsong; Pan Yusheng) China Meteorological Press, Beijing, 185-197.
  9. ^ Grosswald, M. G., Kuhle, M., Fastook, J. L., (1994): Würm Glaciation of Lake Issyk-Kul Area, Tian Shan Mts.: A Case Study in Glacial History of Central Asia. Kuhle, M. (Ed.). Tibet and High Asia. Results of the Sino-German and Russian-German Joint Expeditions (III). GeoJournal, 33, (2/3), Dordrecht, Boston, London, Kluwer, pp. 273-310.
  10. ^ a b Kuhle, M. (2004): The High Glacial (Last Ice Age and LGM) glacier cover in High- and Central Asia. Accompanying text to the mapwork in hand with detailed references to the literature of the underlying empirical investigations. Ehlers, J., Gibbard, P. L. (Eds.). Extent and Chronology of Glaciations, Vol. 3 (Latin America, Asia, Africa, Australia, Antarctica). Amsterdam, Elsevier B.V., pp. 175-199.
  11. ^ Kuhle, M. & Schröder, N. (2000): New Investigations and Results on the Maximum Glaciation of the Kirgisen Shan and Tian Shan Plateau between Kokshaal Tau and Terskey Alatau. Zech, W. (Ed.). Pamir and Tian Shan. Contribution of the Quaternary History. International Workshop at the University of Bayreuth. Abstracts. Bayreuth, University Bayreuth, p. 8.
  12. ^ http://www.salon.com/2011/10/25/how_the_apple_took_over_the_planet/
  13. ^ The Mysterious Origin of the Sweet Apple: On its way to a grocery counter near you, this delicious fruit traversed continents and mastered coevolution, Barrie E. Juniper, American Scientist, Vol. 95, No. 1 (JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2007), pp. 44-51
  14. ^ 新疆天山成功申遗
  15. ^ "Western Tien-Shan". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  • The Contemporary Atlas of China. 1988. London: Marshall Editions Ltd. Reprint 1989. Sydney: Collins Publishers Australia.
  • The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World. Eleventh Edition. 2003. Times Books Group Ltd. London.

External links

Ala Archa National Park

The Ala Archa National Park is an alpine national park in the Tian Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan, established in 1976 and located approximately 40 km south of the capital city of Bishkek.

Battle of Tian Shan

The Battle of Tian Shan (simplified Chinese: 天山之战; traditional Chinese: 天山之戰; pinyin: Tiānshān zhī zhàn) was a battle fought in Tian Shan (in modern-day Xinjiang) in 99 BC during the Han–Xiongnu War. The battle ended with the defeat of the Han Dynasty, whose forces were led by Li Guangli.

Boris Yeltsin Peak

Boris Yeltsin Peak (Russian: Пик Бориса Ельцина) is a mountain of the Tian Shan mountain range in Kyrgyzstan. Located in Issyk-Kul Region. It was renamed in 2002 for the first president of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin. Its previous name was Oguz Bashi.

Borohoro Mountains

The Borohoro Mountains (Chinese: 博罗科努山; pinyin: Bóluōkēnǔ shān; Wade–Giles: P'o-lo-k'o-nu shan) is one of the major ranges of the Tian Shan mountain system. It is almost entirely located within in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, with only a few westernmost peaks being in Kazakhstan.

The Borohoro Range runs in the general west-north-west to east-south-east direction. At its eastern end, southwest of Ürümqi, it joins the main range of the Tian Shan; at the western end, near the China–Kazakhstan border, it joins the Dzungarian Alatau.

The Borohoro Range separates the Dzungarian Basin in the north from the Ili River Basin in the south. Streams flowing from the northern slope of the Borohoro flow toward the Aibi Lake or the Manas Lake; those rising on the southern slope flow toward the Ili River, which flows into Kazakhstan's Lake Balkhash.

The border between Xinjiang's Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture and Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture runs along the Borohoro Range.

Heavenly Lake of Tianshan

Tianchi (Chinese: 天池; pinyin: Tiānchí) is an alpine lake in Xinjiang, Northwest China, situated at 43°53′9.7″N 88°7′56.6″E. The name (天池) literally means Heavenly Lake and can refer to several lakes in mainland China and Taiwan. This Tianchi lies on the north side of the Bogda Shan ("Mountain of God", Bogda is a Mongolian word meaning "God") range of the Tian Shan ("Mountain of Heaven"), about 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of Fukang and 45 kilometres (28 mi) east (straight-line distance) of Ürümqi. It is an alpine drift lake shaped in the Quaternary Glacier period.

