"Haft Kul" or "Seven Lakes" is the name of cascading lakes among the Fan Mountains in the northwestern part of Tajikistan, near the city of Penjikent. A group of mountain lakes amaze visitors with their bright and constantly changing colors. Each lake has its own name: the lowest lake, which travelers usually meet first, is called Mizhgon. Next are Soy, Khushor, Nofin, Khurdak, Marguzor (the largest) and Hazorchashma (the highest).
Seven lakes are in the Fan Mountains, in the gorge of the Shing River. Ancient petroglyphs discovered on the shore of one of the lakes indicate that the lakes are quite old. The lowest lake (Mizhgon) is located at an altitude of 1,640 meters, and the highest (Hazorchashma) is 2,400 meters. The height difference between the lowest and highest lakes is 760 meters, and the distance between them is more than 14 km.
The lakes are very accessible to tourists — a dirt serpentine road runs through all seven lakes, and the trip between the first and the last takes about an hour (excluding stops). However, the last part (between the sixth and seventh lakes) is more difficult to drive, and many visitors prefer to walk along this part. You can also go hiking on the road to all the lakes (usually it takes about 2 days) and even further to other beautiful lakes, valleys, and villages. Today, there are several small villages with guest houses for tourists near the lakes (in particular, around Lake Nofin). These guest houses are very simple and allow visitors to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of local life. Camping is also possible in many places.
Usually, the first lake that travelers see, the lowest lake — Mizhgon — is located at an altitude of 1640 meters above sea level. Its name comes from the Tajik word "eyelashes". Lake Mizhgon has a depth of up to 20 meters, an area of 0.05 square kilometers. It is distinguished by bright colors: depending on the lighting and the season, the water can be turquoise, blue, or even purple. This is due to the high content of minerals (sodium and calcium) in the water. In summer, the water is quite warm, and visitors can plunge into this fascinating lake.
Continuing from Lake Mizhgon along a steep serpentine, you will cross a natural dam that separates Lake Mizhgon from the second lake, Soy (from where a stunning view of Mizhgon opens). Soy Lake is named after the Tajik word "shadow" — since this lake is located between high rocks, it is in the shade almost all day. As in Mizhgon, the water in Soy Lake changes color depending on the weather and time of day. The lake is located at an altitude of 1701 meters and has an area of 0.1 square kilometers.
The third lake, Khushor, is 400 meters from Soy, and when you get close to it, you will see a turbulent stream connecting them. Lake Khushor is located at an altitude of 1771 meters and covers an area of 0.23 square kilometers. The lake is surrounded by steep cliffs and was once home to venomous snakes, which explains the origin of the lake's name.
In Soviet times, the Marguzor Lakes campsite was located next to this lake. However, a mudflow from the mountains demolished the camp, leaving only traces of its foundation. Although this may indicate some danger, the lake looks quite calm, and in good weather you can watch schools of fish swimming calmly in clear water.
The distance between Lake Khushor and Lake Nofin is only 400 meters, but the route along the serpentine is a whole kilometer. Nofin, the fourth of the seven lakes, is very elongated: its length is more than 2.5 km, and its width is only about 200 meters. The height of the lake is 1820 meters, and its area is 0.48 square kilometers. The name of the lake means "umbilical cord" because Nofin is the central of the seven lakes and is very long, like an umbilical cord. Locals tell different legends and say that the lake has secrets. The road runs along the east coast and is sometimes flooded in summer, which makes it difficult for cars to pass. At the far end of the lake there is a small village with guest houses
This is the smallest among all seven lakes. Even its name translates as "baby". Its area is only 0.025 sq.km., and it is located at an altitude of 1870 meters. The distance from Lake Nofin is 1.5 km, and along the way you can see the village of Padrut. Once there was a small hydroelectric power station on Khurdak, which provided electricity to the village and surrounding houses.
The largest and most beautiful lake in the Seven Lakes system. To reach it, you need to drive more than 2 km along the serpentine and climb to a height of 2140 meters. Its area is 1.16 sq.km., the length reaches 2.7 km, the maximum depth is 45 meters. A wide expanse of blue water and majestic mountains in the background create a magnificent landscape. It was on the shore of Marguzor that petroglyphs of primitive people were found. In the Middle Ages, semi-precious stones were mined near the lake. Today, at the southern tip of the lake there is a small village, whose houses are scattered on the surrounding slopes. Locals can tell legends and fairy tales, which will feature Lake Marguzor. The road through the lake goes along the eastern shore, in places almost at water level. In case of spills, the lake floods the road, and you can only drive a truck or a reliable jeep. Also, in the southern part of Marguzor, a trail begins leading to the Tavasang pass (3307 meters), from which you can go along one of the mountain routes along the Fan Mountains.
The final and highest mountain lake in the Seven Lakes complex. It is located at 2,400 meters above sea level. It is also as large as a Marguzor, but still somewhat inferior in size: the area of the water mirror is 0.92 sq.km., and the maximum length is 2 km. The name Hazorchashma means "a thousand springs" - it really feeds on the waters of two rivers and many streams.
This is the last lake in the gorge of the Shing River, and then there are no settlements, the road ends and then only the wild nature of the Fan Mountains. Therefore, you can only look at the lake from the north side. To look from the south side, you will have to go on a mountain hike, bypassing the rocky shores of the lake, but as a reward, tourists will get a magnificent view of the Khazorchashma, beyond which you can see the waters of Marguzor in the distance.
MIJGON (62 km from Penjikent)
SOYA (1,8 km from Mijgon)
HUSHOR (2,8/1,0 km from Soya)
KHURDAK (9,2/3,6 km from Nofin)
HAZORCHASHMA (17,6/5,8 km from Marguzar)