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Map of Muzat River

Muzat River or Muzart River is a river in Aksu Prefecture of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China, a left tributary of the Tarim River. An early 20th-century source also gives an alternative name for this river, Shāh-Yār-Daryā.[1]

The Muzart River starts in the Muzart Glacier in the Tian Shan Mountains, not too far from the Khan Tengri Peak, and flows toward the southeast and east through Baicheng County, in the valley between the main range of the Tian Shan and the Queletage Mountains to the south. Most of Baicheng County's population lives in the valley irrigated by this river.

As the river flows east, toward Kucha, it crosses the Queletage Range in a steep valley. Cut into the northern walls of the valley are 230 caves and grottos, forming the Kizil Caves archaeological site.[2]

Farther east the river enters a wide plain, where most of its water is taken into irrigation channels supporting the agriculture of the Kuqa, Toksu, and Xayar Counties. Theoretically, the Muzart River is considered a left tributary of the Tarim River, but in practice its waters flow all the way to the Tarim only during the spring-summer flood season.[3]


  1. "Tarim", in Barthold, W (1993), "Tarim", in Houtsma, Martijn Theodoor; Arnold, T W, E.J. Brill's first encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913-1936, Volume 1, BRILL, p. 673, ISBN 90-04-09796-1
  2. Hydrologist consider it part of the "Pobeda - Khan-Tengri glacier massif" (Aizen & Aizen, 1998)
  3. Vladimir B. Aizen and Elena M. Aizen (1998), Estimation of glacial runoff to the Tarim River, central Tien Shan. In: Hydrology, Water Resources and Ecology in Headwaters