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ABOUT PAMIR

THE GREAT PAMIR


The Pamir travel  help to your dreams came true.

What would You like to see in Pamir?                                                                                            
When you will come to Dushanbe, to the capital of the Republic of Tajikistan, and we are recommend to your at the first You must visit the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan, where You will be told and shown many interesting things and will say about ancient history, ancient archeology excavation, about rich and gold ancient heritage. And also you will knew  about Tajikistan of regions North, South and  Pamir too.

How to get the other regions in Tajikistan and a specialty the most contrast highest  mountains in the  Great Pamir?

It is possible to fly, or if You are romantic, after driving 500 km You will appear in Khorog - in the capital of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of the Republic of Tajikistan (GBAR - it's total territory is - 63. 3 thousand sq. km or 45% territory of Tajikistan, - population - 167. 1 thousand, in Khorog - 20. 7 thousand people). The town meets You with modern buildings with TV antenna’s on the roofs and You'll see asphalt streets, public transport and the building of Khorog University. And You’ll be surprised is:

" Where is Pamir?" As the matter of the fact, the historical and geographical terms now united, and now the territory of GBAO as for natural conditions is divided into Western Pamir: (6 administrative districts: Kalai-khumb, Vanch, Rushan, Shugnan, Roshtkala and Ishkoshim) and Eastern Pamir (Murgab district).

Population of Western Pamir from the ancient times was busy with agriculture and cattle-farming, and of the Eastern Pamir with sheep-farming.

The name of Pamir (Po-mi-lo) and it's description were fixed in " The Notes" of Buddhian worshipper Syuan Tzan of YIIcc. The severe cold and strong winds were dominating here and it was snowy all the year round. No fruit trees and grains were growing here as the land was stony and salty. The same impressions had the great Marco Polo, exploring Pamir after 500 years. This region is the Pamir now. It is translation has several meanings: " the roof of the world" , " bird's foot" , " sun foothills" , " death's foothills" and etc. There is no definite viewpoint. But the fact is that, Pamir is the highest mountain in the world after the Tibet and the people live here on the high of 3700-4200 ms above sea level.

According to ancient history, such regions as, Vakhan, Shugnan, Rushan, Vanch were dislocated in the territory of Eastern Pamir.

Archeological investigations discovered, that the first traces of the human being touched to the " Roof of the World" 40-20 thousand years before. Seasonally hunters started to come here in the hot time of the year in YIII-Y thousands B. C. . The most famous settlement remained by the hunters - is called " Oshkhona" (situated on the river Oshkhongilga, which joins the river Uisy, 25 km north from the lake of Karakul on the high of the 4200 ms above sea level). More than 50 human settlements from the stone age were found in the Eastern Pamir. People here hunted and also produced stone tools. The finest paintings of that time were discovered in the cave of  Shakhti (40 km from Murgab settlement, on the road to Jarti-gumbaz). The colors is extremely beautiful. On the walls of the cave it is possible to see bird masked human figure, 2 boars and the yak, wounded by 2 arrows. (pic. 2)

In the Western Pamir the ancient settlement of the same time is known in the valley of the river Javshangoz - it is the left tributary of the river Shokh-dara in Roshtkala area. It was the start of exploring the whole Badakhshan Pamir. Though the monuments of neolith period are known in Western Pamir, for this time. There no details about agricultural lands in Western Pamir. But however academician N. I. Vavilov included this region to the area of the origin of cultivated plants.

About Pamir

 

The facts confirm that, agriculture and home animals appeared in bronze epoch. But for cultivating of the land people used stone ploughers. The first worshipping monuments appeared: four-angled erections with outside entrance-corridor and the stone altar in the centre of the back walls. At the same time they were intended as tombs or a burial vaults. The dead bodies were buried inside of the walls, first putting them in the " stone boxes" . This was the starting time of the worshipping of the Fire and the Sun. The stone rounded fencings (with the diameter of 60-46ms) on the starts of the river Big Marjanai are connected with  different ceremonies, dedicated to the Fire and the Sun. (pic. 3).

