Photographer's Note

Silkroad travels: Wakhan valley
Another view from the Tajik side of the Panj river over into the Afghan Hindukush. People live here, you may notice the green lines of irrigation channels. A track hugs the foothills. The altitude is 2780 m.

I cite from a recent edition of Marco Polo’s "Le divisament dou monde" (1299), it’s english translation “The Travels”:
…”When the traveller leaves Badakshan he goes twelve day’s jorney east-north-east up a river valley…peopled by a warlike race who worship Mahomet. After these twelve days he reaches a country called Wakhan of no great size, for it is three day’s journey across every way. The people who worship Mahomet and speak a language of their own, are doughty warriors….They have wild beasts in plenty”…(note: elsewhere in the chapter are mentioned Ibex, Argali, and Hystrix).

I was struck by the description. Did Marco Polo really pass through the Wakhan valley to reach China? In Wikipedia it is recalled that there are doubts about his itinerary. To us cyclists the fascination of the Wakhan valley remains.

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Additional Photos by Dietrich Meyer (meyerd) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 106 W: 54 N: 651] (1628)
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