In the town of Tashkurgan, home of the Tajik people in Xinjiang, bordering Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan, I met this boy in the old mountainous Pamir region. It is said that this town marks the middle way between Europe and China. The faces I saw there were unforgettable.
As children run wild, they carry with them the giggling essences of the land, rivers and mountains…
Tashkurgan, a gem of a city, surrounded by golden grasslands, snow capped Pamir mountains, streams, expansive skies and filled with friendly Tajik people who welcome a traveler with bright smiles as they always have when their city was a main stop on the old silk road. Drive 2 hours and you will be in Pakistan, Tashkurgan (literally stone fortress) was once the capital of the Sarikol Kingdom. Now Tashkurgan is part of China’s Xinjiang province and access to it is determined by permits and a military checkpoint about tow hours away on the Karakorum highway. I was very lucky to spend time with its children, to walk its streets and to breathe its fresh air.
Today was a very long drive along the Karakoram highway, all the way to Tashkorgan a mountain village near the Pakistani border, 3600 meters above sea level. The landscape along the way was breathtaking, with the occasional but sparse settlements of tiny Tajik and Kyrgyz villages along the way.
photo taken: shepherd in the grasslands of Tashkorgan near the Pakistani border