Mountains in Afghanistan: name, height, photo

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Mountains in Afghanistan: name, height, photo
Mountains in Afghanistan: name, height, photo

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is an ancient state located in the southwest of Central Asia, the modern name of which was given in the 19th century. In Afghanistan, mountains cover most of the territory and include high ranges and valleys located between them.

Geographic location

The territory of Afghanistan is located in the northeast of the Iranian Plateau, in which the main massive range is the Hindu Kush. Its height in some places reaches 5 km, and the Wakhan Range rises to a height of more than 6 km.

The highest mountain in Afghanistan located on the border with Pakistan is Naushak, numbering 7485 m above sea level. A significant part of the mountain range is covered with ice, there are various types of glaciers.

Mount Nowshak

Climate, soils and natural resources

The climate of Afghanistan has a pronounced vertical zonality, ranging from semi-desert regions and steppes to foothills and valleys, as well as high- altitude cold deserts. The difference in air temperature between mountains and lowlands contributes tothe formation of strong winds.

The main source of food for large rivers in Afghanistan are melt waters descending from mountain glaciers. Floods occur in spring and summer. Most of the water is diverted to irrigate the fields, so in the second half of the summer the rivers become shallow. The rivers Kabul and Gerurid, fed from the glaciers of the Hindu Kush, have many tributaries.

Hydrodams have been built on many rivers, forming artificial reservoirs. The soils on the mountain slopes are mountain meadow and chernozem. Shrubs and light forests grow on the lower slopes, groves of pistachios, wild roses and wild almonds. Higher up, the vegetation is more sparse, but in spring the valleys and slopes of the mountains of Afghanistan, the photos of which you can see in the article, are covered with flowers and look very picturesque.

In the Indo-Himalaya region, at an altitude of up to 1.5 km, steppe zones alternate with forests of palms, acacias, figs, and deciduous forests are located above.

Spring and flowers

What mountains are in Afghanistan

Mountain ranges run through most of the country, running in several directions, mainly from the northeast to the southwest. The average height is 1.2 km. In the center and northeast there is a mountain plateau about 1.8 km high, the main part of which is the Hindu Kush. From different sides, the plateau descends into lowland areas, except for the eastern ones, where the ridge passes into the Pamir Mountains.

To the west of the Hindu Kush lies the hard-to-reach highlands of Khazarajat (3-4 km high), where, due to constant weathering, rocks are severely destroyed. Alongthe slopes of the highlands lie large accumulations of crumbling debris - damans.

To the west of Hazarajat, the ridges of the Paropamiz mountains diverge like a fan. These include: Safedkoh and Siahkoh, separated by the valley of the river Harirud.

In the north-east of the country, on the left bank of the Amu Darya, there is a mountainous region of Badakhshan. It consists of high mountain ranges, between which there are valleys. During the winter months, it is very cold here, the passes are covered with a thick layer of snow, and small rivers are covered with ice.

East of Badakhshan - Wakhan region, consisting of 2 high mountain valleys fed from the Pyanj river system and surrounded by high mountains.

Map of Afghanistan and mountains

Mountains in Afghanistan: names

The most famous names of the Afghan mountains:

  • Baba - one of the ranges of the Hindu Kush in the center of the country, up to 5 km high, is the watershed in which the sources of the Afghan rivers are located.
  • Vakhani Range - mountains in the south of the Pamirs, 160 km long, 5-6.2 km high.
  • The Hindu Kush is a large mountain system passing through the countries of Central Asia, the northern part is located in Afghanistan.
  • Noshak is the highest mountain in Afghanistan, located in the north-east of the country, the second highest in the Hindu Kush system and the 52nd in the world.
  • Safedkoh - the Paropamiza mountain range, located on the border with Pakistan, the length is more than 400 km, the height is up to 4.1 km.
  • Siahkoh - The Black Mountains in Afghanistan, in the south of Paropomiz, their length is about 200 km, the height reaches 3.3 km, they are composed of shale and sandstone.
  • Pamir(translated from Iranian as "the roof of the world") - a large mountain system in the southern part of Central Asia, which passes through Tajikistan, China, Afghanistan and India.
  • Middle Afghan mountains - located in the east of the Iranian Highlands, in the basins of the river. Harirud and Farahrud, length 600 km, maximum height 4.1 km (Haysar ridge), are medium-high desert mountain ranges.
  • Suleiman Mountains - geographically located in part of Pakistan and in the Afghan province of Zabul, south of the Hindu Kush.
Mountain pass

