Lofty lines of fold mountains form the " backbones " of North America in the Rocky of Mountains and the west coast systems, of South America in the Cordillera of the Andes, of Europe in the Pyrenees, Alps, Carpathians and Caucasus, and of Asia in the mountains of Asia Minor, converging on the Pamirs and diverging thence in the Himalaya and the vast mountain systems of central and eastern Asia.
On the Pamirs Russia has since 1885 been conterminous with British India (Kashmir); but the boundary then swings away N.
The forward movement of Russia was thus stopped in the direction of Herat, but it continued with great activity farther east in the region of the Pamirs, until another Anglo-Russian convention was signed in 1895.
Although the establishment of a lucrative trade between India and central Asia had been the dream of many successive Indian viceroys, and much had been done towards improving the approaches to Simla from the north, very little was in really known of the highlands of the Pamirs, or of the regions of the great central depression, before the mission of central Asia.
Holdich, Colonel St George Gore and Sir Adelbert Talbot; and when Ney Elias crossed from China through the Pamirs and Badakshan to the camp of the commission, identifying the great " Dragon Lake," Rangkul, on his way.
(afterwards Lord) Curzon in the Pamirs, and St George Littledale on his first great Tibetan journey, accompanied by his wife.
Most important great natural mountain divisions of the boundary world, consists of two parallel chains, of which the western is the water-divide of the Pamirs, and the eastern (which has been known as the Kashgar or Kandar range) is split at intervals by lateral gorges to allow of the passage of the main drainage from the eastern Pamir slopes.
Every pass of importance is known and recorded; every route of significance has been explored and mapped; Afghanistan has assumed a new political entity by the demarcation of a boundary; the value of Herat and of the Pamirs as bases of aggression has been assessed, and the whole intervening space of mountain and plain thoroughly examined.
Between the Russian Pamirs and Chinese Turkestan the rugged line of the Sarikol range intervenes, the actual dividing line being still indefinite.
Blanford, Elementary Geography of India, Burma, and Ceylon (London, 1890); Guide to the Climate and Weather of India (London, 1889); Lord Dunmore, The Pamirs (London, 1892); A.
The great chain of mountains which, under the names of Paropamisus and Hindu-Kush, extends from the Caspian to the Pamirs is interrupted some 180 m.
Thus Badakshan reaches out an arm into the Pamirs eastwards - bottle-shaped - narrow at the neck (represented by the northern slopes of the Hindu Kush), and swelling out eastwards so as to include a part of the great and little Pamirs.
From the Oxus (loon ft.) to Faizabad (4000 ft.) and Zebak (850o ft.) the course of the Kokcha offers a high road across Badakshan;, between Zebak and Ishkashim, at the Oxus bend, there is but an insignificant pass of 9500 ft.; and from Ishkashim by the Panja, through the Pamirs, is the continuation of what must once have been a much-traversed trade route connecting Afghan Turkestan with Kashgar and China.
In a wider application it means the succession of ranges which extend from the Pamirs on the W.
Between the Pamirs and the transverse glen of the Kara-muren, that is, nearly to the longitude of the town of Cherchen (about 852° E.).
1876) still further defined and accentuated the conception of the system by representing it as a complex arrangement of several parallel ranges, running in wavy lines from the Pamirs (76° E.) eastwards to 118° E.
On the east the Pamir highlands are fenced off from the East Turkestan lowlands by the double border-ridge of Sarik-kol (the Sarik-kol range and the Murtagh or Kashgar range), which has its eastern foot down in the Tarim basin (4000-4500 ft.) and its western up on the Pamirs at 10,500 to 13,000 ft.
These eastward continuations of the double border-range of the Pamirs are the constituent ranges of the Kuen-lun proper.
It lies on the right bank of the middle Oxus, between 37° and 41° N., and between 62° and 72° E., and is bounded by the Russian governments of Syr-darya, Samarkand and Ferghana on the N., the Pamirs on the E., Afghanistan on the S., and the Transcaspian territory and Khiva on the W.
Its south-eastern frontier on the Pamirs is undetermined except where it touches the Russian dominions.
Tibet is affected by the south-west monsoon, just as the Pamirs are affected, but in varying degrees according to geographical position.
