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Tour to Western Pamir-Alai. Tajikistan.

Adventure tours in Tajikistan.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” 

Augustine of Hippo.

Eastward, where the Zerafshan river descends from the north-west ranges of the Pamir, a splintered road followed it under a mottled sky. At first it crossed empty flatlands. Then the mountains grew out of the horizon, lit by isolated sunbeams, and gathered along a valley corridor that led us unnoticeably up...
In the remote valleys and uplands of the Western Pamir, it is still possible to hear the Sogdian tongue being spoken. This was the language of Persian kings - Cyrus, Darius and Xerxes - and of Roxanne, the wife of Alexander the Great.
The western Pamiri tribes have preserved their culture and traditions, including elements of the Sogdian religion, Zoroastrianism. It is easy to see where this fire-worshipping religion originated - by closely observing the mountain tops in the Yaghnob area, it is possible to see smoke, and at night, flames. 
These are underground coal fires which have been burning for thousands of years. (In the I century AD, the Roman scholar Plinius the Elder wrote, "The tops of mountains burn in Baktria at nights").
This trek combines walking in some of the most beautiful and unusual mountains of Central Asia, with an exploration of this vanished people and their once-mighty civilisation.

The short description of a route of tour  on Western Pamir:

Dushanbe – Pendjikent - Zerafshan river - Western Pamir - Yaghnob area – Dushanbe.

Extension of route: 540 km. 
Seasonallity: from June 1th till September, 30th.
 Best time for excursion: July - August.
Duration of tour: 16 days, 15 nights.

The detailed program trekking tour in Yaghnob valley:

Hiking in Tajikistan.

