Visit Guide to Iskanderkul Lake

Legend says Alexander the Great’s horse drowned in this Tajik lake, whose name means “Alexander’s Lake.” Remote but rewarding, Iskanderkul offers swimming, hiking, birdwatching, and stargazing with little infrastructure, so bring necessities. Reachable only by 4×4, it’s ideal for sharing transport costs from Dushanbe or Panjakent.

Getting There

There is no public transport to Iskanderkul. The only way to get to the lake is by car, and as the last part of the road is steep and rough, it is advisable to travel in a 4×4. You can cut the cost of travelling from Dushanbe or Panjakent by sharing a vehicle.

What to Expect

Iskanderkul is one of the most popular tourist spots in the Fann Mountains, but it is a remote location with little infrastructure, so you need to bring everything you need for your visit with you, including a tent if you want to spend the night. The water is cold but refreshing for swimming, you can hike to a nearby waterfall, and it is an excellent location for both stargazing and birding. Keep an eye out for Himalayan snowcocks, saker falcons, and various warblers, vultures, and larks.


In Persian, Alexander the Great is called Iskander, so Iskanderkul means Alexander’s Lake. It is thought that he came to this part of Tajikistan around 329 BC, and local people believe that his favourite horse, Bucephalus, drowned in the lake. If you visit Iskanderkul on a full moon night, you will see the horse’s ghost rising out of the water.