Bartang Valley Travel Guide

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Bartang Valley Travel Guide

Bartang valley (Бартанг) is situated in Rushan district of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO). It is one of the wildest places in the eastern part of Pamir region. There are three jamaats and  20 villages in the valley. 

What does Bartang mean?

The word "bartang" means 'narrow passage'. In fact, before the 20th century, there was no road to Bartang, and travel required fords, ladders and platforms set into the sides of cliffs. Now there is a road to Bartang valley which was built in Soviet Union time.

The people call themself as "bartangij". The "-ij" or "ninj" suffix in Bartang local language mean "someone who lives in a specific location". For example, Roshorvij, Sponjij, Barchidifninj. But "bartangi" it is also a common used word to define the people of Bartang, which is basically a tajik word. The language spoken in Bartang Valley is called "bartangi ziv", which is very close to Rushan and Shugnan language. 

How to get to Bartang Valley?

Before the 20th century, there was no road to Bartang, and travel required fords, ladders and platforms set into the sides of cliffs. The older people of the valley remind the pas of Bartang and saying that "Years back it was almost impossible to come to Bartang Valley; we had to swim from one side of the river to another side of the river, continued going up the mountains and down to the river. You had to be a strong man to get to Bartang.

Now there is a road to Bartang valley which was built in Soviet Union time and repaired during the independence days. The road to Bartang Valley seperates from the M41 road in Rushan district. Bartang road is still sometimes gets blocked due to the mudslide in winter time or increasing the level of the water during the hot summer days.

To get to Bartang Valley on your own, you need to get a shared taxi from Khorog town. which cost 10 USD. It is sometimes possible to find a shared taxi from Rushan also, but most of the time, the taxi drivers go to Khorog, cause it is the administrative center, and there is bigger market, to buy and sell goods. 

I would reccommend cycling Bartang in order to enjoy the scenery view of the Bartang villages. You would see the people and hospitality of the lovely people of Bartang. 

What to see in Bartang?

Bartang valley is known with its beautiful nature and hospitable people. Bartang was designated among 2014 Global Top 100 Sustainable Destinations. Below are the list of the top activities you should not miss to take in Bartang;

a) Visiting the sleeping dragon - the Lake Sarez

The Lake Sarez appeared by an earthquake, estimated at 7.4 on the Richter magnitude scale, on February 05-06, 1911. Sarez Lake is situated on the altitude of 3260 m above the sea level.  

b) Hiking to Labnazar peak

If you are in Roshorv, the Labnazar peak (5590 m) is the first thing which you will see. But I would like to reccommend to do the short hike to the foot of the Labnazar peak, which takes 1.5 hours. At  the foot of the peak you will see both the amazing view of the peak and and the entire view of the Roshorv village.  

c) Trekking in Bartang Valley

Bartang Valley is the best place in Pamirs for trekking and trekkers.  If you have some time, There are mainly three routes I would recommend to choose one:

i) Bardara village to Yashilkul lake trekking
ii) Bardara village to Bachor village (Ghund valley).
iii) Barchidif village to Yashilkul lake trekking 
iv) Barchidif village to Bachor village.

Options iii) and iv) cross the Sarez lake, which requires a Sarez permission. All of the tours cross through the lakes Chapdarkul Lake, and Uchkul lakes, which have very interesting sights. You will also meet shepherds around the lakes. 

d) Cycling Bartang 

The Bartang road starts from Rushan and connects to the Karakul Lake. For cyclist it is the amazing choice, but traveling with car it can be problematic in hot summer days above the Kudara village: the water washes the road sometimes and blocks the road.

e) Hospitality

You will feel the sincere hospitality of the Bartang people when you are there on your own. People invite you for tea, come in to their house and offer a place for you to stay. In Bartang we usually share one Pamiri house, but for guests we usually try to provide different room, called "mimonkhona", if possible.

Old woman giving food to a tourist. Bartang valley, Siponj village

Photo from Facebook: An old woman is giving food to the tourist passing by her house. Siponj village, Bartang Valley

 

Have you ever visited Bartang? If yes, share your experience in the comments below wink


Posted on: Dec. 1, 2020, 9:57 p.m. by Saidmamad

Related tags: #bartang valley #bartang


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