In the Birthplace of Cultures
In the Birthplace of Cultures
Vanj village and district are located in central Tajikistan. These mountains are made up of conglomerates, granites, sandstones, steep slopes, gorges and narrow river valleys. In some places, the mountains are over 6000 meters above sea level. The Vanj region is a seismically unstable area. Almost every week there are tremors. Long ago, this region was inhabited by people speaking Iranian. In ancient times, it was called "the land of the Saks", in the Middle Ages the region was Islamized. The city was founded in 1933. The characteristics of the natural conditions affected the way of life of the local population.
Yamchun fortress is one of the most interesting historical sites in the Wakhan Valley. Yamchun is 72 km away to the east of the district center Ishkashim. The fortress was built during th 3rd century BC during the Greek-Bactrian Empire, on the Great Silk Road, in order to control southern invaders coming from the Pakistan valley of Chitral. A triangular citadel overlooks the village of Yamchut above 360 meters. The citadel is at the top of another walled triangle of nearly 600 meters length and with a base of about 400 meters. At the base of the second wall, another wall of 400 meters mark the entrance of the fortress. On the wall, towers stand each 20-25 meters. 1km higher than the citadelle, near the Yamchun river, there is the Bibi Fatima hot springs.
Langar is one of the last villages in the Panj Valley in the south of the Tajik Pamirs, on the banks of the Pamir River. The village is located at an altitude between 2800 and 2850 meters, opposite the Wakhan corridor and on part of the delta of the Pamir river which here forms the Panj river. Thousands of petroglyphs have been found in this region, representing ibex, deer, yaks, hunters with their bows or even horsemen. In Langar you can see a mazar with many horns of Siberian goats and argali, where ancient religious rituals still take place (a mixture of pagan and Ismaili beliefs). 5km east of the village are the ruins of the Ratm fortress.
The Pamir range is located in the Northern Central Asia, it lies mostly in the Gorno-Badakhshan province of Tajikistan to the North it joins the Tian Shan mountains along the Alay Valley of Kyrgyzstan and to the south it borders with Hindu Kush mountains along Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor and with the east Chinese Muztagh. The word Pamir translated as "the roof of the world".
In the 18-20th centuries, the Pamir range and the surrounding area were the scene of geopolitical rivalry of the British and Russian empires, called the "Great Game". The military department of the Russian Empire concerned about the activity of the British near the Pamir mountains, and decided to build a strategic military road: The construction was planned and carried out in deep secrecy and for a long time the existence of a wheel road in the Pamirs in Russian Turkestan in Europe unknown. After the construction of the Pamir tract, the wheel road in 1894 was named the Old Pamir Trakt. With the completion in 1937 of the construction of a highway connecting Osh and Khorog.
Pamir is divided into two natural and climatic conditions, the Eastern and Western Pamirs. In the Eastern part, the climate here is sharply continental, severe. This part of the Pamirs is characterized by the desert air dryness and, almost icy constant winds, often reaching the strength of the hurricane. Summer sun burns the skin, and in the shade while it's cold. The population of this region, live almost exclusively in cattle breeding and are engaged in breeding sheep and yaks, as well as hunting for mountain sheep (argali). It should be noted that argali are a kind of symbol of the Eastern Pamirs, and their horns are its emblem. On the Western Pamir winter here is mild, summers are warm. Here the Pamiris are engaged in agriculture and cattle breeding.
Khorog Airport is a small airport located west of Khorog City, which is the administrative center of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region. The airport is located near the bank of the Panj River, a cross-border river between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
The airport was built in the Soviet years. It has an asphalt track with a length of 1840 meters. The airport is located at an altitude of 2080 meters and thus one of the highest airports in the world. The airport serves a daily flight with Dushanbe International Airport.
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