Ishkashim is undoubtedly the most attractive destination in GBAO for its wealth of archeological sites, (castles, petroglyphs and more than sixty shrines and holy places) and spectacular scenery, with view across the Wakhan to the snow-covered Hindu Kush in Pakistan.
Marco Polo mentions the Wakhan and may also have travelled up it:
“At the end of those days you come to a province of no great size, extending indeed no more than three days journey in any direction, and this is called VOKHAN. The people worship Muhammet, and they have a peculiar language.”
The Wakhan Corridor, with views across the Panj and Pamir rivers to the peaks of the Hindu Kush in Pakistan, contains many traces of the multicultural history of the Silk Route and the spread of major religions.
Some additional highlights:
- Zong village (113 km from Ishkashim) with the ruins of a number of castles, including Vishimkala;
- Namadut village (17 km from Ishkashim) with a fairy well-preserved castle known as Kah-Kaha dating from the 4th century BC;
- The imposing fortress known as “Zamri Otashparast” (“Fortress of fire-worshippers”) above the Yamchun village (72 km from Ishkashim), where the earliest part of the construction dates from the 3rd century BC.
- Don’t miss the chance to explore every Saturday bazaar where Tajik and Afghan traders do their business.
- The ruby mine “Kuhi Lal” (“Ruby Mountain”), which was famous in antiquity and was mentioned by Marco Polo, and many others.