The Pamir Mountains are a mountain range in Central Asia formed by the junction or knot of the Himalayas, Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun, and Hindu Kush ranges. They are among the world’s highest mountains, and since Victorian times, they have been known as the "Roof of the World", presumably a translation from Persian.
In ancient times, the Pamirs was called Congling in Chinese. The name "Pamir" is used more commonly in Modern Chinese and loaned as simplified Chinese. The precise extent of the Pamir Mountains is debatable. They lie mostly in Gorno-Badakhshan province, Tajikistan and Badakshan Province, Afghanistan. To the north they join the Tian Shan mountains along the Alay Valley of Kyrgyzstan. To the south they join the Hindu Kush mountains along the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan and Gilgit–Baltistan in Pakistan. To the east they may end on the Chinese border or extend to the range that includes Kongur Tagh which is sometimes included in the Kunlun Mountains.
There are many glaciers in the Pamir Mountains, including the 77 km (48 mi) long Fedchenko Glacier, the longest in the former USSR and the longest glacier outside the Polar region. Part of the Pamir Mountain range in springtime. Covered in snow throughout the year, the Pamirs have long and bitterly cold winters, and short, cool summers. Annual precipitation is about 130 mm (5 in), which supports grasslands but few trees. Coal is mined in the west, though sheep herding in upper meadowlands are the primary source of income for the region.
The Great Silk Road crossed a number of Pamir Mountain ranges. Historically, the Pamir Mountains were considered a strategic trade route between Kashgar and Kokand on the Northern Silk Road and have been subject to numerous territorial conquests. The Northern Silk Road (about 2,600 km (1,616 mi) in length) connected the ancient Chinese capital of Xian to the west over the Pamir Mountains to emerge in Kashgar before linking to ancient Parthia.