Day 1. Dushanbe - Pendjikent.
Early morning arrival in Dushanbe, meeting in airport, transfer to hotel, arrives in hotel, accommodation. Take some time to rest and freshen up, then have introductions and some orientation over a late breakfast. After breakfast, drive through Varzob Gorge, over Anzob Pass 3373 meters above sea level, and along the Zerafshan valley to Penjikent.  Accommodation in a hotel. 
Optional: It is possible to start this tour via Samarkand to Dushanbe via check point “Sarasie” instead of Dushanbe. Allow two extra days for this option, crossing from Tashkent to Khudjand on the morning of day three.
Day 2. Pendjikent - Aini.
Breakfast. The town Pendjikent located in the western part of Tajikistan on left I protect the rivers Zaravshan to the east of Samarkand. The town towers at height of 900 meters above sea level. Pendjikent  it is well-known for monuments of architecture, a zone of sea tour of the river Zaravshan. The status of the town of Pendjikent has received in 1953. The Population for 2003 has 34 000 person. Pendjikent is one of the most ancient cities of the Central Asia which age makes 5500 years. The name of city on Russian is translated as «Five settlements». In V - VIII centuries н.э. Pendjikent represented one of the major cultural and craft centers of Sogdiana.
The beginning of excursion on Pendjikent and to vicinities. Visiting of a museum of name Rudaki, the founder of the Tadjik classical literature.
 Visiting of ancient site of ancient settlement Pendjikent. 
The site of ancient settlement ancient Pendjikent is archeologic monument V - VII centuries and borrows territory in 13,5 hectares. The site of ancient settlement consists of strengthenings, shakhistan with a defensive wall, suburban manors and a necropolis. The town has been constructed in V a century and has existed till VII century. Excavation on a site of ancient settlement are conducted since 1947. Walls of many houses were saved up to the second floor. In total 2 palace complexes, 2 temple complexes, 2 market complexes, 8 streets, tens multiroom houses of the nobility and ordinary citizens, city walls V - VIII centuries are dug out.
Transfer: the city of Pendjikent - settlement Sarazm (13 km).
Settlement Sarazm IV - II millenia B.C., located close Pendjikent, with well saved temples of fire, public and residential buildings, cult and palace constructions. Here many products from copper, bronze, lead, silver, gold, the weapon, the ornaments concerning to IV - to II millenia up to B.C. have been found.
The settlement represents extended with the West on the east a height on left I protect the rivers Zeravshan. The Total area of settlement exceeds 100 hectare. Sarazm was the center of ancient manufacture of ore. Its inhabitants, have found gold and silver in valley Zaravshan, sent it in the countries of the Average and the Near East and the Western India.
Returning in Pendjikent (13 km). A lunch in cafe of town.
After a lunch transfer: Pendjikent - settlement Mazori Sharif (33 km).
In settlement Mazori Sharif visiting of mausoleum Mukhammad Bashoro. Mausoleum Mukhammad Bashoro is an architectural monument XII - XIV centuries and consists from spacious of some domes with inputs on the main facade. The mausoleum is located in one of fine gorges of northern mountains Zeravshan of a ridge. About person Mukhammad Bashoro it is known very little.
The mausoleum consists of a spacious central dome hall, at the left and to the right of which a number of premises is located. The main facade of the mausoleum leaves to the mountain river, from here to it the road conducts. Originally the mausoleum has been constructed without a portal. In XIV century the portal, with a decorative carved terracotta (it is cut out on crude clay, is burnt and collected on a portal) unique beauty and complexity has been constructed. After a late lunch, drive back along the Zerafshan valley to a village near Aini. Accommodation in a village home, overnight.
Day 3. Zerafshan - village of Pakshif.
After breakfast, drive about 100 Km up the Zerafshan. We pass the village of Mastchoh and stop by the bridge over the river near Tabusht. Have lunch, then say goodbye to the drivers and walk over die bridge and along the south bank of the Zerafshan past the village of Pakshif. 
Optional: It is possible to walk up to the top of the Zerafshan valley to see the glacier which is the source of the river. Allow an additional three days for this option.
Day 4. Zerafshan valley - Pakshif river.
Breakfast. Turn south from the Zerafshan valley into the Pakshif river valley. We will follow this valley southward, ascending gently. Camp below Pakshif pass, overnight in the tents.
Day 5. Pakshif pass - valley of the Daraisusof River.
Breakfast. Cross Pakshif pass 3729 meters above sea level and descend through a wooded glade to the valley of the Daraisusof River.  Camp and overnight in the tents.
Day 6. Naiyukrun River.
Breakfast. From here we turn west into the valley of die Naiyukrun River and ascend to a confluence of rivers. Camp and overnight in the tents.
Day 7. Yaghnob valley.
Breakfast. Continue climbing and camp below the glaciers.  Camp and overnight in the tents.
Day 8. Yaghnob valley.
Ascend to a 4,062 meters above sea level pass and descend steeply to the upper part of the Yaghnob River valley. Camp and overnight in the tents.
Day 9. Yaghnob valley.
Breakfast. From this point, our route takes us west, following me Yaghnob river downstream and descending gently. The Yaghnob valley becomes a steep gorge. Camp and overnight in the tents.
Day 10. Yaghnob Gorge – village Kiriyonte.
Breakfast. Continue along Yaghnob Gorge dirough the historical remains of Dekh-Kalon to the village of Kiriyonte. This is an easy trek and we should arrive mid-afternoon. Camp on the bank of the Yaghnob river, overnight.
Day 11. Rest day in Kiriyonte.
Breakfast. The people of Yaghnob live in picturesque houses resemg swallows' nests. These people are the descendants of the Sogdians, who fled Penjikent during the Arab invasions of the VII and VIII centuries. The Yaghnobis have preserved the Sogdian language and culture for centuries in this remote mountain region. The villagers will introduce the group to their culture and traditions. Camp and overnight in the tents.tents.
Day 12. Yaghnob Gorge - area Shobita.
Breakfast. Cross to the south side of the river and after a short detour to the south, continue descending Yaghnob Gorge westward. We will trek along the bank of the Yaghnob river through several small settlements and a very beautiful area called Shobita. Stop and camp on green grass near a water mill. Camp and overnight in the tents.
Day 13.  Yaghnob Gorge - village of Margib.
Breakfast. Continue down Yaghnob Gorge to the village of Margib. This part of the route is particularly scenic, passing a panorama of huge mountain peaks with sharp rocks covered with snow and ice. A one-kilometre rock soars above Margib, called Zaminkaror, or "Holder of the Earth". Stay overnight in a local home in Margib.
Day 14. Margib village – Dushanbe town.
Breakfast . Drive from Margib to Dushanbe over Anzob Pass. Arrives in Dushanbe, accommodation, overnight in.
Day 15. Dushanbe - the town of Ghissar - Dushanbe - gorge Romit - Dushanbe (128 km).
Breakfast. A trip to the town of Ghissar (30 km). Arrival in Ghissar, excursion in Ghissar a fortress. Ghissar a fortress - a palace of one of emir Bukhara. The fortress with walls thickness боле 1 meter, with loopholes for guns and guns towers on a slope of a low hill. Inside of a fortress there was a pool and a garden. Opposite to a fortress there was a market square about a caravan-serai and a lot of trading shop. At Ghissar a fortress it is a lot of legends.
On one of legends - a fortress has constructed Afrasiab for protection from Rustam (the glorified heroes of product Firdousi «Shakhname»). Other legend speaks, that caliph Ali has arrived to these places on horse Dul-Dul to preach an islam and has stopped on mountain which today has the name Poi-Dul-Dul (to the West from Ghissar). Under a kind of the acrobat-rope-walker he has made the way from mountain in a fortress, but here has been learned and taken in a captivity. Its correct horse has brought to him sword Zulfikar.
By means of this sword caliph Ali has exterminated the enemies, including the malicious wizard who at that time owned a fortress. Near to a fortress two huge plane trees, which from 500 till 700 years grow. Lunch in national tea bar near to Ghissar fortresses. After a lunch returning in Dushanbe overnight in the hotel.
Day 16. Departure from Dushanbe.
Accompanying service at departure to airport. Departure from Dushanbe.