Zorkul

Zorkul

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Zorkul is a lake
Lake
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...

 in the Pamir Mountains
Pamir Mountains
The Pamir Mountains are a mountain range in Central Asia formed by the junction or knot of the Himalayas, Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun, and Hindu Kush ranges. They are among the world’s highest mountains and since Victorian times they have been known as the "Roof of the World" a probable...

 that runs along the border between Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

. It extends east to west for about 25 km. The Afghan-Tajik border runs along the lake from east to west, turning south towards Concord Peak
Concord Peak
Concord Peak is a mountain of the Pamirs, on the Afghan-Tajik border, about south of Lake Zorkul....

 (5,469 m), about 15 km south of the lake. The lake's northern half lies in Tajikistan. Out of the lake, towards the west, flows the Pamir River
Pamir River
The Pamir is a river in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. It is a tributary of the Panj River, and forms the northern boundary of Wakhan.The river has its sources in the Pamir Mountains in Gorno-Badakhshan province in the far eastern part of Tajikistan. It flows between the Wakhan Range and the Southern...

, tracing the Afghan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

-Tajik
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

 border. It is therefore a source of the Amu Darya
Amu Darya
The Amu Darya , also called Oxus and Amu River, is a major river in Central Asia. It is formed by the junction of the Vakhsh and Panj rivers...

 or Oxus River. The Great Pamir
Great Pamir
The Great Pamir or Big Pamir is a broad U-shaped grassy valley or pamir in the eastern part of the Wakhan in north-eastern Afghanistan and the adjacent part of Tajikistan, in the Pamir Mountains...

 extends to the south of the lake.

The lake was once in the territory of the mir of Wakhan
Wakhan
Wakhan or "the Wakhan" is a very mountainous and rugged part of the Pamir and Karakoram regions of Afghanistan. Wakhan District is a district in Badakshan Province.-Geography:...

, but the lake and river were established as the border between Russia and Afghanistan by agreement between the Russians and the British in 1895. At the eastern end of the lake is a small settlement, Qarabolaq.

Although there is a probable reference to the lake in Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

's account, the first European known to have visited the lake was the British naval officer John Wood
John Wood (explorer)
John Wood was a Scottish naval officer, surveyor, cartographer and explorer, principally remembered for his exploration of central Asia....

 in 1838. Sir-i-kol became known to the British as Lake Victoria of Pamirs, although Wood declined to name it so.

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