Outside the City. Mountain Wonderland at your Fingertips

Outside the City. Mountain Wonderland at your Fingertips

The western Tien Shan Mountains offer skiing, hiking, and more, and are only a short drive from Tashkent.
Are you searching for breathtaking grandeur and long-lasting memories? You need only to gather up the courage, discard the burdens of everyday life and business, and head northeast from Tashkent towards the sparkling mountains nearby. Maybe the most adventurous of you have already discovered this small corner of Uzbekistan’s natural beauty. This information is for those who haven’t made it yet. And so, get in a car and head out! Leave the city behind you on the road past an excellent panorama of the Chirchik River valley. By now, you will have already forgotten all of your worries as you slowly ascend into the Tien Shan Mountains, letting nothing disturb the elegance of this landscape.

Drive about 35 km to the city of Chirchik, where the valley gradually narrows. On the left is the Korzhantau Range (2760 m), the Ugam (3623 m) and Pskem Ranges are visible ahead . Mount Adelung (4301) and Mount Beshtor (4299 m), the major peaks of the western Tien Shans in Tashkent Province, is found here among a large cluster of mountain ridges. On sunny days, you can see Mount Chimgan of the Chatkal Range to the right. The Road to the mountain area passes through the city of Gazalkent. In Gazalkent, you can stop and do some shopping at the local bazaar. The fruits and vegetables of the bazaar are well-known for their ecological purity, especially strawberries and cherries. After buying a few provisions, continue on. Immediately past Gazalkent you come to a fork in the road – we’ll take the left road, which bends around the south shore of Lake Charvak and to town Charvak, a peaceful hamlet blanketed in flowering fruit trees in the spring.

We recommend a stop for lunch at the Khodjikent crossroad, at the one of the chaikhanas near to “Chinary” place (named for a nearby 800-year-old tree), a popular spot among vacationers to the region. In the summer, you can stretch out on an “ayvan” (a wood bench covered with rugs), just like a dervish. The “Chinary” place is famous not only as a great spot for food, but also because primitive peoples once settled here, as far back as thousands years ago. After the chaikhana, the road leads sharply upward. A view of turquoise lakes, the dam and mountains will rouse your soul. Stop anywhere you like, breathe the purity, witness the grandeur. You may catch yourself thinking: “What is life? Monotonous working days or this peaceful beauty?”.

Ascending further, you can see the green roofs of the mountain pensions below, where you might stay for a day’s rest. The road goes higher still, to the village of Chimgan. The territory borders Kyrgyzstan and at one time, belonged to Kazakhstan. All three nationalities are represented here, and happily welcome guests. Along the road, villagers sell nuts, apples and almonds, their little huts snuggling into the mountainside. Just a little bit further and we arrive at the “Chimgan” Resort. We get out of the car and go get a room.

The resort is popular among local inhabitants, as they spend summer vacations and skiing holidays here. Many ski trails with varying degrees of difficulty fan out from the resort, as well as ski lifts for the riders. A miracle of natural beauty, Beldersay, is located just 8 kilometers from here. On Mount Kumbeli, you can ascend the peak on one of the longest ski lift in Central Asia, a 30-minute, 3.5 km ride. There are also several hotels located here. Besides the hotels, there is one of the highest meteorological station in the world at 2307 meters above sea level. Another 800 meters up and you can enjoy a panorama of the mountains and valleys.

Next to Belderay the modern Amirsoy ski resort is located. It occupies an area of 900 hectares in one of the most beautiful and picturesque places, on the spurs of the Chatkal ridge, just 65 kilometers from Tashkent.

First published 20.10.2008
on materials of Time Out Tashkent
Last edited – 04.03.2020

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