THE ROOF OF THE WORLD
Nature has awarded with a special beauty these wonderful places, here deserts neighbor with green oasis, fertile sunny valleys with high mountain peaks, alpine grasses with eternal ice-glaciers. Here the regions which still kept their first creature, strike with their fabulous-picturesque lakes, lying on the necklet of snowy mountains, with fast mountain rivers carrying turbulent-crystal water and with the aroma of mountain flowers and forests. All these make an extreme condition for nearing the man with nature.
The Pamir region – “The Roof of the World” is easily Tajikistan’s highlight, offering breathtaking high-altitude scenery, excellent ecotourism options, humbling mountain hospitality and the Pamir Highway – one of Asia’s greatest road trips.
Gorno-Badakhshan (Pamir) is in the far Eastern part of Tajikistan. It borders Afghanistan in the South and West, China in the East and Kyrgyzstan in the North. The Southern and Eastern boundaries are determined by the Pamir and Panj rivers.
Gorno-Badakhshan’s attracting highlights are as follows:
- spectacular landscapes;
- some of the highest mountains in the world as: Somoni Peak (aka Communism) (7,495m), Lenin Peak (7,134m), Karl Marx Peak (6,723m) and Engels Peak (6,510m) and the Fedchenko Glacier – one of the longest in the world (77km); from Murgab there are views of Muztagh Ata – “Father of Ice” (7,546m) just across the border in China;
- traces of the Silk Route and other archeological sites;
- the warm hospitality and vitality of its people;
- dancing and music, both religious and secular;
- the road from Dushanbe travels a considerable distance along the Afghan border and offers magnificent scenery and views of life in Afghan villages, and many others.
Some brief information regarding Pamirs and its sites:
- The first traces of civilization in the Pamirs go back more than 20,000 years. Some 50 human settlements from the Stone Age have been found in the Eastern Pamir. Cave paintings from this period can be seen near the village of Jarty-Gumbez, 40km South of Murgab, just off the main road to Khorog;
- A pre-Zoroastrian ritual site can be found at Lake Yashilkul on the estuary of the Katta Marjanoi river near the village of Bulunkul. Another pre-Zoroastrian fire temple can be seen in the village of Bogiv (9km from the regional centre, Khorog);
- There are solar calendars in the Shuraly valley in upper Bartang, near Goudara (Kokjar pass), and in Yamg village (80 km from Ishkashim);
- On the Alichur River, near Bulunkul, there are traces of early Chinese settlement;
- There is a Buddhist stupa in the village of Vrang (87km from Ishkashim);
- Many petroglyphs are found near the village of Lyangar (120km from Ishkashim);
- The Wakhan (Ishkashim district) was one of the main branches of the Silk Road (also known as the Buddhist Route). Here there are many traces of the great castles that guarded the route, offered hospitality and exacted tribute – most of them built during the Kushan period (second century BC to third century AD).
KHOROG, the capital of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO/Pamir) until 1986 was a very small settlement, but nowadays one can find almost everything in the markets, enjoy it museum, hospitality of its inhabitants and take a stroll in the second highest Botanical garden in the world!
As you can see, better to come and see once than read hundreds of books about Pamir.