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736000, Republic of Tajikistan, GBAO, Bartang valley
the village Barchidif
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Pamir

The majestic and unique Pamirs, is one of the famous upland region of the world with absolute heights that exceed more than 7000 m above sea level, known as “Roof of the World”. Many famous scientists and researchers assessed the Pamirs as a place of wonderful contrasts and complex historical, geographical and ethnographic puzzles of Asia.

In the XIII century, the Venetian traveller, the first European - Marco Polo, passed across the Pamirs.  Many researchers that studied the Pamirs in different periods concluded that the Pamirs is the region through which one of the most important and lively roads of the ancient and medieval times ran across. Merchant caravans that delivered huge lots of goods passed through this route. Through this route, many cultural and economic achievements of ancient civilizations spread out. Buddhist pilgrims moved along gigantic ruins of the ancient fortresses to the shrines. 

Ethnically and culturally the Pamiris are considered descendants of ancient Iranian tribes.Until now the Pamiris communicate in ancient eastern-Iranian languages that were used at the huge territory of Central Asia: Sakian, Khorezmi, Soghdian and Bactrian. The Pamiri language consists of Shugnani-Rushani group, Yazgulyami, Ishkashimi, Vakhi and Munji languages. All the Pamiri languages are oral; Tajik language has been used for writing. It is universally recognized that Pamiri languages preserved many of their features, typical to ancient middle Iranian languages because of their isolation from the rest of the world, in compare to other languages from Iranian group they were less exposed to changes.

200 thousand people live at the territory of GBAO among which there are Kyrgyz people (who came to the eastern Pamirs in the XVII-XVIII centuries), and who mainly live in Murghab district. Majority of the Pamiri Tajiks profess Ismailism of the Shi’a branch which is a branch of Islam. Tajiks of Vanj, Yazgulam and Darvaz districts as well as Kyrgyz of Murghab district are Sunni-Muslims. The founder of Ismailism in the Pamirs is the classic of the Tajik-Persian literature, philosopher Sho Nosiri Khisraw.

One of the important treasuries of the Pamiri culture is traditional Pamiri house - “Chid”. “Chid” is considered as a sacred place and a symbol of purity and universe for every pamiri – Ismaili. Every element and drawing has religious and philosophical meaning, combining ancient Arian philosophy and contemporary religious traditions.
“Traveller’s Cave” is the unique geological monument of the Pamirs is located in the gorge of Salyk-Tash, in the outskirts of the lake Rangkul, in Murghab district. According to an existing legends, when the Chinese left Eastern Pamir, they hided all their gold in this cave. Until now local Kyrgyz forbid their children to approach this cave, scaring them by Chinese supposedly living there.

Another unexplored monument is a cave in the village Zong, 105 km away from the district centre of Ishkashim towards Langar. Local population calls the cave “Tir-bor” (upper door). Ìåñòíîå íàñåëåíèå íàçûâàåò ïåùåðó "Òèð-áîð" (Âåðõíÿÿ äâåðü). Deep in the cave all electrical lamps turn off. According to a legend, another exit from the cave is located in the territory of Afghanistan.

Ancient petroglyphs – painted drawings were found in the eastern Pamirs which are the oldest in Central Asia. In the grotto of the mine a man masked under a bird and animals are painted by two tones: wild boar, bear and a bull. The figures of the animals reach 85 cm. By its stylistic features and topics (on one of the drawings an animal speared by arrows) these drawings remind paleolithic, but some features and circumstances of their discovery makes to date them to mesolithic.

Among the natural monuments of the Pamirs is the Matraun waterfall in Vanj district. The left inflow of Yazgulam River, Matraundara falls from the height of 35-40 metres. The Ovchug waterfalls in the outskirts of the Kalaikhumb district do not reach strong power. But falling from the height of about 70 meters and pouring out by numerous small splashes, the waterfall is famous by its beautiful picturesqueness.

The Pamir Botanical garden – is a beautiful natural monument in the Pamirs established by the professor Gurskiy. More than 20 thousand plants from all over the world are collected in this garden. Professor, together with his wife came to the Pamirs in 1940. Their first house was a tent, laid at the border of the city on a flat place. There was a small spring by the tent, which irrigated small fields of lucerne and wheat plated by the spouse. The professor bought a horse, put them into plough and started to plant apples, vines, onion, potato and cabbage, initiating establishment of such a unique man-made monument – the botanical garden.

If you would like to plunge into the world of puzzles, walk along the paths of ancient worlds and enjoy inimitable charm of the nature, then welcome to the Pamirs – kingdom of beautiful landscapes, unseen historical and geographical contrasts.

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