A human being living here in this time anthropologically belonged to the Mediterranean race type. They came to Pamir from the south or south-western areas of Southern-Tajikistan or Afghanistan.

To the next thousand years, exploring and population of Pamir continues, getting tempo’s and this time is called " Sac's Period" . The " Roof of the World" successfully started to be used as a pasture from the early spring up to late autumn. More than 50 tombs found there tell us about. At the same time in the neighboring north-eastern areas Sac nomadic tribes also pastures their cattle’s. Excavation of tombs gave us big materials about weapons, house tools, ceremonial items and a wide trade contacts with Fergana valley, Xinzyang, India and Afghanistan.

Practical knowledge of ancient peasants was based on solar calendar, which had original construction. In the valley of the river Shorolyu (left tributary of the river Kuhdara) in the area of the Kokjar pass, on the height of the 3850 ms there were found interesting sloppy figures, made on the earth from stone (length 6-13 ms) in two colures (black stone and white quartz). One figure is oriented to spring (autumn) day/night equality (march 21 and September 23) and two others were oriented to summer (winter) day/night equality (June 22 and December 22)

The end of I- thousand years, B. C. is the famous that, there was opened the Great Silk Road in II cc. B. C. from China to the countries of Central and Front Asia. In the area of Dunkhuan district the road divided into two, - the northern road went to Ferghana valley, the southern after crossing Saricol range went to south. The southern road is famous under the name of Vakhan or Great Buddhian Road and Shugnan. This was the road of trade caravans, Buddhian worshippers and missioners.

To this time the Western Pamir enough explored, that there were built huge defensive castles (Kah-Kaha in Namadgut village), fortressed settlements. Most of them were built in I cc. B. C. - Icc. B. C. (Kushan period) The lack of plain lands and the defense purposes insisted them to build settlements on a high rocky mounds. Magnificent erections (the height of the walls preserved up to 3-meters) are seen in the background of snow cowered peaks. It is the unrepeatable museum under the open sky, which created by the ancestors of modern people, who live now in Vakhan, Shugnan, Rushan, Yazgulem and Vanch.

Mostly, special type of agriculture - agricultural farms were developed. According to modern measures, in ancient times, however up to XII cc. there no villages at all. The big Patriarchic families (with up to 60 people) lived in the village farms. The strong walls with towers, defended living and farm houses.

In the early middle ages (VI-VII cc. ) fire worshipping well confirmed, that there appeared fire temples (In village farms there were special rooms for holy fire) and in ancient manuscripts local people were called fire worshippers. The name of " Great Buddhian Road" was confirmed in ancient Vakhan. 4-stored Buddhian temple in the village of Vrang. The sitting niches for worshippers were cut around the terraces, and some of them were remained under the foothills of the temple.

In the place of ancient ford through the river Pyanj (between Ishkoshim and Rin village) there was built a pier-caravanserai Dorkisht. Caravansarai and descent to the river was defended by walls with towers.

The exploring of natural resources started in the period of IX-XI cc. In XII cc. a rich spinal  mines were found in the area of the village Kuhi-lal, in ancient times famous as Badakhshan lal stones. The reason that they are called Badakhshan stones the well-known ancient mineralogist Biruni (XI c) explainers, that, they were taken to Badakhshan, where they were granted, polished and sold. The mine belonged to the governor of Vakhan, who kept a control over the producing and exporting of the precious stone.

Silver mines containing silver ores were also important ones. They started to mine it in Shugnan, in the uppers of Gunt and it's right tributary Tokuzbulak river in Bachor range. There were found some settlements of miners and metallurgists. But the mines in the Eastern Pamir were famous. In XI cc. , the most sources of silver (ancient Ilak in the Republic of Uzbekistan and in Shelji in the territory of modern Kyrgyzstan) which were exported finished, there was so called " Silver crisis" . In this moment, the above mentioned silver mines in Shugnan were of big importance for the further exploring of silver resources in the " Roof of the World"

In the northern slopes of the North-Alichur range in the valley of the river Ak-jilga on the high 3980 ms above the sea level there was built a small town. It consisted of caravansarai, administrative centre, town buildings with living houses, fire temple, cemetery(more than 500 tombs) and the bathroom with underground heating.

