Over 90% of the territories in Kyrgyzstan occupied by mountains, that is why the country is called ‘the land of sky mountains’. The uniqueness of these mountains lies in their incredible concentration of the high peaks exceeding seven thousand meters. There is a total of 14 peaks in the territories of Kyrgyzstan with the heights of more than 6,000 meters and 26 peaks exceeding Mont Blanc (4807m), the highest point in Europe. Our mountains belong mainly to the Tien-Shan mountain range, a relatively smaller part is located in the Pamirs.
First mention of the Tien-Shan comes from antiquity. According to the ancient travelers’ notes, expeditions to these places took place in ancient times, however these days it looks more like legends than real facts. The Russian explorer Peter Semenov discovered the secrets of Tien Shan for the first time in the middle of the 19th century, after that he added his second surname, Tianshansky. The name “Tien Shan” is translated from Chinese as “Heaven Mountains”. The Tien-Shan Range is the longest ridge (2,800 km) not only in Kyrgyzstan, but throughout Asia, in the central part in which the highest peaks of our country are located — Victory Peak (7,439 m) and Khan-Tengri Peak (6995 m). In addition to them, on the ridge there are another 40 peaks that exceeds 6000 meters.
The highest point of the Tien Shan is Pobeda Peak (Victory Peak) (7439 m), discovered in 1943, the most northern peak on the planet located on the Kyrgyz-Chinese border east of lake Issyk-Kul . It is the most inaccessible, formidable seven thousand meter peak .The history of the conquest of Victory Peak is full of interesting facts. In 1936, a group of mountaineers who climbed Khan-Tengri, considered the highest peak of Tien Shan. Then they noticed that there is another mountain nearby that competes in height with Khan-Tengri. Two years later, an expedition of mountaineers headed by the well-known Tien Shan explorer, Professor A. A. Letavet visited there . The leader of the expedition’s team was Leonid Gutman, a participant of Khan-Tengri summit ascent in 1936.
On September 19th , 1938, three group members of Professor A. A. Letavet’s team climbed the mysterious peak. Experts compared the photographs taken in 1938 by Gutman and in 1958 by V. Abalakov, and found that they were taken from the same place. It was possible to prove that the climbers from the Gutman expedition were the first to conquer Victory Peak. Thus, the Peak of Victory was found – the highest peak of the Tien Shan.
Not far from the peak of Victory rises Khan-Tengri peak (6995 m). Its name in Turkic means “Lord of Heaven”. Until recently, the height of Khan-Tengri was 6995 m above sea level, but according to the latest data, the height is 7010 m. At the peak of Khan-Tengri (Kan-Too means “Blood Mountain”) a capsule was buried, which contains a message from previous climbers who had conquered the mountain. Each new mountaineer, who has risen to the height, dug a capsule and wrote his name, the date of the ascent and buried it again. Despite the large number of accidents, many climbers are still trying to climb the peak of Kan-Too.
Pamir – “The Roof of the World”, the highest mountain system in the entire post-Soviet space, is spread over an area of 60,000 square meters. km and is a strongly branched network of ridges covered with eternal snows and boundless intermountain valleys making up the Pamir Highlands. However, Kyrgyzstan belongs only to the most extreme region – the northern slopes of the Zaalai range and the northern parts of the Pamir-Alay, which include: Alay valley, as well as Turkestan and Alay ranges.