Culture & Heritage


Distribution of Wakhi Ethnic Group


The Wakhi ethnic group inhibit around the Pamir belt and distributed in four different countries. This include Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and China. The origin of Wakhi is said to be from Iran to Wakhan area of Afghanistan. The historical Wakhan region of Afghanistan gives identity and name for the language of this minority ethnic group. The historical Wakhan was situated between the ranges of the Pamir and Hindukush, 2,500--3,000 m above sea level. The Great Silk Road to China crossed it, caravans on their way to India and Persia passed through it, and Marco Polo also traveled here.


The Wakhs themselves call only the valley of the River Pyandzh, Wakhan, from the confluence of the Wakhandarya and the Pamir to the point where the Pyandzh bends sharply to the north, in the vicinity of Ishkashmi. The valley of the Wakhandarya is called Sarhadd. The right bank of the Wakhan belonged to the Ishkashmi district of the Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous province in Tajikistan. The left bank and Sarhadd belong to Afghanistan. The border runs along the River Pyandzh.


Today the Wakhies are living outside the historical Wakhan. Upto 1883 the Wakhies were having their own principality on the region however, when the central Government of Afghanistan occupied the region, the Wakhies migrated to surrounding areas. At that time  Syed Mardan Shah was the King of the region. He and hundreds of Wakhi than fled to Ishkoman valley of Northern Pakistan and get refugee there. Today, the Wakhs,  live on the upper reaches of the River Pyandzh, on both the right and the left bank. The settlements begin with the village (qishlaq) of Langar-Kishni, on the upper reaches of the river. The lower villages (Namadgut or Namadgat, Kozide) are located at the confluence of the Wakhandarya and the Pamir rivers. Wakhs also live in the district centre of Ishkashmi. About 50 families who have come from Afghanistan live in the Kuybyshev district in Tadzhikistan. The largest number of Wakhi now live in Northern Areas of Pakistan; North eastern most part of Chitral, called Baroghil area, Gojal in the upper Hunza valley from Gulmit to the Chinese and Afghanistan borders, and the Shimshal and Chupursan valleys, Upper Yarkhun valley of Chitral, and upper Ishkoman valley. In Afghanistan  spoken in east of Ishkashim, Pamir Mountains, in 64 villages on the left bank of the Panj River in the Wakhan Corridor, as far as Sarhad village (about 73E), Center is Khandud. In China m,anly settled in Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County (especially Daftar), and in the mountains south of Pishan, Xinjiang.In Tajikistan within Gorno-Badakhshan, Pamir Mountains.       Click for more details: Origin of Wakhies

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