The most highest mountain mine among the well-known resources was situated in the uppers of the river Sassik on the high of the 5000 ms above sea level.

You can do travels according to several routes. But before making trips along the ancient caravan roads, don't forget to visit Regional Ethnographic museum and the local Botanical Garden.

 

Wahan corridor:

We are start from Khorog to Ishkashim - 104 km. On the way we will see famous Hot springs

It is worth of seeing here the village of Anderob, from where the road turns to Garmchashma (7 km) - medical thermal spring. In the background of severe rocks it is possible to see the white cupolas of calcite mineral mounds. There are many medical thermal and mineral water springs like narzan and borjomi  8 km  further, there is a Kuhi-lal village, where one can see ancient mines of high quality spinal.

District centre Ishkashim and the village Rin. Some fortressed settlements and defense castles, pier-caravansarai on the bank of the river Pyanj.

After Ishkashim:

The Kah-kah-ha castle (IV cc. B. C) - the walls of it strengthened with 55 towers, in the inside of it there are a bastion and the buildings of local governor(17kms from Ishkashim).

Yamchun village (situated 72 km from Ishkoshim). Upper the village there is a very early castle. (III cc. B. C. ). On the upper square there is a citadel for garrison. The double lines of the castle walls are strengthened with 39 towers.

Yamg village. (80 km from Ishkoshim). In the territory of the village the old system of the solar calendar, which rules the season dates of the Sunset was preserved. There is the tomb of the Sufi-astronomer Muborak(died in 1885y),who worked with the calendar.

Vrang village (87 km from Ishkoshim). The Buddhian temple in the upper of the village on the rocky slope. A sitting niches around the temple for buddhian worshippers.

Zong village (113 km from Ishkoshim). Around the village on the rocky slopes there are ruins of some castles, among them the Vishimkala (Anreshimkala) is the biggest. In the inside living and warehouse buildings compactly were built. A guarding tower built looking to the gorge. Ancient times there was situated the fire temple, built cross-like and there was a stowed for the holy fire.

District of the villages Zong-Hissor-Langar, traditionally called as the " Meeting of the main roads" . It is the point, where Pamir river joins with Wahan-Darya and the Pyanj river starts. There is the road to Eastern Pamir and Afgan Vakhan. The Castle of Ratm (Kushan period),in front of which a guarding tower with a highs of more than 3 meters was staying, took a control over the region.

Langar village. The remains of the castle are situated after the village of Langar, on the bank of the river Pamir, which runs here in the deepest gorge.

In the area of Langar there are majority of pethroglifs were found.

 

Shugnan destination:

 from Khorog  to Jelondy - 130kms.

On the top of the Bogiv village (Start of the river Bogivdara, the right tributary of the river Gunt ,9 km from Khorog) on the rocky mountains there is the castle, in the lower squares of it there are two temples of fire situated. It is built round like with niches for sitting and a place for the priest. There is a sowed in the centre. Three living houses built attaching to temples.

The village of Patkhur (82 km from Khorog). Here was excavated farmer's house(YI-YII cc. )in which there was an altar for the fire.

Varshez village(100 km from Khorog). There were found many settlements of miners and metallurgists, farmer's houses, mostly connected with silver resources in Bachor range in X-XI cc.

Jelondy - this district is famous for mane medical thermal spring’s.

 

Second way Shugnan destination:

From  Khorog-Jaushangoz (136kms)

The road to river Shokhdara. Besides the fascinating beauty ,it is interesting Roshtkala - district centre, in which there are situated the castle of Shugnan governor(XVIII-XIXcc) and one more ancient castle.

The Shashbuvad village(118 km from Khorog). From the road it is possible to see the well preserved ancient castle on the rock.

The valley of the river Jaushangoz. There is the castle of Derudj (YI-YII cc) 3 km after entrance to the valley. It closed the entrance to the valley of the river Shokhdara. This is the place, easy way to there is through the river Pamir, through Mats pass and the valley of the river Tokuzbulok.

 

THE GREAT SILK ROAD   in PAMIR

How to get this is region:  by Pamir Silk  road  with three destinations:

  1. from Dushanbe Karategin-Pamir destination:

 " Darband - Tavildara–Kalai-khumb-Kalayrokharv - ( Vanch)- 

            Yazgulom-Kalay Vomar(Rushon)-Barpanja. "

    2. from Khorog Shugnan destination: " Barpanja - Khorog -  

                                                                      Murgab – Tashkurgan. "

  1. from Khorog Vakhan corridor:

      " Kuhilal - Vrang - Ishkashim - Langar –  the valley of the  

         river Vakhandarya (Afghanistan) – Tashkurgan (China)" .


 

Pamir, Badakhshan, occupies almost the half of the territory of modern Tajikistan - it is 63. 7 thousand sq. kilometers. Pamir is surrounded in all sides by the chain of permanent highest mountains and is considered to be one of the highest mountain system peak I.Somoni of the world with the altitude of 7495 ms above sea level.
The Badakhshan villages are staying along the valley of the river, consisting of separate farms with a big patriarchic families. Traditional way of life worked out for many centuries, based on irrigational agriculture, and cattle-farming in a high alpine areas with life in yurts let the mountain people to be adapted for staying in the altitude of 1800-4000 ms above sea level. They worked out an original type of high mountain living house, consisting of the unique living and farming buildings with a big five-columned hall(up to 100sq. ms),roofed with staged wooden ceiling " Chorkhona" and the light-smoke hole " rausan" . This type of living houses were taken to Central Asia by the indo-arian tribes and has analogies in the ancient architecture of the vast region from Mediterranean up to China.


In Karategin-Pamir destination in the centre of the of the existing principalities there were some small castles: Kalai-khumb, Kalay Rokharv (Vanch), Kalay Vomar (Rushon)< Kalay Barpanja(Shugnan),Kalay Pyanj (Vakhan). A group of monuments concerning the trade in Great Silk Road are situated in the main Vakhan road. In 47 kms from Khorog, on the top of the village Kuhilal, the same named mountain with the resource of precious stone of rich spinel,famous under the name of " Lali Badakhshon" is situated.

In 982 y Khudud-al-Alam, in XIII cc. the books of " Mineralogy" of Biruni and the travel reports of Marco Polo say, that " Local people digging out precious stones in the mountain of " Shigkhnan" (Shugnan),under the order of Russian Tzar.
About 500 ancient mines were found in the mountain of Kuhilal from VIII-XI cc.
In 100 km from Khorog and in 1. 5 km from the centre of Ishkoshim, in VI-XII cc. . on the bank of the river Pyanj there was functioning a well strengthened pier-ford-caravanserai Dorkisht, from here the road led to Faizabad (Afgan Badakhshan). In 13 km from Ishkoshim in the village of Namadguti Poen, one of the ancient castles of Western Pamir - " Kah-kah-qala" (from III c. B. C. - to VII c. A. D. ) was situated. It is staying in the middle of the valley on the high rock with the length of 675 ms and 200 ms the width. It's huge stone and mud brick double walls have 56 round and square towers, some palace buildings are situated in the western corner of the citadel. A small bridge combined the main citadel with it's part, built attaching the river, and also fortified with towers. According to Steblin-Kaminsky, the origin of the name of the village " Namadgut" is coming from sanscrith ," Namadgata-holy place" . The preislamic holy shrine of Ismailits - the cemetery of SHOHI MARDON  KHAZRATI  ALI is located in this village.

Y A M C H U N

The other temple is called by the local people " Zamri Otashparast"

(The castle of fire worshippers) and it is situated on the top of the village Yamchun,75 km from Kah-kah-qala, it's length is 900 ms and the width is 400 ms. This castle is located in a impassable part of the stony slope, rounded with two deep canyons of the river. The majestic castle has three round of double walls with 40 towers and the impressive citadel in the highest part of it.
The famous orient list A. Stein called these two castles " the mountain version of finest central Asian fortification models" . Besides the trade caravans and military detachments the Great Silk Road was the road of missioners and pilgrims and it was possible to call it the " road of ideologies" Archeological investigations show, that,  Badakhshanians were multireligious people, they worshipped to fire, sun, to ancestors and to Buddha. (the last was Badakhshan type of Buddhism). On the village of the Vrang, the Buddhian Temple ensemble (IV-VII cc). consisting of three staged building raising in the courtyard, rounded with high walls and towers was built on the foothill of the mountain cliff. The Chinese traveler Syuan Tzyan in VII cc. visited this area, and wrote about Buddhist temples and translated the Pamiri writing in the temple as " Narayana Win it!" .
Among the villages of Vakhan the popular one is Yamg, where the local religious scientist,a poet,traveler Suffii Muborakkadam lived(died in 1910). Iin a wide pasture, nearby to his house there is a vertical stone with a hole in the middle of it, with a help of which Sufii Muborakkadam defined the celebration days of the calendar. In the house of one of the old Badakhshani man Gulomiobaeva Atitana  (115 years old!) the original painting with the image of human, animals, plants and calligraphy made on the ceiling were preserved. Yamg village is also popular
for it's musical instruments, the finest of them is the popular multistringed " Balandmuqom" personally made by Sufii  Muborakkadam.

Our route ends in the last village of Vakhan - Langar, on the top of it on the granite slopes the rock paintings with the images of mountain goats, caravans, horse riders with flags and with Ismailith five symbols were discovered. The big amount of historical and cultural monuments in Wahan destination of Great Silk Road allowed to the archeologist A. Zelinsky to call this area " The Great Pamir Road" . As for the scientist A. Stein ,he characterised this road as: " The Main Road connecting the Western Asia with classic world, consequently with far Central Asia and far East.
Shugnan destination: It starts from the village of Barpanla, former capital of Shugnan, which was connected with the other bank of the river Panj through the ford, where the biggest Porshnew village is situated. This village is popular for it's holy spring called " Pir Shonosir Chashma" , which comes from the tajik poet, philosopher, and the religious teacher Nosiri Khisrav, who came to Shugnan in the middle of XI cc. , where headed the Ismailith society and ended his life in the Yumgon  village of Afgan Badakhshan. Traditionally the village of Porshnew was populated by Ismailith Peers,. (Authourities), who came here from Iran. In the settlement of Saroi Bahor, they organized the dispute of the poets, philosophers and the noble men. And here is the place of the tomb - mazor (cupola) of Piri Saidfarukhsho. This is not so big a square building, covered with staged wooden ceiling " Chorkhona" ,which has a beautiful calligraphic imprints with the image of mythological birds and plants, made by the local painter Shozodamamad. In Porshnev in the present time the jeweler workshop is functioning, where from the precious stones they produce souvenirs and decorations.

In 12 km  from Porshnev, in both banks of the river Gunt and in it's confluence with Panj river, on the height of 2100 ms above sea level there is famous a Pamir Botanic Garden with it's unique flora, taken from the different parts of the planet.

From Khorog the road goes into two, running in Eastern Pamir area: one in the valley of the river Gunt, the other of the river Shokhdara. We proceed our road
along the river Gunt to inland Pamir by the modern asphalt road(as for the standards of the Soviet Union)" Khorog-Osh" . In 30kms from Khorog on a high sloppy rock, well-seen in the valley, in the village of Bogev, there is a well-excavated castle " Kofir-Kala" ,consisting of citadel, with the remains of two round temples with radius of 11 and 9 ms. Both temples had stone niches around the wall, stone monument in the middle. The temples were roofed by staged wooden ceilings with holes for the light. In combination with castle walls and the towers, the temples were publicly used main centre for worshipping of the sun. The tradition of making round planned erections with the solar symbols, was characteristic for sacs tombs of Eastern Pamir. Often, these round kurgans were surrounded by 1-2 walls. The diameter of some of them is about 60-63 ms. This kind of round erections connected with sun worshipping is typical for architectural history of Iranic people. For example in the book of " Avesto" king Yima (Jamshed" built round erection with three concentric fencing for saving of all living being from the world catastrophe. After the village Jelondy with it's some thermal springs for water treatment, the Koy-tezek pass(4271 ms) will start, leading to Eastern Pamir Plato ,to the sources of Gunt river, coming from picturesque lake Yashilkul.

EASTERN PAMIR (" Tsunlin as for Chinese sources and " Imau" in the map of Ptolemy), sharply differs from the civilized Western Pamir. This is the vast stony Plato with the very few plants on the height of 3400-3500 ms, occupying more than 30. 000 sq. km(bigger than Belgium). Plato is in the shape of not deep plate, at the edges of which is surrounded by the mountain ranges with the height of 1000-1500 ms above it's surface. The slowly running rivers of Murgab, Alichur, Pamir, Muzcol, make many lakes, locating in extremely high altitudes: Turumtaykul lake(4216), Zorkul lake (4126), Karakul lake(3914).

The famous traveler Marco Polo was true in describing this region: " On traveling twelve days in the land called Pamir, where one cannot find neither a living shelter, nor a plant, and one should take food by himself. No birds here, because of height and cold. Because of great cold, the fire will flash unnatural and it is impossible to cook. "

Probably, one of the finest points of this region is

  • the lake Sarez, situated in it's central part. Being a moraine type of the lake it was appeared after the earthquake of 18 February of 1911. The frequency of surface vibration was 8-9 balls according to Richter scale, and it resulted a gigantic avalanche with the volume of 2 billion cube. Km  burring the village Usoi and closing the river. According to it's size the Usoi avalanche is one of the biggest in the world. It's height is about 600-700 ms, width 4 km and the length is 4. 5 km. The absolutely mark of the water level is 3265 ms, the square of the lake mirror is 80sq. km, the length of the bank line is 162 km, the length of the lake is 60,2 km, width 1. 44-3. 3 km, the depth is 500 ms, the amount of the water is 17 sq. km, which is equal to annual water of Amudarya river. Besides the Sarez lake, in Pamir ,there are more than 800 lakes of moraine, tectonic, ice-glacier type. Among them is the biggest the salty lake Karakul (Black-lake),with the square of 380 km and with the water amount of 26. 6 km.
    In 40 km south from Sarez ,in the valley of the river Alichur, on the height of 3734 ms above sea level, there is a picturesque Yashilkul lake(Green-lake). It appeared in a very ancient times,  as reports say ,local people seeing for several times camel like  monster.
  • Murgab destination:
    The firm high mountain Plato was explored in stone age by the hot season hunters. The archeologist V. Ranov found 50 settlements of stone age. In the settlement of Aljilga on the high of the 3800 ms above sea level, there were found pethrogliphs with multishape compositions, having ceremonial meaning. (Sun-space shapes; horse-carts, men-animals). Horse and carts are often represented as the symbols of iranic sun goddess Mitra. Scientists connect these painting with indo-Arians, coming in the II cc. A. D to India. The most high mountain(4200 ms)stone age paintings were found in the walls of the cave Shakhti in 40 km from Murgab.
  • Mountain Plato:
    In X-III cc. the severe high mountain Plato was explored by the nomadic tribes of Iranic sacs, who left here their ancestors. From their tombs there were found metallic finds like: knives, bronze ceremonial boilers, deer’s, mountain goats, horses, made in famous dynamic mythological style expanded in the vast " skit desert territories from Dunai up to China. In II-I cc. A. D, sacs tribes moved to eastern areas of Greece-Bactrian, parts of them remained
  • in Western Pamir, forming one of the orthogenesis of Pamir people.
    The ethnonym of " sacs" was kept in some of the names of the regions of SAKNAN,SHAKHNAN(SHUGNAN),SAKASHAM,SKASEM (ISHKOSHIM),which is translated as" the country of sacs" . In the upper stream of the Bazardara tributary of the river Murgab, on the height of the 4200 ms above sea level, the high mountain town of miners of XI cc. ,as dug out. In the densely built settlement, among more than 80 living houses, there was a half-round fire temple and the caravanserai. The Bazardara town appeared in XI cc. ,during the silver crisis in Central Asia.
    Our destination ends in the pass of Kulma on the border with China, opened in 1999
    resembling the Great Silk Road, automobile road. On the top of the pass, as it was many years ago in the Chinese side the snow covered peak of Muztagata is seen as a lighthouse, showing the way to travelers.

