Pass through the Iron Gates and one approaches a triangle of secluded mountain villages offering access to the isolated mountains and river gorges beyond. The geology of the area lies open for all to see and is ripe for exploration. Derbent (Derband) is the first of the three towns to be reached from the west and nestles at the foot of a large cliff just off the main M-39. The town marks the gateway to the Machay River gorge and Machay village, from where hiking trails lead to the Machay (Techkitosh) Cave complex, archa juniper forests and remote ethnically Tajik valleys beyond. There are even said to be mummified bear remains in the Berloga caves. The following remote and rural mountain valleys should have re-opened to adventurous trekkers: the Gissar range of the Pamir-Alay, the upper Tupolang and Sangardan rivers (Surkhandarya), Kyzyldarya, Tankhizydarya, Aksu and Djindydarya (Kashkadarya).
Dara Band is translated from the Tajik as a barrier in the gorge, it was the people of this village who were responsible for protecting this path. The population of the village is 100% Tajiks.
At the entrance to the Darband gorge, there is "Zindomak" cave on the left side, which translates as zindan - underground prison. Turning off the main road to the gorge, the road almost immediately narrows into a giant canyon, with high sometimes reaching above 50 meters sheer cliffs. The width of the road does not exceed two meters here with cliffs on the one hand and small river on the other.
It is known that somewhere between Kashkadarya and Surkhandarya there is a gorge called Iron Gate - the only year-round passage that supposedly Alexander of Macedon blocked by a gigantic grid to prevent nomadic hordes coming from the north, that from time to time ransacked Sogdiana. Somewhere in the mountains there are ruins of border castles and a long fortress wall along the northern border of the Kushan Empire. Some people believe that the real Iron Gate is the pass where there is railway goes no far from Jizzakh, but still most legends relate it exactly to the Darband canyon. This is essentially the southern entrance to Sogdiana