+992 935 157 149 info@explorepamir.com

Yagnob Valley

Yagnob Valley begins approximately 105km north of Tajikistan’s capital. Just before the 3,372m Anzob Pass, and is about 60km long.  Yagnob River flows down parallel to Zarafshon River and separates the Zarafshan range from the Hissar range. The upper part of the valley is famous for its alpine and sub-alpine meadows.

Halfway along the river, where the valley is relatively wide and open, at an altitude of 2–3,000m, there are small villages populated by Yaghnobi – a distinct group of the Tajiks, direct descendants of the Sughdi (Sogdians). Their language is one of the little-studied dialects of the ancient Sughdi (Sogdian) language. Which was used by the ancestors of the present-day Tajiks until the Arab conquest of Central Asia in the 7-8th centuries.

Nowadays, the Yaghnobi communicate in two languages – their own, which belongs to the East-Iranian group of languages, and Tajik. Most Tajiks do not understand the Yaghnobi language. What is noteworthy is that the “keepers” of this rare language are women. Because they prefer to use their native language for communication. Unlike the men who tend to use Tajik. In late 1960s residents of Yaghnob were resettled to other valleys. In order to help with cotton-growing. Only after the break-up of the Soviet Union were the Yaghnobi able to begin returning to their native home for permanent residence.

Traditional houses in the villages (there are more than 30 of them in the valley) are built out of stone and are composed of numerous living and household rooms, frequently combined under one roof, where fuel and fodder are also kept. Carved beams support the ceiling and there are niches in the walls for household effects. Furnaces and fireplaces are a mandatory aspect of all such homes.

Despite the fact that the Yaghnobi are now Muslim. They preserved some pre-Islamic principles related to ancient pagan concepts and Zoroastrianism (fire-worship). Thus, even now it is forbidden in Yagnob to extinguish candles by blowing them out; many festivities are accompanied by jumping over fires.

Yagnob Valley is of great interest not only to ethnographers, historians or philologists. Also for trekkers, mountaineers and rock climbers. The well-known Yaghnob cliff ZaminQaror (Quiet Land) is situated there. ZaminQaror stretches 8km from north to south and has several separate peaks which stand far apart. The highest of them, situated in the eastern part, is 4,767m. Eastern part of the ZaminQaror massif has significant glaciation, while the western is completely rocky. The gradient of the northern cliffs ranges from 60 degrees to a vertical slope. The southern slopes are very smooth and relatively flat.

Yagnob Valley