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Haftkul Valley

There are many places in the world where nature shows its incredible beauty, but it would be hard to find a place like Haftkul Valley where, set against a wonderful backdrop at the foot of snowy mountains, surrounded by woods, under a blue cloudless sky, there are multi-coloured lakes with iridescent water ranging in colour from a gentle green to a deep lilac.(

A complex interweaving of ridges and former glaciers formed banks of moraines which created the conditions for the lakes’ formation in the lonely mountain gorges.  In the Fan mountain are about 30 lakes with cold, transparent water, born amid snow-topped fields.  The lakes are located on base of the ancient and new moraines which were formed by thawing and former glaciers.  The most special of these lakes are the Marguzor lakes or, as they are sometimes called, the Seven Beauties of Shing.  These are a string of seven turquoise lakes, cascading down the Shing valley.  Some even refer to them as one of the seven wonders of the natural world.(

The lowest lake is located at an altitude of 1,598m, the second 1,701m and so on, each lake being higher, more beautiful and more remote than the previous, with the last lake being more than 2,400m above sea level.  Local people say that those who reach it will find true happiness.(

Marguzor lakes, and especially Mizhgon Lake, are particularly beautiful because of the unusual colour of the water.  The mineral content of the water gives it its blue hue, even in the foam of the rough Shing River.  When the tempestuous Shing spreads out and turns to the smooth, tranquil surface of the lakes, the water turns to an array of deep colours ranging from indigo to deep violet.(

The secret of these lakes lies in their legends.  According to folklore, a smith once lived in the valley with his seven beautiful daughters.  One day the local governor saw the youngest daughter and fell at once in love with her.  The father agreed to give his daughter to him in marriage, but she did not want to marry the old governor.  The clever girl resorted to a ruse, and insisted that she would only marry if the governor built her a fantastic gold palace.  The girl was sure that he would not be able to do it, but, inspired by love, the old man worked a miracle, and built her a palace in 40 days.  Realising that her fate had been decided, on her wedding day, the young beauty threw herself down from the roof of the palace in her wedding dress.  Mizhgon lake appeared in that place, and the other lakes were formed from the tears of her sisters.

Pragmatic geologists explain that the lakes formed as the result of an earthquake.  One of the seven lakes is named Hushyor (vigilant) because poisonous snakes are found in the area.  Another interesting lake – Hazorchashma (one thousand springs) – is fed by many springs and small streams, as well as the Gisar and Darahti Surkh.  Birch trees grow around the lake, and it is said that the seeds of these trees were sown by the birds.  During ancient times one of the branches of the Great Silk Road passed along this lake.(

The Fan mountains are the highest part of Zaravshon ridge, ranging from the river Fandarya in the east, to the Marguzor lakes and Shing River in the west.  The Zaravshon basin rivers and the picturesque Shing river flow through narrow, deep gorges and canyons, and the lakes in the basin act as regulators for their drainage.

The area has birch, poplar and sea-buckthorn trees; widespread bushes – dogroses, barberries currants and meadow-sweets; and large areas of slopes and valleys covered by meadow, steppe and semidesert-type vegetation (chair, eremurus, astagalus, onions, wormwood, mint, thyme, etc.).  Tourists are not just attracted to the Haftkul Valley by the mountains, lakes and rivers; the area also has sacred historic places.  There is also a route from the Haftkul Valley through the Tovasang pass to the Kulikalon lakes and Iskanderkul lake.(

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