Pamir (Pameer'; 'roof of the world;' often called the Pamirs), the nucleus of the Central Asian highland system, is a lofty plateau-region, with a mean elevation of 13,000 feet, uniting the western terminations of the Himalaya and the Tian-Shan Mountains, and both with the Hindu-Kush. It is traversed by mountain-ridges which rise from 4000 to 5000 feet above the plateaus, and whose culminating points attain 25,500 feet above sea-level. Between these ridges are a series of broad valleys. On the west side the Pamir sinks rapidly in terraces to the deserts of Turkestan. These lofty plateaus are exposed to great extremes of heat and cold, and are visited by terrible snow and sand storms. Nevertheless the Kirghiz drive up their flocks and herds for summer pasture, and from time immemorial their passes have been traversed by traders and travellers - e.g. by the famous Marco Polo on his journey to the court of Kublai Khan. Among the lakes are Karakul, 120 sq. m., and Shivakul, 100 sq. m. The Pamir occupies the frontiers of Russian, Chinese, and Afghan Turkestan, Bokhara, and Cashmere; and Russian movements there are watched with jealousy by China as well as by Britain. See Geiger, Die Pamirgebiete (1887); and the Earl of Dunmore, The Pamirs (1893).