Anzob Pass

Anzob Pass, a scary and dangerous road in Tajikistan

Anzob Pass is a high mountain pass, at an elevation of 3.372m (11,062ft) above the sea level, located northwest of Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe.

The road to the summit is not for the faint-hearted. If you're afraid of heights, it's probably best to keep your eyes forward. The pass is located between Dushanbe and Samarkand and there’s a weather observation station located at the pass top. The climb is a series of narrow zigzags, with some impressive drops to the valley below.

The road to the summit is unpaved and narrow. The road is very steep (20km averaging 7-8% in gradient), narrow, muddy and without a safety rail. You'll feel like leaning into the car and away from the edge, even with the safe experienced hands of your Pamiri driver behind the wheel. It is one of the most treacherous mountain passes of Central Asia. On October 23, 1997, an avalanche killed 46 people, burying 15 trucks and cars. The avalanche was so large that it took two weeks for the would-be rescuers to reach the victims.
The Anzob Pass is closed in winters. Normally the pass opens for regular traffic in the last week of May or thereabouts through November. The route is dangerous. Not recommended to newbies. Along the way you’ll have to deal with some dangerous dropoffs. This road is particularly dangerous in winter due to icy conditions and frequent avalanches and drivers can be trapped for a long time if caught in an avalanche because of the uninhabited mountain terrain. The pass can be blocked in summer too, when rock falls have been known to block the pass for several weeks due to their severity, and rescue is difficult.

Be careful: this road is not for the sissies. One mistake can have consequences. Located in the Fan Mountain range, the pass links Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital, with the northern Fergana valley and the country’s second city, Khujand. On a clear day, from the top of the pass there are stupendous views of the Zarafshan mountain range. The road to the pass is 37.2 km long. It runs north-south from Anzob towards Kalon (in Sughd province). On 2006, the pass was bypassed by a dangerous tunnel below the summit called Anzob Tunnel, or "The Tunnel of Death". It's said to be the most dangerous tunnel in the world. 
Pic: Suhrob Niyozov


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