Visit Guide to Iron Gates

This mountain pass in Uzbekistan has been a strategic gateway for armies and caravans since Alexander the Great. Drive through the breathtaking Iron Gates gorge to see ancient foundations and a Sufi shrine. Reachable from Baysun train station, it offers adventurous tourists rugged scenery steeped in history.

Getting there

Take the train to Baysun, a station on the railway line between Tashent and Termez. You will then need a private car or taxi to reach Derbent. It’s a slow but scenic drive.

What to expect

The Iron Gates cleave open the mountains and you drive right through the gorge. The scenery is impressive but there are also plenty of things to stop and see on the way, including a working water mill, the foundations of a mediaeval caravanserai, and a small Sufi shrine.


The Iron Gates of Sogdiana is a mountain pass close to the village of Derbent in Surkhandarya Region, Uzbekistan. The geography of this area is such that it has always been the preferred route through the mountains for invading armies, caravans of merchants and pilgrims, and now for adventurous tourists.

It is thought that Alexander the Great passed this way, and the archaeologist Edvard Rtveladze believed this is where Spitamenes sought refuge from him. It may also be the location of Alexander’s wedding to Roxsana. Chinese, Arab, and even Spanish travellers described the Iron Gates in detail from the 7th century onwards, reminding us of the ongoing importance of the route.