Tajikistan is a small country. But there is so much beauty in it! Our little story about one of the legendary lakes of Tajikistan, Lake Iskanderkul!

Iskanderkul is a pearl, a gift from God in the Pamir Alaya mountain system, the largest lake in the Fan Mountains, a lake shrouded in legends. There are so many published articles and photos with Lake Alexandra that it seems very difficult for tourists to show something new. But the ZTDA team presents you with a new, unique opportunity to look at this truly unique lake from a height from which few people have seen Iskanderkul! From the legendary “Alexander’s Hat”!

The mirror area of the lake is 307 hectares, the greatest depth is 72 meters. Nearby, a 30-minute walk away, there is the famous waterfall, as tourists call it “Fan Niagara”, which falls from 35 meters.

From the height of the “Alexander’s Cap” (locals call it “Chulbui”), there is a fantastic view of the high peaks of the Fan Mountains and the Hissar ridge. In the distance, the valleys of Karokul, Arg, Hazormech, Khoja Kishvar are visible…

That’s where you can contemplate the greatness of the mountains! Here comes the thought that only the Fan Mountains can be better than the mountains! No wonder Vizbor wrote that he left his heart in the Fan Mountains!

In the evenings, sitting around the campfire with local elders, you will hear numerous legends about the lake, let’s tell one of them.

Alexander the Great and Bucephalus

According to legend, Alexander the Great, during his campaign in India, reached Lake Iskandarkul and became a camp on its shores. He had a favorite horse Bucephalus, which means “Bull-headed”. Having overcome the high-altitude passes of the mountains of Kuhistan (the so-called Zerafshan), his soapy horse drank cold water from the lake and fell ill. But Alexander could not stay on the shore of the lake for a long time. I had to hurry. He was sad, more than once Alexander was rescued by his favorite horse, and wherever he fought riding Bucephalus, he always emerged victorious. Faith has been fixed in him for many, many years – if he is with Bucephalus, then the battle will be won.

Alexander called a council of elders and asked them what he should do. After a long debate, everyone came to a consensus: to leave Bucephalus with several warriors on the shore of the lake, until the horse fully recovered. They brought another horse to Alexander the Great the next day, he sat on it and the whole army set off.

The remaining ones pitched a tent near the cave and began to take care of Bucephalus. As time passed, the horse recovered. Grooms fed him with selected grain, watered him with spring water. When it came time to set off, an incredible thing happened to Bucephalus – he suddenly did not let anyone near him, stopped eating and drinking. And so it went on for several days in a row. And so, on one significant day, Bucephalus climbed up to the cape, raised his muzzle up and neighed so hard that the neighing rolled like thunder over the lake. Then, he ran away and, jumping into the cold water, sank to the bottom.

And now you can see a horse here, on the day of the fourteen-day full moon, when the moon with its greenish light illuminates the shores of the lake. The wind will blow sharply, the water will boil in the middle of the lake. A white-maned horse comes ashore from the white foam, grazes in the meadows, plays until morning. And with the first dawn he goes into the water. Sometimes, Bucephalus will play out, start jumping from cliff to cliff, from mountain to mountain… Mountains are shaking from it, stones are flying.

Locals say that Bucephalus went to the bottom of the lake, sensing the death of his master, who, having conquered India, became very ill on the way back and died before reaching his homeland.