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Tajikistan: Langar petroglyphs

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Langar petroglyphs | Tajikistan | Asia

[Visited: June 2010]

Before driving north, away from the border of Afghanistan, we had yet another early rise to climb to the petroglyphs of Langar after breakfast. According to our driver, it would only take us ten minutes, but based on the information I had, that seemed impossible from the very start as the petroglyphs are found some 500 metres above the valley. A boy from the household accompanied us, and was joined by one of his young friends in the village. The weather was marvellous, and the views around us were as splendid as they had been for days now. Still in the village, our trail started to go up, and would continue to do so until the very end. Sometimes pretty steep, sometimes a little less, we worked our way straight up the mountain without a clue where our goal of that morning lay. We could not see anything up the mountain, so we just continued hiking up.

Picture of Langar petroglyphs (Tajikistan): Man on a horse depicted in a petroglyph

After around 45 minutes, we had reached the first petroglyphs. Animals with horns inspired enthusiasm in us - but we did not know what to think about the Russian names also engraved in the rocks. In fact, the more we looked, the more we started to doubt. Which petroglyphs were new, which ones were actually really old? There also seemed to be fake old animals, which looked different from the real old ones. Certainly, the area was nice to walk in, the rocks were beautifully shaped in themselves, and the views from this altitude over the Wakhan valley were, again, unsurpassable. Some of the old-looking petroglyphs with long-horned animals, horsemen, and other human and animal figures carved out of the surface of the rocks, were beautiful to see. But most of the petroglyph sites were messy, with a lot of apparently new figures and names engraved in the rocks. A pity that this area is not better protected. In any case, the site offered awesome views over the Wakhan valley, the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan, and the band of green meandering through the valley.

Picture of Langar petroglyphs (Tajikistan): Looking up a rock with petroglyphs

From here, our next stop would be Abrashim Qala, which, I calculated, should not be higher than where we were. It seemed like a good idea to try and walk across the mountains straight to the fortress, instead of going down and climbing up again on the other side of the mountain. But of course we did not know for sure if this was possible, and how far it would be. Unfortunately, the boys did not understand us, so our plan was doomed, and we had to go down again. The petroglyph expedition had brought us great views, some interesting figures on a rock, and a good early morning workout.

Picture of Langar petroglyphs (Tajikistan): View from a rock with petroglyphs, Wakhan valley in the background
Picture of Langar petroglyphs (Tajikistan): Animal with very long horns in a petroglyph
Picture of Langar petroglyphs (Tajikistan): Petroglyphs on rocks
Picture of Langar petroglyphs (Tajikistan): Long-horned animal depicted on a petroglyph
Picture of Langar petroglyphs (Tajikistan): Petroglyph of horseman
Picture of Langar petroglyphs (Tajikistan): Petroglyphs in a brown rocky surface
Picture of Langar petroglyphs (Tajikistan): Mountain slope, the petroglyphs can be found a little higher up

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