Alexander Fortress

Vrang Village

Wakhan Region


August 23, 2019

It seemed like we climbed more than thirty minutes on a rutted road to reach the summit of the hill that overlooks the ruins of the Alexander Fortress.

I’d like to believe that he was really here more than 2300 years ago.

The scenery hasn’t changed in two millennia:




August 24, 2019

“You must be very rich,” the visitors from Saudi Arabia remarked.  “You have rivers!”

So reported Bakhtiyar, my driver in Tajikistan who quoted his Saudi clients from last year.

Just today, on my own journey, I climb from the fertile valleys and stop at the Pamir River, one of the five rivers that flow into the Panj River, a major tributary of the Amu Darya (or Oxus River). 

I take lunch at the Koi-Tezek Pass4122m, 13,523ft, 2.56 miles high in the barren desert.

The Saudi visitors also had a special goal in Tajikistan.   They wanted to visit Bulunkul, the coldest village in the country.  

Alichur and Highway M41

Sher's House Inn

Alichur Village

Murghhob District (pop 1788)

Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province

Republic of Tajikistan

August 25, 2019


Alichur means “Ali's curse” and is reputed to have been spoken by the prophet's son-in-law Ali on a journey through the area, on account of the harsh climate and penetrating winds.  (Above the tree line at 3991m or 2.5 mi.)

Despite the climate and the wind, I wake up early in this tiny village and walk across the plateau.  I look forward to a cloudless sky and the morning sun as it illuminates the surrounding mountains.

Goodbye to Panj and Pamirs

Khorugh City

Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region

Republic of Tajikistan

August 27, 2019

Good-bye to the Panj River

The route of the Panj River is remarkable.  And invigorating.

Five tributaries crash down the mountains to join the Panj.  At 1125 km (699 miles) long, it forms the major border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. 

The Panj completes its rambunctious journey in Termez, Uzbekistan where it joins the Amu Darya, an important river in Central Asia.  In ancient times the Amu was called by its Latin name, the Oxus.