Wind is a prevailing feature throughout Tibet at certain seasons of the year, as it is in the Pamirs, in Turkestan, in western Afghanistan and in Persia.
The peculiar form of tussocky grass which prevails in the Pamirs is the characteristic feature of the Tibetan Chang-t'ang of the Tsaidam plains and of the bogs north-east of Lhasa.
From Lake Victoria (Sor-Kul) in the Pamirs, which was originally reckoned as the true source of the river, to Khamiab, on the edge of the Andkhui district of Afghan Turkestan, for a distance of about 680 m., the Oxus forms the boundary between Afghanistan and Russia.
It is possible that there may be warm springs on the bed of Lake Victoria, as such springs are of frequent occurrence in the Pamirs; but there is no indication of them in the Chakmaktin basin, and the latter lake must be regarded rather as an incident in the course of the Aksu - a widening of the river channel in the midst of this highlevel, glacier-formed valley - than as the fountain-head of the infant stream.
From the point where the rivers of the Great and Little Pamirs join their forces at Kala Panja to Ishkashim, at the elbow of the great bend of the Oxus northwards, the river valley has Surveys.
All this part of the Oxus, until the river once again emerges from the Bokhara hills into the open plains bordering Badakshan on the north, falls within the area of Russian surveys, with which a junction from India has been effected both on the Pamirs and in Turkestan.
The existence of this route, which traverses the Darwaz mountains from east to west, cutting off the northern bend of the Oxus, and connecting those easterly routes which intersect the Pamirs by means of the Ghund and Shakhdara (and which concentrate about Lake Shiwa) with Kolab in eastern Bokhara, is important.
AUTHoRITIEs.-Although much has been written of late years about the sources of the Oxus within the region of the Pamirs, there is very little to be found in the writings of geographers of modern date descriptive of that part of its course which separates Darwaz and Afghan Turkestan from Bokhara, and that little is chiefly in the pages of reports and gazettes, &c., which are not available to the public. The following authorities may be consulted: The Report of the Pamir Boundary Commission of 1895, published at Calcutta (1897); Dr A.
The boundary meets the Oxus at Khamiab at the western extremity of the cultivated district of Khwaja Salar, and from that point to the eastern end of Lake Victoria in the Pamirs the main channel of the Oxus river forms the northern limits of Afghanistan.
Yarkand is surrounded by a number of smaller towns, the chief of which are - Yanghi-hissar, which has about 600 houses, Tashkurgan on the Pamirs, Posgam (1600 houses), Kargalyk, at the junction of the routes leading to Ladakh and Khotan (2000 houses), Sanju (2000), Tagarchi, Kartchum, Besh-taryk (1800) and Guma (3000).
Beyond the Indus, to the north-west, the region of mountain ranges which stretches to a junction with the Hindu Kush south of the Pamirs, is usually known as Trans-Himalaya.
PAMIRS, a mountainous region of central Asia, lying on the north-west border of India.
Since 1875 the Pamirs have probably been the best explored region in High Asia.
Since Wood first discovered a source of the Oxus in Lake Victoria in 1837, and left us a somewhat erroneous conception of the physiography of the Pamirs, the gradual approach of Russia from the north stimulated the processes of exploration from the side of India.
Native explorers from India first began to be busy in the Pamirs about 1860, and continued their investigations for the following fifteen years.
In 1885 Ney Elias made his famous journey across the Pamirs from east to west, identifying the Rang Kul as the Dragon Lake of Chinese geographers - a distinction which has also been claimed by some geographers for Lake Victoria.
Since then other travellers have visited the Pamirs, but the junction of the Russian and British surveys (the latter based on triangulation carried across the Hindu Kush from India) disposes of any further claim to the honours of geographical exploration.
It has been too often assumed that the plateau of Tibet and the uplands of the Pamirs are analogous in physiography, and that they merge into each other.
Vii.) that the high-level valleys of glacial formation which distinguish the Pamirs have no real counterpart in the Chang or plains of Tibet.
There are the true Pamirs (i.e.
Valleys reaching up in long slopes to the foot of mountain peaks) on either side, and the Pamirs on the west differ in some essential respects from those on the east.
