pamirs mountains Robert Middleton pik engels karl marx

POMIR, feet of the sun,
Man and mountain and river are one.
Through pride in the land and pride in the earth
The people now celebrate a rebirth.
To give is to love, to love is to give;
To sing is to breathe, to dance is to live.
The feet caress the earth below,
Drawing the strength, releasing the flow.
The hands reach up to the sky above,
Catching the beauty, expressing the love.
Freshness and innocence, tenderness, grace -
In this Garden of Eden my soul's found its place.
Earth, fire, water and air:
The fire's in my heart, the water's a tear

click on picture to enlarge (photo by Bradley Mayhew)


This website is dedicated to the children and other people of the Pamirs, a region they know as POMIR - "the roof of the world", although some claim that POMIR means "feet of the sun". The Pamirs are one of the last "undiscovered" tourist destinations.

This mountainous area, a large part of which is located in Gorno-Badakhshan in Tajikistan, is one of the most inaccessible in the world. A former British Ambassador to Tajikistan described the fascination and beauty of the region as "one of the world's best kept secrets". The website is sponsored as a non-profit activity by a few lovers of the region who want to share this "secret" with others who are in search of an unusual and challenging experience. In doing so, a supplementary goal is to bring additional revenue to the remarkable inhabitants of POMIR, among the poorest in the world, by encouraging travellers to go there.

The aim is not to replace the many useful existing websites and other sources containing information on Tajikistan and the Pamirs but to bring together in one place as much as possible of what today's explorer needs or would like to know before setting out on the adventure that is POMIR: accurate and helpful information on "getting there" and "getting around" together with description and pictures of some of the features of the region, not least its unforgettable children and other people

When visiting the Pamirs, bear in mind that you are enjoying a tradition of hospitality that has existed since time immemorial. While there are now a large number of "official" homestays, you can be certain of finding a place to stay in every house and in every village in the Pamirs - you may, however, find it very difficult to pay your hosts for their hospitality, but be sure to do so, even if it means hiding a few bank notes under your breakfast plate when you leave. In this way you are making an investment in the well-being of these wonderful people and in the future of their children.

Your feedback on the contents and intent of this website is welcome. If you would like to comment or ask a question please send a message by clicking
. N.B. Because of spam, this contact address is frequently changed, so even if you have used it before and saved the address, please click again to be sure your mail gets through.

Don't forget to have a look at the advertisements by clicking on the icon at the top left of this page or
. This free service is offered to small businesses and local communities in the Pamirs to enable them to inform tourists about their tourism initiatives.


pomir poem tajik



Many thanks to Misha Romanyuk for the design of the website and to Alexander Goutkin for putting the panoramas together.

All text and photographs (c) Robert Middleton 2002

  May 2021
In Memoriam Huw Thomas †May 2018:
Huw was co-author of the Odyssey guide Tajikistan and the High Pamirs. He explored the remotest corners of the country and followed with enthusiasm every clue to an interesting piece of history or anecdote. He was never distressed by difficulties on and off the road and maintained throughout his sense of humour. His monument is not only the Odyssey guide but also the superb continuing work of the Aga Khan Health Services in the Pamirs in which he played a major part.

I have handed over the continuation of this website to my friends at PamirLink, led by Roman Droux. See here.

I was invited to Khorog in July 2019 to make a presentation in the new Ismaili centre in recognition of the donation of my library and research papers to the University of Central Asia. This was my own farewell - see here and here.

In another form of farewell, UCA recently published two of my research papers. See here and here.

14 July 2020
‘Two Poets and a River’: Worlds of love in the Wakhan Valley - Filmmaker and ethnomusicologist Richard Wolf explores the meaning of a river between countries - see here.

23 June 2020
The University of Central Asia has just published an excellent study of the Pamiri house, by Shahlo Nekushoeva - see here.

11 March 2020
The excellent website Caravanistan publishes much useful practical information on travel to and in the Pamirs. Their blog on the Kulma pass contains some up-to-date information on this important crossing point. See here.

10 March 2020
Claude Marthaler's 10th book, Voyages sellestes, just came out (éditions Glénat, 2020). Its central theme is mountain cycling and comprises 3 chapters: the Pamirs (Kyrgyzstan,Tajikistan, Afghanistan, pp.23-116), Eastern Tibet and the Rocky Mountains. See Cycling page and here.

10 March 2020
Claude Marthaler's 10th book, Voyages sellestes, just came out (éditions Glénat, 2020). Its central theme is mountain cycling and comprises 3 chapters: the Pamirs (Kyrgyzstan,Tajikistan, Afghanistan, pp.23-116), Eastern Tibet and the Rocky Mountains. See Cycling page and here.

3 March 2020
Coronavirus - Without explanation, Tajikistan reduces the list of countries to which entry restrictions apply: China, Iran, South Korea, Afghanistan and Italy. Check nevertheless with your Foreign Ministry before travelling. See here.

February 2020
Coronavirus - Tajikistan declares restrictions on the entry of citizens of the following countries: China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, Finland, Italy, Britain, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Israel, Austria, Croatia, Switzerland, USA, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Afghanistan, Iraq and Algeria. The list appears totally arbitrary as far as European countries are concerned - it also makes no distinction bewteen nationality and origin of the flight. Contact your Foreign Ministry to protest or for more information. See here.

February 2020
Tajikistan increases length of foreign tourist visas. See here.

October 2019
Asia-Plus reports that China will help complete the road from Dushanbe to Kulma. See here.

October 2019
The Russian web portal has designated the Pamir Highway as one of the most beautiful roads in the world. See here and here.

