Torugart Pass

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Torugart Pass
The Chinese border crossing at the Torugart Pass on the road between Naryn (Kyrgyzstan) and Kashgar (Xinjiang)
Elevation3,752 m (12,310 ft)
LocationChinaKyrgyzstan border
RangeTian Shan
Coordinates40°35′33″N 75°25′38″E / 40.59250°N 75.42722°E / 40.59250; 75.42722Coordinates: 40°35′33″N 75°25′38″E / 40.59250°N 75.42722°E / 40.59250; 75.42722
Torugart Pass is located in Kyrgyzstan
Torugart Pass
Location in Kyrgyzstan
Torugart Pass
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese吐爾尕特山口
Simplified Chinese吐尔尕特山口
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese圖嚕噶爾特山口
Simplified Chinese图噜噶尔特山口
Kyrgyz name
Russian name
RussianПеревал Торугарт

Torugart Pass[1] (Chinese: 吐尔尕特山口; Kyrgyz: Торугарт;[2] Russian: Перевал Торугарт) is a mountain pass in the Tian Shan mountain range near 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.

The pass is also terminus of European route E125 and, under the new National Highway plans, the China National Highway 315, but neither are signed in this area by 2020.


The pass was used since antiquity. During the Han dynasty it was under the jurisdiction of a micro-state called Juandu (捐毒国). During the Tang dynasty, the region came under Tang control as part of Anxi Protectorate.[3]

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.[citation needed]

The pass is open to all nationalities but clearance requires careful arrangement of transportation.[4]

A China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway going through Torugard Pass has been in the works that would connect Kashgar and the Ferghana Valley since 2012.[5] However, the Kyrgyz section of the rail has been stalled due to financial and technical issues.[6]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peter Neville-Hadley (1997). China the Silk Routes. Cadogan Guides. Globe Pequot Press. p. 289. ISBN 1-86011-052-5 – via Internet Archive. Torugart Pass
  2. ^ "Торугарт бекетин жылдырууга ким уруксат берген?". Азаттык Υналгысы (in Kyrgyz). Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  3. ^ Kizilsu Prefecture Historical Almanac Office (2007-10-05). 吐尔尕特口岸 [Torugart Port]. (Kizilsu Prefecture Government Website) (in Chinese). Retrieved 2017-02-02. 汉代吐尔尕特一带属捐毒国。...到了唐代,这里归属安西四镇(焉耆、碎叶、于阗、疏勒)之一的疏勒都督府。
  4. ^ "Torugart Pass". Caravanistan. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  5. ^ Muzalevsky, Roman (2012-05-30). "China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway Scheme: Fears, Hopes and Prospects". Eurasia Daily Monitor. Jamestown Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-01. On April 17, Chinese construction corporation CRBC agreed to perform a feasibility study for the project within a year.
  6. ^ Mashrab, Fozil (2015-11-03). "Bishkek Puts Brakes on China–Kyrgyzstan–Uzbekistan Railway". Eurasia Daily Monitor. Jamestown Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-01. Bishkek and Beijing seek to implement despite financial and technical issues