Formerly known as Yaochi ("Jade Lake"), it was named Tianchi in 1783 by Mingliang, the Qing Commander of Urumqi Command.

The lake is 1,907 metres (6,257 ft) above sea level, covering 4.9 square kilometres (1.9 sq mi), 105 metres (344 ft) deep at the deepest point.

In 2006, it was designated for four years of restoration work at a cost of 800 million yuan (US$100 million). The plan calls for the tourism area around the lake to be increased from the present 158 km² to 548 km². The lake is classified as a highest level scenic area by the China National Tourism Administration.The lake is accessible by Provincial Highway 111 from Fukang.


Issyk-Kul (also Ysyk Köl, Issyk-Kol: Kyrgyz: Ысык-Көл, Isıq-Köl, ىسىق-كۅل‎, [ɯsɯqkœl]; Russian: Иссык-Куль, Issyk-Kulj) is an endorheic lake in the northern Tian Shan mountains in eastern Kyrgyzstan. It is the seventh deepest lake in the world, the tenth largest lake in the world by volume (though not in surface area), and the second largest saline lake after the Caspian Sea. Issyk-Kul means "warm lake" in the Kyrgyz language; although it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, it never freezes.The lake is a Ramsar site of globally significant biodiversity and forms part of the Issyk-Kul Biosphere Reserve.

Jengish Chokusu

Jengish Chokusu (Kyrgyz: Жеңиш чокусу, Ceñiş çoqusu, جەڭىش چوقۇسۇ [dʒeŋiʃ tʃoqusú]; Russian: Пик Победы, Pik Pobedy [pʲik pɐˈbʲɛdɨ]) is the highest mountain in the Tian Shan mountain system at 7,439 metres (24,406 ft). It lies on the Kyrgyzstan–China border between

the raion of Ak-Suu, in the Issyk-Kul Region of far eastern Kyrgyzstan and Wensu County, Xinjiang, China. It is part of the Kakshaal Too, the highest part of the Tien Shan, and located southeast of lake Issyk Kul.

Khan Tengri

Khan Tengri (Kazakh: Хан Тәңірі, حان تأڭئرئ; Kyrgyz: Хан-Теңири, حان-تەڭىرى; Uyghur: خانتەڭرى‎; simplified Chinese: 汗腾格里峰; traditional Chinese: 汗騰格里峰; pinyin: Hànténggélǐ Fēng, Xiao'erjing: هًا تٍْ قْ لِ فعْ) is a mountain of the Tian Shan mountain range. It is located on the China—Kyrgyzstan—Kazakhstan border, east of lake Issyk Kul. Its geologic elevation is 6,995 m (22,949 ft), but its glacial cap rises to 7,010 m (22,999 ft). For this reason, in mountaineering circles, including for the Soviet Snow Leopard award criteria, it is considered a 7,000-metre peak. The name "Khan Tengri" literally means "King Heaven" in Kazakh and possibly references the deity Tengri. In some other local languages, it is known as Khan Tangiri Shyngy, Kan-Too Chokusu, Pik Khan-Tengry, and Hantengri Feng.

Khan Tengri is the second-highest mountain in the Tian Shan, surpassed only by Jengish Chokusu (means "Victory peak", formerly known as Peak Pobeda) (7,439 m). Khan Tengri is the highest point in Kazakhstan and the third-highest peak in Kyrgyzstan, after Jengish Chokusu (7,439 m) and Avicenna Peak (7,134 m). It is also the world's most northern 7,000-metre peak, notable because peaks of high latitude have a shorter climbing season, generally more severe weather and thinner air.

