Republic of Tajikistan is a country located in the southeastern part of Central Asia. Its territory is 143.1 thousand square kilometers. By the nature of surface Tajikistan is a typical mountainous country with absolute heights from 300 to 7495 meters. 93% of its territory is occupied by mountains, which considered the highest mountain systems in the world. In its north, there is Ferghana Valley; in the north-west and in the central part – Turkestan, Zerafshan, Hissar- Alay mountain ridges; in the south-east – the Pamirs (one of the highest ranges in the world –the Somoni Peak at 7495 meters); the southwestern part is lowlands–Vakhsh, Hissar and other valleys.
Tajikistan’s east-to-west extent is 700 kilometers, and its north-to-south extent is 350 kilometers. In the west and the north it borders with Republic of Uzbekistan (910 kilometers) and Republic of Kyrgyzstan (630 kilometers); in the south – with Afghanistan (1030 kilometers); and in the east with China (430 kilometers).
The geographical location of Tajikistan in the internal part of the continent at the great distance from the world ocean contributes to two basic features of its climate: sharp continentality and dryness. Geographical complexity represented by sharply partitioned relief, the powerful mountain ridges covered with eternal snow and glaciers, defines diversity of climatic conditions and vertical climate zone. Sharp continentality of climate is expressed, first of all, by varied fluctuations of temperature, within a year, as well as daily temperatures. The greatest daily amplitudes are observed in August – September and make 16-17C in valleys of Northern Tajikistan and 19-20C in valleys of the Central and Southwest Tajikistan.
The mountainous relief of Tajikistan is the powerful accumulator of moisture which has been stored up here in glaciers, snowfields and eternal snow which nourish numerous rivers and valleys not only in the country, but also neighboring countries. Mountain ridges in some cases represent a barrier to air mass movements and exchanges. Mountains influence on humidity mode. If lowlands have maximum of precipitation in winter and spring and almost no precipitations in summer, in mountains there is regular precipitation throughout a year, with maximum precipitation in winter and spring.
The peculiarity of climatic conditions in Tajikistan allows identify a number of areas with similar physical and geographical conditions:
- Wide valleys and lowlands with height up to 1000 meters;
- Transition zone from valleys to highlands with heights up to 2500 meters;
- Highland areas with heights above 2500 meters.
About 2% of the country’s area is covered by lakes, the best known of which are the following: