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

  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.

21 September 2018
"What is going on in the Pamirs?" - visit by President Rahmon - see here.

August 2018
Terrorist attack on cyclists in Danghara on the road to Kulob - see here. Please check your embassy website for travel advisory.

June 2018
Tajikistan's e-visa system explained in easy steps (with some nice photos) - 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.)

May 2018
†In Memoriam Huw Thomas
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.

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.

25 November 2017
New cyclists in Khorog today - see here.

15 October 2017
Paul Salopek, the famous National Geographic journalist is on his "Out of Eden Walk" around the world. Finally he reached the Pamirs and met PECTA female guides Furough and Safina - Paul says they are his first female guides on the walk. See here and here.

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

19 December 2016

8 December 2016
"Kommunizm" - see here.

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

16 November 2016
It seems that the Odyssey Guidebook Tajikistan and the High Pamirs is not easy to find in bookstores. I suggest you try The Book Depository here, or Amazon here or 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
Christoph Baumer is working on a 4-volume History of Central Asia. Three well-researched and lavishly illustrated volumes have been published so far by IB Tauris, London - see here. In vol. 4, currently under preparation, the Pamirs are strongly featured in the context of the Great Game.

8 August 2016
New edition of Markus Hauser's map of the Pamirs just published - for availability watch the site here.

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

2 July 2016
GEO publishes article on the Pamirs - see here.

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

9 May 2016
Currently the Tajik-Afghan cross border markets in Ruzvai (Darvaz), Khorog, and Ishkashim are closed. There is no official information when the bazaars will take place again.

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.

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.