Mountain passes of Afghanistan

Crossing through the high mountain ranges in the country is carried out only through 3 main passes that have existed as transport arteries for more than one century:

  • Barogil - located in the Hindu Kush on the way from the mountains of Afghanistan (photo above) to the western part of Pakistan, located at an altitude of 3.8 km, one of the most accessible.
  • The Salang Pass-Tunnel, built by the Soviet troops in the Hindu Kush mountains in the 1960s, connects the north and south of the country, the highest road in the world passes here (over 4 km).
  • Khyber - located in the Safedkoh mountains at an altitude of 1.03 km, on the border with Pakistan, an ancient trade route.
  • South Vahjirdavan - located in the Pamir mountains in the east of the Wakhan corridor, on the border with China, height 4.9 km.
Salang Tunnel

History in Brief

The passes located on the Hindu Kush mountain ranges have been of great strategic importance since ancient times.It was through them that the army of Alexander the Great crossed during the transition to Asia in 329 BC. e. Historians suggest that the troops moved through the Khavak pass to suppress the uprising in the state of Bactria, which was then the eastern province of the Persian Empire.

After this territory was captured by the troops of A. Macedonian and the first settlements appeared in the mountains of Afghanistan more than 3 thousand years ago, more precisely in 330 BC. e. After the death of the emperor, the lands passed into the possession of the Seleucid state.

In the 1st-2nd centuries Buddhism, which came from the Muary empire, spread here: monasteries appeared. From the 7th century the territory went to the principality of Kabul-Shahi, and in the IX century. Islam was brought here during the reign of the Saffarid dynasty, which radically changed the local life. In the 16th century, the territory of Afghanistan was captured by the Great Mongol Empire.

The first united state was Durranian, which was founded in the middle of the 18th century. military Ahmad Shah Durrani, but then it broke up into separate principalities. In the following centuries, the territory of Afghanistan served as an arena of struggle and wars between the British and Russian empires, which ended in 1919 with independence.

Soldiers in the mountains

During the 20th century, coups d'etat, revolutions and wars took place in the country. In 1978, the DRA (Democratic Republic of Afghanistan) was proclaimed and a civil war began, in which the Soviet Union intervened by introducing its troops. They were withdrawn only in 1989, but the civil warcontinued. The Taliban came to power, declaring it their goal to build an Islamic state.

In 2002, after the operations of the US troops, the Taliban regime was eliminated, and then the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was proclaimed.

Hindukush: ranges and location

The chain of high, hard-to-reach Hindu Kush mountains (translated from Persian as "Indian mountain") stretches for 800 km in length and up to 350 km in width. It originates in the northeastern part of the Pamirs, where the border between Pakistan and China passes. Then it goes through the territory of Pakistan and western Afghanistan. The mountains are located in the watershed of the basins of large river systems - the Amu Darya and the Indus.

The main mountain ranges are Baba, Paghman and Hindu Kush. On the territory of Afghanistan, the western part of the ridge is notable for its low height (3.5-4 km). The highest places - Central Hindu Kush (up to 6 km) - are located northeast of Kabul (the capital of the state).

The geological structure is represented by a complex fragmented horst-anticlinorium, located within the Alpine geosynclinal region of folded type. Structurally, the mountains are composed of ancient metamorphic rocks and granites.

Vegetation is very sparse due to lack of rainfall. The subsoil is rich in coal, iron and polymetal ores, there are deposits of sulfur, lapis lazuli, graphite and gold ores.

mountain ranges

Rivers and Hindu Kush landscape

Mountain rivers run down the Hindu Kush, they are fed by snow and glaciers and are characterized by floods in the spring and summer.

