East of Dushanbe lies one of the most beautiful and interesting valleys in Tajikistan. The official name is the Rasht valley, but it is often known as the Karategin valley, from the name of the main town. It forms the upper reaches of the Surkh Ob River, flowing between the high peaks of the Pamirs to the east, and the Zeravshan range to the west. The valley is broader than those in Pamirs, and there is a great variety of scenery and vegetation. There are a number of pleasant towns and villages. The people are very hospitable and give a genuine welcome to visitors.
Travelers will have the pleasure of knowing they are travelling along an important branch of the Silk Road, known as the Karategin route. Thousand of caravans would have passed this way making their journey from northern Persia on to Kashgar in China. The route followed the river to its headwaters, and then over the Karamyk Pass to what is now Kyrgyzstan (N.B. the border crossing over the Karamyk Pass open only for the citizens of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan).