| Would You like
to see Pamir?
No problem. Come to Dushanbe,
to the capital of the Republic of Tajikistan. You must visit
the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan, where You
will be told and shown many interesting things, and about Pamir
too. It is possible to fly, or if You are romantic, after driving
500 kms You will appear in Khorog – in the capital of the Gorno-Badakhshan
Autonomious Region of the Republic of Tajikistan(GBAR – it’s
total territory is – 63.3 thousand sq.kms or 45% territory of
Tajikistan,-population – 167.1 thousand, in Khorog – 20.7 thousand
people).The town meets You with modern buildings with TV antennas
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 GBAR as for natural conditions
is divided into Western Pamir:(6 administrative districts:Kalayikhumb,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
The name of Pamir(Po-mi-lo) and it’s description were fixed
in “The Notes” of Buddian 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 5oo years.This region is the Pamir now.It’se 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 Tibeth and the people live here on
the hight 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
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 kms
north from the lake of Karakul on the height 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. he finest paintings of that time
were discovered in the cave of Shakhti(40 kms from Murgab
settlement, on the road to Jarti-gumbaz). The color is extremely
beautiful. On the walls of the cave it is possible to see
bird masked human figure,2 boars and the yak,
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.
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 center 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 temples 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 castle’s.
Excavation of tombs gave us big materials about weapons, house
tools, ceremonial items and a wide trade contacts with Ferghana
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 colors(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
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-VIIcc.) 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
Buddian 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
Ishkashim and Rin village) there was built a pier-caravansarai
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) explains,
that, they were taken to Badakhshan, where they were grinned,
polished and sold. The mine belonged to the governor of Vakhan,
who kept a control over the producing and exporting of the
Silver mines containing silver ores were also important ones.
They started to mine it in Shugnon, 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 Shugnon
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 height 3980 ms above the sea
level there was built a small town. It consisted of caravansarai,
administrative center, 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 height
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
Vakhan itinerary: Khorog-Ishkashim – 104 kms.
It is worth of seeing here the village of Anderob, from where
the road turns to Garmchashma(7 kms) – 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 kms further, there is a Kuhi-lal village, where one can
see ancient mines of high quality spinal.(pic.7)
District center Ishkashim and the village Rin. Some fortressed
settlements and defense castles, pier-caravansarai on the
bank of the river Pyanj.
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 kms from Ishkashim).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 kms from Ishkashim).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 kms from Ishkashim).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 kms from Ishkashim).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 Vakhan-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 height of more than 3 meters was staying, took
a controller over the region. 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 Petroglyph were
Shugnan itinerary: I Khorog-Jelondy – 130kms.
On the top of the Bogiv village (Start of the river Bogivdara,
the right tributary of the river Gunt ,9 kms 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 center. Three living houses built
attaching to temples.
The village of Patkhur(82 kms from Khorog).Here was excavated
farmer’s house(YI-YII cc.)in which there was an altar for
Varshez village(100 kms from Khorog). There were found many
settlements of miners and metallurgists, farmer’s houses,
mostly connected with silver resources in Bachor range in
Jelondy – this district is famous for mane medical thermal
Shugnon itinerary: II Khorog-Jaushangoz(136kms)
The road to river Shokhdara. Besides the fascinating beauty
,it is interesting Roshtkala – district center, in which there
are situated the castle of Shugnon governor(XVIII-XIXcc) and
one more ancient castle.
The Shashbuvad village(118 kms from Khorog). From the road
it is possible to see the well preserved ancient castle on
The valley of the river Jaushangoz. There is the castle of
Derudj(YI-YII cc) 3 kms 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.