We at YPT often pride ourselves on taking the road less travelled, but it would be rank dishonesty to claim this of the Pamir Highway – a historic trans-Pamir road that’s been in use, one way or another, for millennia.
A crucial link along the historic Silk Road that united East and West over a shared love of money, silk, and more money, the Pamir Highway is a route steeped in history both ancient and modern.
Which countries does the Pamir Highway go through?
A great many of the nations collectively known as the “‘Stans”: Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, in that order. Though there is debate as to where the Highway starts (there is a strong argument for Mazar-e Sharif in Afghanistan), the general consensus is that it terminates at Osh, Kyrgyzstan.
How old is the Pamir Highway?
There isn’t really a straightforward answer to this one, as the Pamir Highway eludes definitive classification as much as the Silk Road it served. Though in use for millennia, the actual ‘highway’ part of the Highway was partially constructed during the Great Game (a proxy conflict between the Russian and British empires) and was finished by the USSR in the 1930s.
What is there to see along the Pamir Highway?
This being a highway partially constructed by the Soviets, there is naturally a Lenin statue along the route. The Highway also threads between the Pamir (duh) and Hindu Kush ranges, so expect plenty of stunning vistas right outside your car window. You’ll also pass plenty of other gorgeous natural features, from Karakul Lake to Ak-Baital Pass – the highest section of road in the former USSR.
There’s also plenty of Great Game history along the Highway too – fortresses that were manned by British and Russian proxies are dotted along the route, as well as the place where the two great powers finally signed a peace treaty and ended their Central Asian intrigues (well, for the most part).
A true highlight, however, is peeking across the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border for a look at how the two countries compare!
All right, I’m sold. How do I get to see the Pamir Highway for myself?
You’re in luck, dear reader – we just so happen to offer a comprehensive Pamir Highway tour that goes all the way from Kasghar, China to Dushanbe, Tajikistan! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and sign up today!