Band-e Amir Lakes. Afghanistan
Band-e Amir is the first and only national park in Afghanistan. It is situated in the Bamyan Province, 75 km from Bamiyan. The unstable political situation and military operations prevented the formation of the park. In 2004, the government filed an application for inclusion of Band-e Amir into the World Heritage List. However, in 2009, the first national park with an area of 230 square miles was created. The name Band-e Amir can be translated as “Commander’s Dam”.
The main attraction of the park is a chain of six amazing blue lakes. They are considered to be one of the natural wonders of Afghanistan! They are located in the middle of the mountains of the Hindu Kush. The lakes are filled with melt water, which flows through the cracks in the mountain ranges. They are separated by the natural dams of travertine, such a rock formation formed by the calcium carbonate minerals. These dams created such amazing pools. The width of these dams is about three meters, and height – 10 meters. So, using them, the water flow cascades from one lake to another.
The rocks protecting these blue saucers consist of limestone turf; it enriches the water with carbon dioxide. The crystal clear water and a high content of limestone deposits give the lakes such a beautiful saturated color. There is practically no greenery (rare blackthorn bushes), and on the background of deserted rocky landscape the color of the lakes becomes dazzling blue similar to the color of cobalt.
The maximum depth of the water complex is 150 meters on average. This is the depth of the lakecalled Band-e Haibat (Lake of grandiose). This is the lake with the most saturated color, almost ink. The other lakes are Band-e Gholaman (Lake of the slaves), Band-e Qambar (Lake of Caliph Ali’s slave), Band-e Panir (Lake of cheese) – the smallest one with diameter of about 100 m, Band-e Pudina (Lake of wild mint) and Band-e Zulfiqar (Lake of the sword of Ali) – the largest one with length of 6.5 kilometers.
Despite the scanty vegetation, the park is home to such animals as wolves, foxes, hares, mules, donkeys, wild sheep and goats. Lakes abound with large yellow fish, known in the local language as “chush”.
One of the poorest countries in the world with a complicated fate, but with such a wonderful nature! Looking at the photos, the world seems to be so calm and good-natured.