Kyrgyz Ala-Too Range

The Kyrgyz Ala-Too (Kyrgyz: Кыргыз Ала-Тоосу, also Kyrgyz Alatau, Kyrgyz Range, Alexander Range) is a large range in the North Tien-Shan. It stretches for a total length of 454 km from the west-end of Issyk-Kul to the town Taraz in Kazakhstan. It runs in the east-west direction, separating Chuy Valley from Kochkor Valley, Suusamyr Valley, and Talas Valley. Talas Ala-Too Range adjoins the Kyrgyz Ala-Too in vicinity of Töö Ashuu Pass. The western part of Kyrgyz Ala-Too serves as a natural border between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

List of Ultras of Central Asia

This is a list of the Ultra prominent peaks (with topographic prominence greater than 1,500 metres) in Central Asia. The list is divided topographically rather than politically. There are 75 in total; 21 in the Pamirs, 1 in the Karakum, 5 in the Alays, 24 in the Tian Shan and 24 in the Altai and Mongolia.

Mount Imeon

Mount Imeon () is an ancient name for the Central Asian complex of mountain ranges comprising the present Hindu Kush, Pamir and Tian Shan, extending from the Zagros Mountains in the southwest to the Altay Mountains in the northeast, and linked to the Kunlun, Karakoram and Himalayas to the southeast. The term was used by Hellenistic-era scholars as "Imaus Mount", even though non-Greek in etymology, and predating Alexander the Great.

Naryn District

Naryn District' (formerly Tian'-Shan' District) is a raion of Naryn Region in central-southern Kyrgyzstan. The capital lies at Naryn. Naryn District was established in its borders in 1930. It borders with At-Bashy District to the south, Ak-Talaa District to the west, Kochkor District to the north, Tong District to the north-east, Jeti-Oguz District to the east, and Song Köl to the north-west. Its area is 10,502 square kilometres (4,055 sq mi), and its resident population was 44,080 in 2009.The district is characterized by the scenic Tian Shan Mountains, alpine pastures and Son-Kul lake which during summer months attracts large herds of sheep and horses with their herders and their yurts.

Naryn River

The Naryn River (Kyrgyz: Нарын, Russian: Нарын, Uzbek: Norin) rises in the Tian Shan mountains in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, flowing west through the Fergana Valley into Uzbekistan. Here it merges with the Kara Darya River (near Namangan) to form the Syr Darya. It is 807 kilometres (501 mi) long (together with Chong-Naryn River) and has an annual flow of 13.7 cubic kilometres (11,100,000 acre⋅ft).

The largest tributaries of the Naryn River are: Kichi-Naryn River, At-Bashi River, On Archa River, Kadjyrty River, Chychkan River, Alabuga River, Kökömeren River etc.The river contains many reservoirs which are important in the generation of hydroelectricity. The largest of these is the Toktogul Reservoir in Kyrgyzstan containing 19.9 cubic kilometres (16,100,000 acre⋅ft) of water. Dams downstream of the Toktogul in Kyrgyzstan include: Kurpsai, Tash-Kumyr, Shamaldysai and Uch-Kurgansk. Upstream of Toktogul in Kyrgyzstan is the Kambarata-2 and At-Bashi Dams while the Kambarata-1 and Kambarata-3 are in planning stages.Some places along the river: Kyrgyzstan: Kara-Say (see Barskoon), Naryn Region, Naryn, Dostuk, Jalal-Abad Region, Kazarman, Toktogul Reservoir, Kara-Köl, Tash-Kumyr.

Pyotr Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky

Pyotr Petrovich Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky (Russian: Пётр Петрович Семёнов-Тян-Шанский) (2 January (New style: 14 January), 1827 – 26 February (New style: March 11), 1914) was a Russian geographer and statistician who managed the Russian Geographical Society for more than 40 years.

Pyotr Semenov was born into a noble family and studied at Saint Petersburg University. Together with Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Semenov attended secret meetings of the "Petrashevsky Circle" (a literary discussion group of progressive-minded commoner-intellectuals in St. Petersburg). During the 1850s he studied geography and geology in Berlin under Alexander Humboldt and Carl Ritter, whose writings he translated into Russian.

On Humboldt's suggestion, Semenov determined to explore the largely unknown mountains of the Tian Shan. In 1856, he set off from Barnaul on his first expedition, passing through the Altay Mountains and visiting Lake Issyk Kul on his way. In 1857, he returned to the Tian Shan, exploring the interior of this hitherto unknown mountain range. Semenov was the first European to see the scenic panorama of the Tengri Tag, and its most beautiful peak, the colossal Khan Tengri.

One of his most interesting discoveries was to disprove Humboldt's earlier claims about Tian Shan's supposed volcanic origins. Semenov found no evidence of volcanic activity anywhere in the mountains.

