Torugart Pass

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Torugart Pass
Torugartcrossing.jpg
The Chinese border crossing at the Torugart Pass on the road between Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) and Kashgar (Xinjiang)
Elevation 3,752 m (12,310 ft)
Location ChinaKyrgyzstan border
Range Tian Shan
Coordinates 40°35′N 75°25′E / 40.583°N 75.417°E / 40.583; 75.417Coordinates: 40°35′N 75°25′E / 40.583°N 75.417°E / 40.583; 75.417

Torugart Pass (simplified Chinese: 图噜噶尔特山口; traditional Chinese: 圖嚕噶爾特山口; pinyin: túlūgáĕrtè shānkŏu; Kyrgyz: Торугарт;[1] Russian: Перевал Торугарт) is a mountain pass in the Tian Shan mountain range on the border between the Naryn Province of Kyrgyzstan and the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. It is one of two border crossings between Kyrgyzstan and China, the other being Irkeshtam, some 165 km (103 mi) to the southwest.

The scenic Lake of Chatyr-Kul lies near the pass on the Kyrgyz side. The road to Naryn and then to Balykshy and Bishkek—stretching for some 400 km (250 mi)—is narrow and in winter often impassable due to heavy snowfall and frequent avalanches. On the Chinese side, the Torugart Port of Entry (吐尔尕特口岸), where travelers must clear for customs, is located about 110 km (68 mi) from the pass itself in Ulugqat County of the Kizilsu Kirghiz Autonomous Prefecture. Distances from the pass to major cities are: 110 km (68 mi) to Ulugqat, 165 km (103 mi) to Kashgar, 170 kilometres (110 mi) to Artux and some 1,630 km (1,010 mi) to Urumqi.

Russia and China first established a port of entry at the Torugart Pass in 1881. In 1906, Russia's Sino-Russian Transport Bank financed the construction of the road from the pass to Kashgar for 20 million rubles. In 1952, the Torugart Pass replaced the Irkeshtam Pass, which lies some 165 km (103 mi) southwest, as the primary overland link between Xinjiang and the then-Soviet Kyrgyz Republic. The pass was closed in 1969 due to the Sino-Soviet Split and reopened again in 1983. In 1995, the Torugart Port of Entry was relocated to a lower elevation (2,000m), closer to Kashgar, some 57 km (35 mi) away.

The Chinese and Central Asian governments are planning to open the pass to nationals from third countries and considering the construction of a railway through the pass that would link Kashgar and the Ferghana Valley.

'The ancient silk road showing the general location of the pass'

See also[edit]

A ticket office at Bishkek's West Bus Terminal informs passengers about the schedule and route of the Bishkek-Artush-Kashgar bus traveling via Torugart Pass

References[edit]