All things counter, original, spare and strange in Khujand, Tajikistan

Staying on in the Pamirs

When it came time to leave Khorog after less than a week, I found I couldn’t do it. Our official business was done. We had witnessed the selection of 35 underprivileged children for the English Access micro-scholarship program and we had met with the Yak House out in Murghab. But I still wanted to explore the hills around city and scope out some rock-climbing spots.

So I decided to stay on. Bo, a fellow Fulbrighter doing research on rule of law issues in the Pamirs, invited me to crash at his homestay, situated right at the edge of the gorgeous Chor Bogh park.

Sadly, it was rainy for many days and we could not get in all the outdoor adventure we wanted to. But we did get to travel out of the city to ask farmers if we could go rock-climbing on their land. They were mostly bemused by our intentions, but friendly. The land in the valley down the river from Khorog is generally a miracle of good management. As you’ve seen from the pictures, this is mountainous, rocky country. But through irrigation, tree-planting and careful management it can be fruitful. Everywhere we were offered peaches, apples and pears by friendly farmers. Here Bo is contemplating the possibility of climbing, while the rain clouds build.

I stayed in Khorog for another five days after Ashley and Sherzod left for Dushanbe. Bo is situated in a traditional Pamiri house. Here is the ceiling:


The four levels of the skylight represent earth, water, air and fire. It’s a hold-over from Zoroastrianism preserved in Pamiri architecture. Crazy stuff.


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