The next year, he published the first systematic description of the Tian Shan. The reputation of this monograph was such that half a century later Nicholas II of Russia authorized him to add the epithet "Tian-Shansky" (that is, "of Tian Shan") to his last name.

Semenov also became interested in statistics and did his best to advance this discipline in Russia. He served as Chairman of the Central Committee for Statistics from 1864 until 1874, when it was transformed into the Statistical Committee of the Ministry of Interior, of which he remained Chairman until 1891. It was largely due to his efforts that the first census of the Russian Empire was held in 1897. The same year, he was made a member of the State Council of Imperial Russia.

During his frequent visits to Switzerland, Italy, and France, Semenov—a man of considerable fortune—amassed a collection of old Dutch masters, which later passed to the Hermitage Museum and was dissipated by the Soviets. His insect collection consisted of ca. 700,000 specimens, while more than a hundred new species were named after him. Semenov was a member of 53 learned societies and managed the Russian Geographical Society from 1873 until his death, using this position to encourage the exploration of inland Asia, notably by Nikolai Przhevalsky and Pyotr Kozlov.

Semenov's memoirs were published after his death in four volumes. Several of his descendants, including a son, Andrey Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky, continued his work and became scientists of note.

Sayram Lake

Sayram Lake (Chinese: 赛里木湖; pinyin: Sàilǐmù hú) is located in the Bortala Prefecture near the Tian Shan Mountains, Xinjiang, China.

In the Kazakh language Sayram means 'blessing'.

It is also known as Santai Haizi.

It is the largest (458 km²) alpine lake in Xinjiang and also the highest (2,070 m).

"There is a touching love story about Sayram Lake. It is said that it was composed of the tears of a couple of Kazak young lovers. A beautiful girl and a young man were deeply in love. One day, a cruel devil was captivated by the girl's beauty. He captured the girl and confined her to his residence. The girl took a chance to escape, but the devil found out very soon and went after the girl. She was forced to jump into an abyss. Later, her boyfriend heard of this and he was so sad that he jumped into the abyss to be reunited with his lover. Their painful tears flooded into the abyss and formed Sayram Lake."

Tectonics of the Tian Shan

The Tian Shan is a mountain range in central Asia that extends through western China, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. The Tian Shan is 2,800 kilometres (1,700 mi) long, and up to 7,400 metres (24,300 ft) high. Throughout the Tian Shan there are several intermontane basins separated by high ranges. Plate tectonic theory makes the assumption that deformation is concentrated along plate boundaries. However, active deformation is observed in the Tian Shan, far from plate boundaries. This apparent contradiction of plate tectonic theory makes the Tian Shan a key place to study the dynamics of intracontinental deformation.

Tian Shan wapiti

The Tian Shan wapiti or Tian Shan maral (Cervus canadensis songaricus), is a subspecies of Cervus canadensis. It is often called the Tian Shan elk in North American English.

Torugart Pass

Torugart Pass (Chinese: 吐尔尕特山口; Kyrgyz: Торугарт; Russian: Перевал Торугарт) is a mountain pass in the Tian Shan mountain range near the border between the Naryn Province of Kyrgyzstan and the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. It is one of two border crossings between Kyrgyzstan and China, the other being Irkeshtam, some 165 km (103 mi) to the southwest.

The scenic Lake of Chatyr-Kul lies near the pass on the Kyrgyz side. The road to Naryn and then to Balykshy and Bishkek—stretching for some 400 km (250 mi)—is narrow and in winter often impassable due to heavy snowfall and frequent avalanches. On the Chinese side, the Torugart Port of Entry (吐尔尕特口岸), where travelers must clear for customs, is located about 110 km (68 mi) from the pass itself in Ulugqat County of the Kizilsu Kirghiz Autonomous Prefecture. Distances from the pass to major cities are: 110 km (68 mi) to Ulugqat, 165 km (103 mi) to Kashgar, 170 kilometres (110 mi) to Artux and some 1,630 km (1,010 mi) to Urumqi.

Vladimir Putin Peak

Vladimir Putin Peak (Kyrgyz: Владимир Путин атындагы чоку, Russian: Пик Владимира Путина) is a mountain of the Tian Shan mountain range in Kyrgyzstan. Located in the Chuy Region. It was named in 2011 after the second president of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

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