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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
here
. 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
here
. 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


THE PAMIRS: CLOSE TO HEAVEN - GET THERE BEFORE THE TOURISTS COME

 

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

  1 August 2015
The Government of Tajikistan has declared a state of emergency in GBAO following flooding. Embassies advise against all but essential travel to the GBAO region and note that the government may prohibit access to GBAO, even to those with valid permits. However, the southern route via Kulob is now open and there are no reports of tourists being turned back. The road Khorog-Murghab along the Ghund valley is reportedly closed, although the longer (unpaved) route via Shokhdara to the Koi-tezek pass is open for essential traffic - see here and here.

1 August 2015
German TV airs film on the Pamirs, promoting the region as an attractive new tourist destination - see 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.

1 June 2015
Info on At-Chabysh Horse Festival in Murghab - see here.

1 June 2015
The Khorog tourism information office has moved temporarily to a new location in the Khorog Park - see here.

20 May 2015
There is some uncertainty at present about obtaining the GBAO permit in Dushanbe because of alleged border insecurity. However, most consulates abroad are still issuing them. For the time being, get your permit in advance at your local consulate.

24 April 2015
New book: "With our own hands – Food and life in the Pamir mountains" - Through the lens of 100 local recipes, with illustrations by three award-winning photographers, it describes Pamiri food and its origins, people’s daily lives, their struggles and celebrations. See here.

3 March 2015
For German speakers, please see the new brochure "Mit Yak und Pack durch den Pamir. Unterwegs in Tadschikistan" here.

1 March 2015
See interesting new crowdfunding initiative by Bryan Sebastian for a non-profit promotional film on the Pamirs here.

27 January 2015
I have just put together a short anthology of my favourite pieces of travel writing about the Pamirs that I have called Nuggets. You can download it here. I welcome comments and suggestions for other items to include - use the link on this page.

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.

11 December 2014
Bartang and Tajik Wakhan designated among 2014 Global Top 100 Sustainable Destinations - see here and here.


2 November 2014
Useful updates to Odyssey book by Huw Thomas - see here.

4 September 2014
New terminal at Dushanbe airport finally offers improvement in chaotic conditions there - see here.

26 July 2014
Superb 78 min. film on Afghan Wakhan by Cédric Houin - see trailer and order here.

18 July 2014
Latest info re access to Afghan Wakhan:
- the Ishkashim checkpost is open
- the Afghan consulate is still operating in Khorog, visas are available either in 15 min ($100) or in 3 days ($60).


3 June 2014
According to Tajik Consulate in UK, tourist visa application no longer needs letter of invitation - see here.

24 May 2014
Jan Bakker has just completed a comprehensive and well-illustrated guidebook Trekking in Tajikistan that will be of great help to all trekkers. It includes a trek in the Afghan Wakhan Corridor. Copies can be ordered on Jan's website: here.

3 April 2014
Wakhan designated by Afghanistan as a National Park - see here and here.

29 October 2013
Tajik NGO publishes critical report on 2012 government military operation in GBAO - see here and 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.

29 September 2013
Road improvements under way between Shurobod and Darwaz - also new bridges being built over dangerous rivers normally in flood in early summer - should reduce considerably driving time Dushanbe-Khorog.

4 September 2013
Former hunters set up local nature conservancies - see here.

4 August 2013
Another scam by Tajik border guards - when going through the Kara Kul checkpoint on your way out of the Pamirs to Osh be careful to get back your immigration/landing card from the border guards. Otherwise, it has been reported, their colleagues at the exit checkpoint at Kyzylart will impose a heavy fine because you don't have it.

31 July 2013
Kulma pass from Murghab to China is NOT open for tourists - see here.

15 July 2013
Afghanistan Analysts Network publishes fascinating article on the Ismaili community in the Wakhan. See here.

22 June 2013
The Pamirs recognised by UNESCO as a "World Heritage Site"- see here, here and here.

30 May 2013
"Sustainable Livelihoods in a Fragile Environment" - Paper presented to the Shanghai Forum 25 May 2013 - see here.

30 May 2013
"The Tajik Pamirs: historical connections to China" - Paper presented to the University of Fudan, Shanghai 24 May 2013 - see here.

30 May 2013
History of the Sumantash Stone - see here.

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

September 2012
For a summary of events during the unrest in Khorog in July-August 2012 see here and here.

March 2012
University of Central Asia publishes English-language selection of "Legends of 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.

August 2011
Second edition of Odyssey guidebook TAJIKISTAN AND THE HIGH PAMIRS available from September 2011 - see here


November 2010
Itineraries in the Pamirs prepared for tour operators at WTM London in November 2010 - See here



 

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