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 The Fourth Pamir Route. Great Pamir Route.


  As it was already mentioned the Fourth route has three branches. They are :
1.Vakhan branch:"Kukhilal-Vrang-Ishkashim-Langar-Vakhandaria river valley (Afghanistan)-Tashkurgan (China)".
2.Shugnan branch:"Barpandgia-Khorog-Murgab-Tashkurgan".
3.Kharateghin-Pamir branch: "Darband-Tavildara-Kalaikhumb-Kalai Rohar (Vanch)-Yazgul-Kalai Vomar (Rushan)-Barpanddgia".

Pamir and Badakhshan occupy almost half the territory of modern Tajikistan-63, 7 thousand meters'2. Surrounded by the continuously mountain range Pamir is one of the highest mountain areas in the world, with the absolute points: 1800-7425 meters. The settlements of Badakhshan, wthat are situated along the bank of the river and they form a large patriarchal family. The structure of life was developed for centuries and made peculiar traditions and way of life, based on the agriculture and stock breeding and helped mountaineer-dwellers to adapt on the high points, such as 1800-4000 meters. They had worked out the original type of high mountain dwelling, consisting of the joint complex that included both houses and the space for the farm equipment with a large hall with five columns in the middle, the leveled ceiling (chorkhona) and the hatch for light and smoke (rauzan) in it. Theindo-arian tribes brought this type of dweling houses to Central Asia and there are the analogies of such constructions in the ancient architecture of the largest area from the Mediterranean to China.Along the Karateghin-Pamir branch the small fortresses were situated in the middle of the existed principalities: Kalaikhum, Kalai Rokhar (Vanch), Kalai Vomar (Rushan), Kalai Barpandgia (Shugnan), Kalai Pandge (Vakhan). The group of monuments is situated on the main Vakhan route. This group is related to the trade on the Great Silk Route. In the 47 kilometers from Khorog there is the settlement Kukhilal and the 
 mountain with the same name. This is the largest deposit of the well-known Badakhshan "lal"or noble spinel. It is mentioned in the Khudud-al-Alam (982), in the al Biruni's book "Minearology" and in the Marko Polo's book (XIII century), who wrote that the local folk
"Dig the Shigkhinan Mountain and mine there balashi (rubies) on the royal's order". There have been found more than 500 ancient workings of VII-XI-th centuries.
In the 100 km from Khorog and in 1,5 km from Ishkashim on the bank of the river Piandge functioned pier-crossing with the well fortified caravan-sarai Dorkisht near it from VI-th century to the XII-th century. The road led from that place to Faizabad (Afghan Badakhshan). In the 13 km from Ishkashim near the Namatguti poen settlement one of the most ancient fortresses of the west Pamir - Kaahka (III century A.D.) It is built on the rock amidst the valley and has 675 m length and 200 m wide. The sound doodle walls made of stone and blocks are fortified by 56 square and round towers with the slits. Several palaces are situated on the height northwest corner of the citadel. Near the river on the fortified by the tower territory there used to be the bridge through the narrow Piandge riverbed. As the orientologist I. Steblin-Kaminskii conciders, the origin of the settlement name "Namatgut" is the sanscrit word "namatgata"-"the sacred place". There is the holy place for all ismailits -mazar Sokhi Mardon Khazrati Ali. It probably can have the fore Islamic origin.
The other bog fortress is situated in the 75 km from the Kaahka over the Yamchun settlement. It is called "Zamri otashparast"(the fire worshipers castle).The fortress is 900 m long and400 m wide and is situated on the almost impassable spell of the stony slope. It is separated from the surroundings by the two deep river canions. The three levels of the double walls with 40 towers surround the fortress, and the citadel situated on the high -leveled part and impresses one greatly because of its immense size. Famous Central Asia researcher A. Stein said that these
 two fortresses "are the best samples of central Asian fortificated school, in its mountainous variant".Not only trade caravans and military units, but also pilgrims and missioners used the roads of the Great Silk Route, and that allows calling it the "road of ideology". Archeologic researches witness the bright character of the fore Islamic religions of badakhshans, who worshipped fire and sun and preached the religion of their forefathers and also worshipped Buddha (badakshan variant of Buddhism). Over the Vrang settlement, on the slope churned up with the artificial caves, the Buddhist religious complex was excavated.
 It belongs to the IV-VIII centuries and consists of three-leveled construction, which rises above the yard, surrounded by the high wall with the towers. Along the yard the temple rooms were built. The traveler Suan Zian wrote about the things he had seen there, and it is almost impossible to consider the Buddhist inscription, that was found in Pamir and decoded as "Win Naraiyana". The largest part of Badakshan population professed ancient Iran religions connected with the sun and fire worshipping. In the Zong settlement the small fire temple was excavated. It consisted of small cross like dwelling, at the three edges of the cross the sufs were situated and the in the forth edge the fireplace stood with the rectangular box for the sacred ashes.

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