New Catalogue in German 2016
             

             


                      


                     

Gorno-Badakhshan is perhaps one the few areas in Central Asia, where ancient ethnic and cultural customs of the Tajik people prevail. Over the years, communities were isolated from each other by impassable mountain ranges, and developed into separate enclaves with different dialects and sometimes distinct or different languages.    The root of the languages spoken are believed to have derived from Eastern Iran unlike that of Tajik which is of Western Iranian origin.   
Gorno-Badakhshan is perhaps one the few areas in Central Asia, where ancient ethnic and cultural customs of the Tajik people prevail. Over the years, communities were isolated from each other by impassable mountain ranges, and developed into separate enclaves with different dialects and sometimes distinct or different languages.    The root of the languages spoken are believed to have derived from Eastern Iran unlike that of Tajik which is of Western Iranian origin.  
 
The people of the North Western Pamirs have their own distinct culture and languages.   The Eastern Pamirs are chiefly inhabited by the indigenous Kyrghyzis some of whom still maintain their nomadic lifestyle and speak an Altaic language. Despite all these varieties of languages, the only official language of the country is Tajik although the Russian influence still prevails and Russian is widely used and spoken. 
 
A number of anthropological features set the Pamiris apart from the rest of Tajik people. Among the Pamiris, there is a percentage of people with blonde hair, fair skin and blue eyes.  Folklore suggests that the Pamiris descended from the remnants of the army of Alexander the Great. 
Badakhshani society leans towards an egalitarian attitude in family and gender relations, in contrast to other more conservative parts of Tajikistan.  Pamiri women  do not cover their faces, and share an equal part in community and family life. 
 
The traditional dress of the Pamiris is normally worn during national, religious and congregational functions.  Even here one can notice a wide range of cultural diversity. In every district in the Pamirs, traditional robes, head-gear and embroidery vary in colour, d?cor and forms. In Darwaz and Vanj, for example, old men wear long beards and a small turban and, sometimes wear square caps, traditionally worn by many Central Asian people. This is believed to be of Turkic or Uzbek origin. In Murghab, men among the Kyrghyz population wear a Qulpoq—a tall hat made of felt. By contrast, the Ismaili Pamiris wear colourful head-gear, Pamiri socks and woollen clothes and gowns. 
 
The cuisine of the Pamiris is simple. Most of its traditions were lost during Soviet modernisation, but a move is under way to reintroduce long-forgotten recipes and the use of ancient grains and ingredients.  Most recipes are based on flour,  milk and meat. Some examples of traditional food that survived the Soviet-era are kulcha – small, round, oiled flat-bread,  shirchoy - tea with milk and salt, sometimes, with walnuts, consumed with a piece of butter and plenty of bread, boj - porridge made of smashed wheat or barley grains cooked in oil and water, plov -  the ubiquitous Central Asian flavoured rice dish, osh and amoch, made of barley flour dumplings and khukhpa - dry balls of sour milk, shurbo - meat soup, kabab - fried meat (not to be confused with shashlik -barbeque meat) baat - sweetened flour porridge.  
 
Dwelling constructions vary in the region and the stricture, materials and styles reflect ethnic, economic, historic and climactic circumstances.   The traditional Pamiri house,  known as a chid,  is of enormous importance in terms of religion and philosophy.  The chid symbolizes the universe and is also used as a place of private prayer for Pamiri Ismaelis.  The homes are normally built of stones and plaster with a flat roof on which fruits and grass can be dried. More recently, these structures are topped with sloping, corrugated metal sheeting to protect against heavy winter snow-fall.  Local timber - poplar and willow -  is used for floors and roof frames. The structure and interior of the Pamiri house contains architectural symbols that embody a whole history and philosophy of ancient and medieval tradition. Almost every element of this seemingly simple construction is imbued with religious and philosophical meaning.   
  
The oldest and  most widely celebrated holiday, is Nawrooz (March 21 – 22).  This holiday heralds the start of the Persian New Year and is often preceded by a ritual cleaning of homes and neighbourhoods.   Other official holidays include Tajikistan’s Independence Day (September 9), New Year’s Day (Gregorian Calendar)  January 1. From the Russian Calendar remain:   International Women’s Day -  March 8,  International Labour Day - May 1, Victory Day - May 9. Almost treated like a holiday,  are Pamiri weddings, which include a large number of ceremonies and rites. Islamic religious days of significance are the holy month of Ramadan, (dates vary every year) which officially ends with a three day celebration of Eid-i-Ramadan and  Eid-i-Kurbon - the feast of sacrifice.