October 2019
Article with fine photos of wildlife in the Pamirs here.

August 2019
Enjoy the many new restaurants in Khorog. For genuine Kyrgyz cuisine (and other specialities) try Café Jamantal on the second floor opposite the bus station - next to McDolands, yes, McDolands.

1 June 2019
New travel company in Khorog: Qumriya Vafodorova and Rashidbek Zarifbekov, among the first graduates of the Mountain tour operating and guide courses of the University of Central Asia, have recently formed the Pamir Eco Travel Company. Please encourage this local start-up. See here.

4 March 2019
Yodgor Faizov is formally appointed Governor of GBAO. A press report states "Chairman of GBAO Yodgor Fayzov, should be an example for all Tajik officials! .... the people respect and love him, which cannot be said about other officials." See here.

1 February 2019
New study by Martin Saxer (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich) "tries to make sense of the paradox of Chinese presence and absence in the Tajik Pamirs." See here.

15 January 2019
An essential addition to travel guides on Tajikistan: Cicerone have just published "Trekking in Tajikistan - the Northern ranges, Pamirs and Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor" by Jan Bakker and Christine Oriol. See here and here.

15 January 2019
Tajik Air ceases operations, please ignore all references on Travel page. See here.

10 October 2018
Congratulations and best wishes to Yodgor Faizov for his courage and devotion to GBAO in taking on the leadership of the government of GBAO. See here.

3 October 2018
New Section "The Great Game" - see here.

June 2018
Christine Oriol is active again this year with a mountaineering camp for the 5 women already trained, who need more specifically knowledge and practice on glacier crossing. And she wants to try something new: a wilderness camp for 11 teenage girls from Khorog: to bring them in the mountains and make them like the outdoors! Crowdfunding is set up - Please help this great project. (See here.)

7 March 2018
"The Ultimate Guide to the Wakhan Valley in Tajikistan" by Nicole Smoot: contains all you need to know for travelling (and trekking) in the Tajik Wakhan - From-Christine-Oriol .

7 March 2018
Pamirs voted one of the world’s top 10 sustainable destinations at ITB travel show in Berlin - see here.

20 December 2017
Roof of the World Regatta - kite surfing on Lake Karakul! - see here.

12 May 2017
"Belt and Road initiative" promises development of Chinese Pamirs - see here and here.

19 November 2016 / 2 March 2017
Important news on flights Dushanbe-Khorog - see here and here.

15 November 2016
Excellent women's programme for training female tour guides - see here.

15 November 2016
Suggested itineraries in the Pamirs for tour operators - See here

13 September 2016

12 July 2016
Stunning English edition of the brochure "Mit Yak und Pak" - download here.

20 June 2016
Paragliding - a new activity in the Pamirs? Spectacular but high risk - see here, here, and here - great musical accompaniment.

18 April 2016
Access to Lake Sarez - see here and here.

3 April 2016
Berlin seminar 20-24 April 2016 "Pamirs at the Crossroads - Changing challenges and perspectives" - Contribution Education and Mobility - a historical perspective - see here.

27 January 2016
Springer publishes new case studies on development in the Pamirs - see here, here and here.

27 January 2016
New eco-tourism company set up in Khorog - see here.

24 January 2016
World Tourism Organisation ranks Tajikistan second fastest-growing tourist destination in 2015 - see here.

25 December 2015
I highly recommend Hermann Kreutzmann's Pamirian Crossroads, just published by Harrasowitz. It is a magisterial and opulently illustrated historical survey of the life of the Wakhi and Kyrgyz population in the marginal borderlands of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and Tajikistan, the result of more than three decades of commitment by Hermann to the scientific study of the Pamirs - see here.

27 November 2015
Swiss TV shows Claude Marthaler's cycling trip this summer in the Pamirs - great camera work by Alexandre Lachavanne - see here.

23 November 2015
Tajikistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan envisage new roads Khunjerab-Kalasu-Murghab, Chitral-Ishkashim-Dushanbe and Wakhan - could provide major opportunities for tourism in the Pamirs - see here and here.

1 August 2015
French TV Programme "Routes de l'Impossible" features Pamir Highway - see here.

1 July 2015
Lake Sarez now accessible for visitors- see here.

13 January 2015
Nicolas Pernot has just published a beautiful collection of photos "Tajikistan - Peoples and Landscapes" - that captures perfectly daily life and the joie de vivre of the people of the Pamirs - see here and here. Copies can be ordered here (ISBN 978-2-9546414-1-6) or at the Noor Art Gallery in Dushanbe.

13 January 2015
Dima Melnichkov has just published an updated version of his superb guidebook "Travel through Tajikistan" - packed with practical information, it will fit easily into your rucksack - see here. Copies can be ordered here or at the Noor Art Gallery in Dushanbe.

18 December 2014
BBC Travel features Pamir Highway - see here.

29 September 2013
The remote and unspoilt village of Ravmed in the Bartang valley is now accessible by vehicle. Previously, the 18km from Khejez on the banks of the Bartang (between Bhagoo and Rasuj) could only be covered on foot or by donkey. Enjoy the spontaneous hospitality of the wonderful people there. See Trek No. 3 under Central Pamir on the Trekking page and photos here.

16 December 2012
Yuri Khubonshoyev, pioneer of the Aga Khan Foundation's programme in the Pamirs - See here.

December 2011
Official Tajik Tourism Committee confirms that double-entry visas (essential if you plan to travel from Tajikistan to Afghanistan and back) can be obtained at Dushanbe airport.