Photo Friday: Upper Naryn River Valley, Kyrgyzstan

Posted by on Jan 6, 2017

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Last fall, I traveled in the upper Naryn River valley in Kyrgyzstan, taking part in a field trip organized by the University of Central Asia’s Mountain Society Research Institute. This organization put me in touch with a local researcher, Samat Kalmuratov, who accompanied me on visits to villages and nature reserves, serving as guide and interpreter.

The Naryn River drains the high glaciated peaks of the Tien Shan range in eastern Kyrgyzstan. It flows westward, forming the Syr Darya at its confluence with the Kara Darya River, and continuing through the agricultural Fergana Valley into Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. In former times, it reached the Aral Sea, once the world’s fourth largest lake.

These photographs of the river, its valley and inhabitants show both significant continuity and major changes in recent decades.

 

Herding sheep on horseback in upper Naryn Valley, November 2016 (source: B. Orlove

Herding sheep on horseback in upper Naryn Valley, November 2016 (Source: B. Orlove).

 

Tien Shan mountains, Salken Tor National Park, November 2016 (source: B. Orlove)

Tien Shan mountains, Salken Tor National Park, November 2016 (Source: B. Orlove).

 

Unfinished hydroelectric plant, begun in 1980s, upper Naryn Valley, October 2016 (source: B. Orlove)

Unfinished hydroelectric plant, begun in 1980s, upper Naryn Valley, October 2016 (Source: B. Orlove).

 

Yaks in the upper Naryn River valley, October 2016 (source: B. Orlove)

Yaks in the upper Naryn River valley, October 2016 (Source: B. Orlove).

 

Tributary of the Naryn River, Salken Tor National Park, October 2016 (source: B. Orlove)

Tributary of the Naryn River, Salken Tor National Park, October 2016 (Source: B. Orlove).

 

Naryn town, site of a University of Central Asia campus, seen from the west, November 2016 (source: B. Orlove)

Naryn town, site of a University of Central Asia campus, seen from the west, November 2016 (Source: B. Orlove).

 

Boy filling water containers at a village well, upper Naryn Valley, November 2016 (source: B. Orlove)

Boy filling water containers at a village well, upper Naryn Valley, November 2016 (Source: B. Orlove).

 

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