You should definitely travel to the Pamirs soon if…

… you want to feel like the pioneer explorers, the old geographers and anthropologists who in pastime filled the last white gaps on the global map.

Other than mountainous destinations like Nepal or Southern America, which are already affected by kind of mass tourism, it is unlike that you will meet many fellow tourists on your trip to the Pamirs. But be quick before too many others also get aware of this insider tip!

 

… you want to witness rich ethnic and cultural diversity.

The Pamiri, an Indogermanic people, have a peculiar culture which is different from that of the other Tajik and very differentiated within: In virtually every valley a watchful observer can note differences in local customs, and the languages and dialects spoken often differ from valley to valley so much that the inhabitants cannot mutually understand each other. And then there are the Kyrgyz of the Eastern Pamirs: Marvel how a people can survive so skillfully in such a harsh nature!

 

… you want to experience real pristine hospitality.

Many peoples of the Near and Middle East share the reputation of being particularly hospitable, however even the most adept travellers tell in unison that there is no place in the world where they have experienced such a pronounced hospitality as in the Pamirs. The Pamiri do not show any reservation and are always ready to invite you into their home and let your participate in their life – for hosting guests, especially those from far away, they receive “barakat”, the blessing of god.

 

…you want to combine culture and sport during your journey.

If you are fond of the really big mountains, head out for the 5,000ers, 6000ers and 7000ers which are so plentiful that most of them even have not received a name yet. Or, if you are more moderate, enjoy yourself in this Trekkers’ paradise. For those who want to have it most easy, however, there is also the opportunity to reach many, even remote places completely by 4WD. 

 

…. study unique wildlife.

If you are lucky, you can observe some endangered species such as the snow leopard and the Marco-Polo-Sheep, the biggest sheep of the world, which found in the Pamirs one of their last relatively undisturbed refugia. Eagles, ibexes and wolves are even rather frequent occurrences in the Pamirs.

 

… you have a faible for the unique.

The Pamirs comprise many superlatives, such as the longest glacial system in the world (Fedchenko Glacier), the lake with the biggest natural dam in the world (Lake Sarez, which evolved after an earthquake when half a mountain collapsed in 1911) and the highest mountain of the former Soviet Union (Pik Ismoil Somoni, former Pik Communism, 7,495 m).

The Pamirs also have been a crucial location for world history, being the site of the so-called “Great Game”, during which the British and the Tsarist Empire expanded in and divided the last territories of Asia among themselves. The formerly unified territory of Badakhshan has been divided along the Amu Darya (Panj) river, separating people who belong to the same ethnicity and often even are relatives. Glimpsing over to the Afghan bank* of the Panj river, you can witness the difference it makes until today having ended up on the Russian/Soviet (Tajik) or the British (Afghan) side of the river. After this you will see the “Iron Curtain” in a new light.

 

* Tajikistan and the immediate adjacent regions in Afghanistan are not subject to any military or guerrilla insurgencies, so there is no danger at all for travellers to the Pamirs resulting from the proximity of some parts of Tajikistan to Afghanistan.