Mountain landscapesAfghanistan and altitude vary greatly and depend on the climate zone:

  • In the north - slopes with tall grass and pistachio on gray soil.
  • In the center there are bushes, thickets of juniper, soils - mountain and red-brown.
  • The upper part of the mountains is occupied by dry steppe and desert vegetation of the Tibetan species, soils are low-humus gray soils.
  • Southeast slopes are more humid, with dry forests and shrubs growing on brown subtropical soils.
  • Above 2.5 km, the mountains are covered with broad-leaved forests of Himalayan tree species (evergreen oaks, etc.), at an altitude of 3.3 km - conifers, then you can find creeping juniper and rhododendron.
  • The upper belt of mountains belongs to alpine cereal meadows.

In the Hindu Kush, there are snow leopards, wolves, leopards, mountain goats (as well as bezoars), etc.

Traveler and mountains

Alpine lakes

In the middle of the mountains of Afghanistan at an altitude of more than 3 km, between the Hindu Kush ranges, there is a chain of 6 beautiful Bande Amir lakes. The name, which translates as "Ali Dam", was given by the local Shiites in honor of the 4th Caliph and 1st Imam of this teaching.

The lakes differ in area and depth: the largest is Bande-Zulfikar (length 6.5 km); the smallest Bande-Panir (diameter 100 m); the deepest is Bande Khaibat (150 m).

All lakes are separated by natural formations (rocks, dams). The mountains in this area are composed of calcareous tufa, which are wellweathered and exposed to water releases carbon dioxide. Due to a chemical reaction, water bodies have a bright turquoise color and are saturated with carbon dioxide. The water in the lakes has a characteristic taste due to the content of a weak solution of carbonic acid, which slows down the growth of bacteria.

Bande Amir lakes

Due to the arid climate, the vegetation around is very sparse. Therefore, the unique landscapes of cold reservoirs against the backdrop of stone mountains rising from the water are very impressive for tourists and caravan drivers.

Creation of the National Park

The Great Silk Road used to pass through these places. Nearby, in the Bamiyan Valley, there was the only convenient passage through the Hindu Kush in the area. The rulers and invaders waged a desperate battle for valuable territories, as a result of which the most dramatic events in the ancient history of Afghanistan took place on the shores of the lakes.

There are many legends about the lakes, claiming that they were created by mystical forces.

In the 1960s, it was planned to create a natural reserve here, but due to political turmoil and wars, this issue was postponed several times. And only in 2004, at the request of the Afghan authorities, the lakes were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, and the Bande Amir National Park was created on the territory.

Even now, many Afghans visit the area of ​​the lakes to pray and treat them as a religious shrine.

Lakes and National Park

Sights of the mountainous regions of Afghanistan

The mostfamous, but, unfortunately, lost to mankind, the landmark of the country were Buddhist statues. They were located near the Bamiyan Valley in the mountains of Afghanistan, 200 km northwest of Kabul.

In the 2nd century there were many Buddhist monasteries in which several thousand monks lived.

Multi-story cave complexes were hollowed out in the rocks, in which not only locals lived, but also visiting merchants and pilgrims could stop. During the reign of King Ashoka, the construction of giant stone statues began here, which were created by local craftsmen right on the surface of the mountain. Their creation lasted over 200 years.

In the 9th century, the city of Gaugale was founded here, then destroyed by the troops of Genghis Khan. Then this complex received the name Kafirkala, i.e., "the city of the infidels." Among the rocks were 2 giant statues of Buddha, but they were not touched by any conquerors. The statues of Buda and local shrines in the rocks symbolized the glory and prosperity of Afghanistan, standing here for more than a millennium and a half.

Bamiyan Buddha, 1995

However, only photographs have survived to this day. In 2001, the statues were blown up and destroyed by the Taliban, who classified them as pagan idols and decided to destroy them. This was done despite the protests of the world community and the authorities of many Islamic countries.

Information about the names of the mountains in Afghanistan, their natural resources and attractions, is useful for all people interested in the history and geography of other states of our planet.

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