Vladimir Ippolitovich Lipskiy
At the end of the 19th century, the Russian botanist
Vladimir Ippolitovich Lipskiy (1863-1937) travelled extensively in the Pamirs and published
the results of his work there in Mountain Bukhara - results of journeys over
three years in Central Asia in 1896, 1897 and 1899), St. Petersburg, 1902. He was an
avid photographer and left one of the earliest photographic records of the Pamirs.
A selection of his photos follows.
Inhabitants of Inskan village in the the Yaghnob valley
Inhabitants of Novabad village in the Yaghnob valley
Mushketov glacier (Hissar range)
Shikai fortress on the Panj river in Afghan Darwaz
Fortress in Kala-i-Khumb
Bukhkaran troops in Kala-i-Khumb
End of the Sugran glacier (below Moscow Peak)
Grotto in the Sugran glacier
Willi Rickmer Rickmers:
The Austro-German Pamirs Expedition 1913 and the Soviet-German Alai-Pamir Expedition 1928
Willi Rickmer Rickmers, born in Bremerhaven in 1873
into a German family of ship-owners and ship-builders, was the last great non-Russian
explorer of the Pamirs. The expedition of the Austrian and German Alpine associations
that he led in 1913, and the Soviet-German expedition in 1928, of which he was joint
leader, uncovered some of the last remaining secrets of the remotest corners of the Pamirs.Rickmers' photo of Ismoil Somoni Peak
He made his first acquaintance with Turkestan on his travels to Samarkand
and Bukhara in 1894 and 1895. On his 3rd and 4th journeys in 1896 and 1898 he went
deeper into the mountains of Eastern Bukhara and, travelling through Dushanbe,
Baljuan and Khovaling, he reached the upper Yakhsu valley, where he started
commercial gold mining until he was stopped by an edict of the Tsar forbidding
foreigners to dig for gold. His journey of 1906, together with his intrepid
British wife Mabel, née Duff (his marriage to her was the "most brilliant idea
of my life"), brought him deep into the Fan mountains and on to the Zerafshan
glacier, where he made important contributions to glacier research. The journey
also brought him to Kala-i Khumb - the closest he had yet been to his long-standing
objective: the Pamirs.
Finally, in 1913, he travelled to the Pamirs as leader of an expedition
organised by the German and Austrian Alpine associations to explore the mountains
and passes on the southern slopes of the Garm valley, the upper Khingob valley,
the Garmo glacier and the mountain passes leading to Vanch and the Muksu. On this expedition
he took the first photograph of what is now known as Ismoil Somoni Peak.
At this time, Lenin Peak was still considered to be the highest mountain in the Pamirs. The peak
photographed by Rickmer-Rickmers was identified by him as Garmo Peak but was shown on the map
produced in 1914 by Raimund von Klebelsberg (another member of the expedition) as Sandal Peak.
Sandal is actually the highest peak seen from Ters-Agar and
the two were thought to be identical. When the error was discovered by the 1932 Soviet expedition
and the true positions and heights were determined, the higher of the two was renamed Stalin Peak. In
1962 Stalin Peak became Communism Peak and in 1998 Ismoil Somoni Peak. It was climbed for the first
time in 1933 by Yevgeny Abalakov.
In 1928 Rickmers was nominated as joint leader - with Nikolai Petrovich Gorbunov, Chief
of the Executive of the Soviet of People's Commissars - of a much larger Soviet-German
expedition - an unusual example of international collaboration by the Soviet
regime at a time of incipient paranoia under Stalin - sponsored by the 'Notgemeinschaft
der Deutschen Wissenschaft' ('German Society in Aid of Science') in Berlin and
the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences in Leningrad, with support from the German
and Austrian Alpine Associations.
The expedition's main task was to explore and map as large an area of
the unexplored heart of the Pamirs (then known as the Sel Tau) as possible.
In doing so, they were able to determine for the first time the exact length of
the Fedchenko Glacier and confirm that it was the longest mountain glacier in the world.
The photos below are from the report of the 1928 expedition by Gorbunov and Professor
D.I. Scherbakov, one of the geologists on the expedition.
Crossing the Kashal-Ayak pass into the Vanch valley
Kumoch-dara pass between the Bartang and Vanch valleys
Chairwoman of the rural Soviet in Vomar (1928)
Young woman from Barzud, Rushan (1928)
Vanch man with goitre (1928)
Young woman in Yazgulam (1928)
USSR in Construction
USSR in Construction was a propaganda journal
published in the Soviet Union from 1930 to 1941 in Russian, French, English,
German and Spanish portraying the emergence of the Soviet Union
as a major industrial power. It featured the work of some of the leading
Soviet writers, photographers and graphic designers of the period.
(Left) Unloading in Murghab - (Right) On the Pamir Highway
The photos below are typical of the idealisation of peasant life in the Pamirs
and the glories of socialism under the Soviet Union.
Darmorakh - (left) "Saodat Khushkadamov, a young Pioneer, protects the crops from birds"
Flying over the Pamirs
Airport at Stalinabad (Dushanbe)
Arrival at Khorog airport
Pilot Kirilov with his plane at Khorog airport
"Nassulabek Rahimbekov, collective farmer from Nischust village" (Shughnan) ca. 1930
"V. Filipov with his tractor" (working on the Pamir Highway)
The first trucks in the Pamirs at the Murghab base
With thanks to Markus Hauser