On the west the following are generally recognized as distinct Pamirs: (1) the Great Pamir, of which the dominant feature is Lake Victoria; (2) the Little Pamir, separated from the Great Pamir on the north by what is now known as the Nicolas range; (3) the Pamir-i-Wakhan, which is the narrow trough of the Wakhan tributary of the Oxus, the term Pamir applying to its upper reaches only; (4) the Alichur - the Pamir of the Yeshil Kul and Ghund - immediately to the north of the Great Pamir; (5) the Sarez Pamir, which forms the valley of the Murghab river, which has here found its way round the east of the Great Pamir and the Alichur from the Little Pamir, and now makes westwards for the Oxus.
To the east of the Sarikol chain is the Taghdumbash Pamir, which claims many of the characteristics of the western Pamirs at its upper or western extremity, where the Karachukar, which drains it, is a comparatively small stream.
Here are water-mills and many permanent appliances of civilization suited to the lower altitude (11,500 ft., the average height of the upper Pamirs being about 13,000), and here we are no longer near the sources of the river at the foot of the mountain peaks.
But this Pamir is situated nowhere near the sources of the Zarafshan or Raskam river, which it borders, and possesses little in common with the Pamirs of the west.
Within the limits of these partially explored highlands, lying between the Pamirs and the Tibetan table-land, exact geographical definition is impossible.
One important pass (the Beyik, 15,100 ft.) leads from the Russian Pamirs into Sarikol across its northern border.
From Lake Victoria of the Great Pamir the northern boundary of that extended strip of Afghanistan which reaches out to the head of the Taghdumbash from Badakshan north of the Hindu Boundary between Kush is to be traced: westwards, in the Lake Victoria b Russia and affluent of the Oxus; and eastwards, on the Nicolas Afghan- range, dividing the Great and Little Pamirs, till it over.
There is no evidence that the Pamirs were ever the support of permanent settlements.
The total population of the Russian Pamirs has been reckoned at 250 "kibitkas," or 1500 souls.
For six or seven months of the year (November to April) the Pamirs are covered with snow, the lakes are frozen, and the passes nearly impracticable.
There were indications that monsoon influences extended as far north at least as the Great Pamir, and a definite analogy was established between the record of barometric pressure on the Pamirs and that of the outer ranges of the Himalaya.
Gordon, The Roof of the World (London, 1876); Pitman (trans.), Through the Heart of Asia (London, 1889); Earl of Dunmore, The Pamirs (London, 1893); Major Cumberland, Sport on the Pamirs (London, 1895); Hon.
Curzon, "The Pamirs and the Source of the Oxus," R.
Its southern limits, on the Pamirs, were fixed by an Anglo-Russian commission in 1885, from Zor-kul (Victoria Lake) to the Chinese frontier; and Shignan, Roshan and Wakhan were assigned to Bokhara in exchange for part of Darvaz (on the left bank of the Panj), which was given to Afghanistan.
The routes to Kashgaria and the Pamirs are mere bridle-paths over the mountains, crossing them by lofty passes.
For instance, the passes of Kara-kazyk (14,400 ft.) and Tenghiz-bai (11,200 ft.), both passable all the year round, lead from Marghelan to Karateghin and the Pamirs, while Kashgar is reached via Osh and Gulcha, and then over the passes of Terek-davan (12,205 ft.; open all the year round), Taldyk (11,500 ft.), Archat (11,600 ft.), and Shart-davan (14,000 ft.).
II.-East Turkestan East or Chinese Turkestan, sometimes called Kashgaria, is a region in the heart of Asia, lying between the Tian-shan ranges on the north and the Kuen-lun ranges on the south, and stretching east from the Pamirs to the desert of Gobi and the Chinese province of Kan-su (98° E.).
In1906-1908Dr Stein made a second and more important journey, principally for the purpose of antiquarian research, though he also carried out important geographical investigations, with the assistance of a native surveyor, in the Eastern Pamirs (about Mustagh-ata), in the Nissa valley south of Khotan, and elsewhere.
Despite that it is an important highway of communication between Bokhara and the Pamirs on the one hand and Kashgar and Ferghana on the other.
Here begins a good road up to the Pamirs, practicable for artillery.