About Pamir

 

The facts confirm that, agriculture and home animals appeared in bronze epoch. But for cultivating of the land people used stone ploughers. The first worshipping monuments appeared: four-angled erections with outside entrance-corridor and the stone altar in the centre of the back walls. At the same time they were intended as tombs or a burial vaults. The dead bodies were buried inside of the walls, first putting them in the

" stone boxes" . This was the starting time of the worshipping of the Fire and the Sun. The stone rounded fencings (with the diameter of 60-46ms) on the starts of the river Big Marjanai are connected with  different ceremonies, dedicated to the Fire and the Sun. (pic. 3).

A human being living here in this time anthropologically belonged to the Mediterranean race type. They came to Pamir from the south or south-western areas of Southern-Tajikistan or Afghanistan.

To the next thousand years, exploring and population of Pamir continues, getting tempo’s and this time is called " Sac's Period" . The " Roof of the World" successfully started to be used as a pasture from the early spring up to late autumn. More than 50 tombs found there tell us about. At the same time in the neighboring north-eastern areas Sac nomadic tribes also pastures their cattle’s. Excavation of tombs gave us big materials about weapons, house tools, ceremonial items and a wide trade contacts with Fergana valley, Xinzyang, India and Afghanistan.

Practical knowledge of ancient peasants was based on solar calendar, which had original construction. In the valley of the river Shorolyu (left tributary of the river Kuhdara) in the area of the Kokjar pass, on the height of the 3850 ms there were found interesting sloppy figures, made on the earth from stone (length 6-13 ms) in two colures (black stone and white quartz). One figure is oriented to spring (autumn) day/night equality (march 21 and September 23) and two others were oriented to summer (winter) day/night equality (June 22 and December 22)

The end of I- thousand years, B. C. is the famous that, there was opened the Great Silk Road in II cc. B. C. from China to the countries of Central and Front Asia. In the area of Dunkhuan district the road divided into two, - the northern road went to Ferghana valley, the southern after crossing Saricol range went to south. The southern road is famous under the name of Vakhan or Great Buddhian Road and Shugnan. This was the road of trade caravans, Buddhian worshippers and missioners.

To this time the Western Pamir enough explored, that there were built huge defensive castles (Kah-Kaha in Namadgut village), fortressed settlements. Most of them were built in I cc. B. C. - Icc. B. C. (Kushan period) The lack of plain lands and the defense purposes insisted them to build settlements on a high rocky mounds. Magnificent erections (the height of the walls preserved up to 3-meters) are seen in the background of snow cowered peaks. It is the unrepeatable museum under the open sky, which created by the ancestors of modern people, who live now in Vakhan, Shugnan, Rushan, Yazgulem and Vanch.

Mostly, special type of agriculture - agricultural farms were developed. According to modern measures, in ancient times, however up to XII cc. there no villages at all. The big Patriarchic families (with up to 60 people) lived in the village farms. The strong walls with towers, defended living and farm houses.

In the early middle ages (VI-VII cc. ) fire worshipping well confirmed, that there appeared fire temples (In village farms there were special rooms for holy fire) and in ancient manuscripts local people were called fire worshippers. The name of " Great Buddhian Road" was confirmed in ancient Vakhan. 4-stored Buddhian temple in the village of Vrang. The sitting niches for worshippers were cut around the terraces, and some of them were remained under the foothills of the temple.

