Welcome to Central Tian Shan
Tian Shan means 'Celestial Mountains' in Chinese and the range does indeed achieve a most heavenly majesty at Kyrgyzstan's easternmost tip. Here in the Central Tian Shan (Центральный Тянь-Шань), a knot of immense summits culminates in 7439m Jengish Chokusu (Pik Pobedy/Victory Peak in Russian), the second-highest peak in the former USSR. But though it's slightly shorter, the gracious pyramidal form of 7010m Khan Tengri (Sky Ruler) makes it possibly the most stunningly beautiful of all the region's peaks. Locals call it ‘Blood Mountain’ due to a crimson hue it often adopts at sunset. Though reported by 7th-century Chinese explorer Xuan Zang, Khan Tengri was not climbed until 1931 (by a Ukrainian team).