Alichur is a small village situated in the middle of magnificent high-altitude scenery and not far from the Pamir Wakhan corridor. The landscape is not as barren as it seems, but has instead rugs of low-lying Alpine flowers hunkered down against the bitter winds and thick-furred marmots and yaks grazing on tentative grass shoots. The population of the village consists mainly from ethnic Kyrgyz who are happy to invite you for a tour around the village. From Alichur you can have a trek to the lakes Zorkul, Yashilkul and Bulunkul or rest here in one of the modest guest houses on the road between Kochkor and Murghab.
Alichur Valley is a desolate region located high up in the Pamir Mountains. The Valley is not the most welcoming of places with the lowest elevation at a still-high altitude of 2987 meters above sea level. The Alichur Valley continues for over 60 kilometers and is characterized by freezing gusty winds, frequent hailstorms, and thin air that makes breathing difficult. Water is scarce and altitude sickness is common which can make especially hiking here a challenge.
Not many people can handle these harsh conditions – particularly not voluntarily but the local residents do live in unusual-looking whitewashed yurt camps dotted here and there across the hillside. For those that do attempt to this untouched and rather desolate part of the globe, the Alichur Valley does have its rewards. It serves as a gateway to some of Tajikistan’s most beautiful lakes like Bulun-Kul and Yasil-Kul, and some authentic mountain villages.
Sights around Alichur
Bash Gumbez Caravanserai
Bash Gumbez is a ruined caravanserai that lies about 30 km east of Alichur in the tiny village of Bash Gumbez. About 3 km west outside the village, you can also find an old Chinese tomb.
Ak Balyk translates as the “white fish pond” (White spring by straight translation) and it is a holy spring located 12 km east of Alichur village. The water in this small pond is extremely crystal clear and you can see all the way to the bottom of the spring.
Tomb of the Chinese Merchant
The tomb belongs to the Chines commander who died here. The reason is unknown but the story tells that his friend built a tomb for him. They were heading through the Wakhan Valley along the Silk Road when something happened. A fence was added lately around the tomb as there are also graves of locals around the tomb and tourists have been carelessly walking over the graves.
Sasyk-Kel and Tuz-Kol Lake
Sassykul lake is located southwest of Alichur on the way to Yashikul lake. Sassykul means “stinky lake” which smells of spoiled eggs due to the sulfur gas release from it. The lake mirrored the mountains and the deep blue sky gave the frame a somehow unreal touch. Just next to the Sasykyl lake lies Tuzkol on the west. Tuzkul means “salty” because the water is salty.
Jelondy Hot Springs
Jelondy is another tiny town near Alichur and is the home to several hot springs. The town is located 120 km east of Khorog on the road M42 (Pamir Highway). The Jelondy town is popular for its healing sanatoriums with some bathing and accommodation options. Hot springs are located inside of a building and if you not squeamish you should try it. Hot springs of Jelondy are not the luxury ones but more for the local standards.
Other sights near Alichur
Page updated 25.2.2023