In the place of ancient ford through the river Pyanj (between Ishkoshim and Rin village) there was built a pier-caravanserai Dorkisht. Caravansarai and descent to the river was defended by walls with towers.

The exploring of natural resources started in the period of IX-XI cc. In XII cc. a rich spinal  mines were found in the area of the village Kuhi-lal, in ancient times famous as Badakhshan lal (ruby) stones. The reason that they are called Badakhshan stones the well-known ancient mineralogist Biruni (XI c) explainers, that, they were taken to Badakhshan, where they were granted, polished and sold. The mine belonged to the governor of Vakhan, who kept a control over the producing and exporting of the precious stone.

Silver mines containing silver ores were also important ones. They started to mine it in Shugnan, in the uppers of Gunt and it's right tributary Tokuzbulak river in Bachor range. There were found some settlements of miners and metallurgists. But the mines in the Eastern Pamir were famous. In XI cc. , the most sources of silver (ancient Ilak in the Republic of Uzbekistan and in Shelji in the territory of modern Kyrgyzstan) which were exported finished, there was so called " Silver crisis" . In this moment, the above mentioned silver mines in Shugnan were of big importance for the further exploring of silver resources in the " Roof of the World"

In the northern slopes of the North-Alichur range in the valley of the river Ak-jilga on the high 3980 ms above the sea level there was built a small town. It consisted of caravansarai, administrative centre, town buildings with living houses, fire temple, cemetery(more than 500 tombs) and the bathroom with underground heating.

The most highest mountain mine among the well-known resources was situated in the uppers of the river Sassik on the high of the 5000 ms above sea level.

You can do travels according to several routes. But before making trips along the ancient caravan roads, don't forget to visit Regional Ethnographic museum and the local Botanical Garden.


Wahan corridor:

We are start from Khorog to Ishkashim - 100 km. On the way we will see famous Hot springs

It is worth of seeing here the village of Anderob, from where the road turns to Garmchashma (7 km) - medical thermal spring. In the background of severe rocks it is possible to see the white cupolas of calcite mineral mounds. There are many medical thermal and mineral water springs like narzan and borjomi  8 km  further, there is a Kuhi-lal village, where one can see ancient mines of high quality spinal.

District centre Ishkashim and the village Rin. Some fortressed settlements and defense castles, pier-caravansarai on the bank of the river Pyanj.

After Ishkashim:

The Kah-kah-ha castle (IV cc. B. C) - the walls of it strengthened with 55 towers, in the inside of it there are a bastion and the buildings of local governor(17kms from Ishkashim).

Yamchun village (situated 72 km from Ishkoshim). Upper the village there is a very early castle. (III cc. B. C. ). On the upper square there is a citadel for garrison. The double lines of the castle walls are strengthened with 39 towers.

Yamg village. (80 km from Ishkoshim). In the territory of the village the old system of the solar calendar, which rules the season dates of the Sunset was preserved. There is the tomb of the Sufi-astronomer Muborak(died in 1885y),who worked with the calendar.

Vrang village (87 km from Ishkoshim). The Buddhian temple in the upper of the village on the rocky slope. A sitting niches around the temple for buddhian worshippers.

Zong village (113 km from Ishkoshim). Around the village on the rocky slopes there are ruins of some castles, among them the Vishimkala (Anreshimkala) is the biggest. In the inside living and warehouse buildings compactly were built. A guarding tower built looking to the gorge. Ancient times there was situated the fire temple, built cross-like and there was a stowed for the holy fire.

District of the villages Zong-Hissor-Langar, traditionally called as the " Meeting of the main roads" . It is the point, where Pamir river joins with Wahan-Darya and the Pyanj river starts. There is the road to Eastern Pamir and Afgan Vakhan. The Castle of Ratm (Kushan period),in front of which a guarding tower with a highs of more than 3 meters was staying, took a control over the region.

Langar village. The remains of the castle are situated after the village of Langar, on the bank of the river Pamir, which runs here in the deepest gorge.

In the area of Langar there are majority of pethroglifs were found.

 

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