Wonders of Tourism
Romit Valley begins 45km north-west of Dush-lanbe with numerous recreation areas in its lower part, and hot springs, protected forests and beautiful mountain rivers.
From Dushanbe you can get to the valley by driving towards Vahdat (formerly Yangi Bazar, Orjonikidzea-bad and Kofarnihon) and 37km from the capital, near an intersection, you need to turn left and continue along the right bank of the Kofarnihon River.
The Kofarnihon River is 387km long. Its left headwater, Sorbo River, begins in the glaciers and snowfields of the Qarategin range and the right headwater, Sardai Miyona River, in the Hissar range. Below Shahrituz settlement, in the south of Tajikistan, the Kofarnihon flows into the Amu Darya River. The Sorbo and Sardai Miyona Rivers have mixed sources - glacial and snow. The largest water flow level is in May-July. Riverbeds 40-60m wide are littered with boulders and pebbles. The existence of many plants and animals in Romit Valley is thanks to these rivers. The complexity and ruggedness of the land and the large difference in altitude create a variety of climate conditions and hence vegetation and soil cover in the valley. One can also observe here a variety in the microclimates of mountain slopes at the same altitude. For example, in spring, at the same time as shady slopes are covered in deep snow, and the rocks and trees with frost, there is green grass and bright-yellow crocuses cheerfully making their way up through the warmed soil on the sunny slopes.
Spring comes to the valley from below, from the Hissar valley, where the air gets warm earlier. Like a green front, the flora awakens from winter and moves higher and higher along the mountainous slopes, and many animals and birds follow it up to the snowline. With the arrival of the first frosts and snowfalls, the valley's inhabitants' return journey begins. First, cautious flocks of stone partridges fly down and they are soon followed by wild boar and wild goats which, in turn, are followed by predators - wolves and snow leopards - that also participate in the seasonal migration. This annual migration-cycle marks the seasons like nature's own pendulum.
50km from Dushanbe, (25km from Vahdat) in Romit Valley, there is the Yavroz recreation area at 1,150m above sea level. It has a thermal spring containing silicate, boron, hydrogen sulphide, and radon. The water of the spring, located 2km from the sanitarium, is medicinal and is used for treatment of diseases of the musculoskeletal system, peripheral nervous system and skin.
Romit village is situated 70km from Dushanbe at the confluence of the Sorbo and Sardai Miyona rivers 1,200m above sea level. On the other side of the river the Romit reservation, established in 1959, begins, with an area of more than 16,000 hectares for the protection of the natural mid- and high-mountains of the Hissar range.
The reserve is famous for its forests. The mountain slopes are covered with birch, poplar, willow, maple, oleaster (elaeagnus), and mulberry. There are also wild apples, pears, cherries, plums, cherries, nuts, sea-buckthorns, barberries, hawthorns, quinces, pistachios, almonds, dog rose, juniper and even occasional cedars.
Above the forests are the sub-alpine meadows where tulips, crocuses, mountain violets, anemones, poppies, carnations, irises, and geranium grow. In the numerous rivers and streams swim "king's fish" - a kind of trout - as well as marinka and Turkestani catfish. The local residents call the trout "gulmohi" meaning "fish-flower". In early autumn the trout swim upstream for spawning, almost reaching the snowy peaks.
Sometimes you can see king's fish literally soaring up over the water, climbing the waterfalls or, like snakes, jumping on stones barely covered by the running water and climbing up them. This is an unforgettable sight!
There are more than 100 species of birds in the reserve. After climbing the steep slopes towards the upper mountain belt, you can see among the rocks one of the most wonderful valley birds - the lammergeyer eagle with its wedge-shaped tail and a scrap of feathers under its beak. Having stretched out its huge wings, the bird hovers at low altitudes, as if following the mountain contours on the lookout for prey.
One other interesting bird is the snow partridge (tetraogallus himalayensis), sometimes known as the snowcock (tetraogallus). A bluish-grey bird, with bright brown speckles and lengthwise-wavy mottled feathers on its sides, it is almost invisible among the fragments of rocks and rockslide debris which form its usual habitat.
There are a variety of species of animals in the reserve, some of them included in the Red Book of rare and endangered species. In the 1960s the first tugai deer - khangul (royal flower), which was an ancestor of the mountain population of this rare species, were brought here from the warm Vakhsh River area. Siberian wild goats and Central Asian goats are also inhabitants of this area. Older males have huge scimitar-shaped horns with a ridged surface that help defend them from predators. By examining the size of the roller-shaped nodes on the horns it is possible to calculate the age of their owner - half the number of nodes plus one. The brown bear is one more regular inhabitant of the reserve. Its claws are not black like normal brown bears', but white, which is how it got its name - the white-claw bear. This subspecies of bear is considered rare. Mulberries and nuts are among their favourite delicacies.
The real ruler of the high mountains, however, is the snow leopard (ounce) - a huge, beautiful cat with powerful paws and a thick tail the same length as its body, encircled by dark rings, with fluffy, almost white fur covered by slightly darker spots. The snow leopard is called the wild goats' shepherd as it often hunts for them. Anyone seeing a live ounce in its natural environment should consider themselves fortunate, because of this unique animal's rarity, the inaccessibility of its habitat for humans and its rather reclusive way of life.
Romit Valley. Sardai Miyona River