Pamir

Gorno-Badakhshan 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 Pyanj rivers. The Pyanj is better know by its ancient name of Oxus, and becomes the Amu Darya after being joined by the river Kunduz from Afghanistan, before continuing along the Uzbek border on the way to the Aral Sea.

Gorno-Badakhshan offers:

  • spectacular landscapes
  • some of the highest mountains in the world: Pik Somoni / Communism (7,495m), Pik Lenin (7,134m), Pik Karl Marx (6,723m) and Pik Engels (6,510m) and the Fedchenko Glacier – one of the longest in the world (77km); from Murghab there are views of Mustagh Ata – "Father of Ice” (7,546m) just across the border in China
  • traces of the Silk Route and other archaeological sites
  • the warm hospitality and vitality of its people
  • dancing and music, both religious and secular.

The following itineraries are recommended:
  • The Wakhan corridor, with views across the Pyandj and Pamir rivers to the peaks of the Hindu Kush in Pakistan; the Wakhan contains many traces of the multicultural history of the Silk Route and the spread of major religions
  • The valleys of the Shokhdara and Pamir rivers; here, in beautiful natural surroundings, there are vestiges of the centuries-long struggle for control of the fertile lands of the Pamirs
  • The Pamir Highway, the lifeline to markets in Kyrgyzstan (and, in future, China); this is the real Pamir: high plateau desert and multi-coloured rock formations resembling more a moonscape than mountains; this region used to be at the bottom of the sea and was pushed up by the geological phenomenon of continental drift and the clash of tectonic plates.
  • The Bartang valley, the longest in Gorno-Badakhshan, with idyllic villages nestling against the valley walls and access to Lake Sarez.

For most travellers, a visit to the Pamirs is likely to be different from any previous travel experience. This is in itself one of the attractions of the region, but a few words of warning may be necessary, since the experience is both physically and mentally challenging.

A visit to the Pamirs can not be hurried and travellers must be prepared for much driving over difficult roads at high altitudes.

The road from Dushanbe travels a considerable distance along the Afghan border and offers magnificent scenery and views of life in Afghan villages.

 

The road from Sary Tash to Ali Chur follows the Chinese border for about 200km and goes over some very high passes (of which the highest is Akbaital 4,655m)

There are hot springs in:
  • Garm Chashma (near Anderob, 30km from Khorog on the road to Ishkashim)
  • Oudzh (30km from Ishakashim on the road from Khorog)
  • Bibi Fotima (Yamchun - 72km from Ishkashim above the Wakhan)
  • Issyk-Bulok-Madyan (10km West of Murghab)
  • Djelondi (about 110km from Khorog on the road to Murghab)
  • Shaimak (126km from Murghab)
  • The Botanical garden in Khorog is the second highest in the world.




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