Pamiri Culture


Pamir is like another entity Tajikistan, Pamirians have their own culture, national music, and even language. The Pamiri people also known as the Pamirian or Mountain Tajiks comprise seven ethnic groups of Tajikistan in formerly Soviet Central Asia such as Shughni, Rushans, Wakhi, Ishkoshimi, Yazgulami, and some others populating a vast mountainous area in eastern Tajikistan. 

The Pamiri people have a rich oral tradition, including stories, proverbs, and poems passed down from generation to generation. They have a strong connection to the land and their communities and place a high value on hospitality and respect for elders.

Despite the Pamiri people’s rich cultural heritage, they have faced challenges in recent decades, including political and economic instability in the region, limited access to education and job opportunities, and language marginalization. Efforts are underway to preserve and promote the Pamiri culture and language, and to improve the living conditions of the Pamiri people.

History of Pamir

The history of Pamir is closely link to the history of the Tajiks of Afghanistan and Tajikistan with some unique features. There is a belief that the Pamiris are descendants of Alexander the Great from his 4th century bc invasions into the remote and inaccessible Pamir mountain valleys. Pamiris have compelling European features for people living in that remote areas of Central Asia. 

In 1904 Russia had annexed the Pamiri lands from the Emir of Bukhara. After three years of continuous struggle, the Pamiri lands were brought under Soviet rule and in 1925 appointed the Special Pamir Province. And a few months later, the Pamir area was given a new label as a the Mountainous Badakhshan Autonomous Province which was later part to the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic, created in 1929. From 1992 to 1997, independent Tajikistan was wracked by civil war. From the late 1990s till today Pamir have benefited from international aid.

Culture of Pamiri people

Pamiri Language

In Tajik Badakhshan, Ismailism plays a vital role in uniting the population of this area, who speak a variety of different languages, amongst which languages of the Eastern Iranian Pamir language group stand out. The languages of the Shughni-Rushani group, alongside Wakhi, are the most widely spoken Pamir languages of this area. Persian in its Tajik form (Tajik Persian) is the first language of some of the Badakhshanis, and a second language for most of them, as it is the official language of Tajikistan, the language of education and the lingua franca of old. And as part of Soviet heritage Russian is widely spoken. Moreover, as a result of the present economic situation, which has led to a steady increase of Badakhshani migrant workers in Russia today.


Although Central Asian Muslims are predominantly followers of Sunni Islam, Pamirians are a community of Ismaili Shiite Muslims. The Central Asian Ismailis, Pamiri or Badakhshani, belong to the Nizari branch of Ismailism and thus are followers of the Agha Khan, the 49th Nizari Imam.

Pamiri House

Traditional Pamiri houses are entirely unique style houses called “Chid” layered angled square roots. This profoundly symbolic exclusive design dates back more than 2,500 years. Though the symbolism of each architectural feature would initially have been filled with embodies elements of ancient Aryan philosophy mainly Zoroastrianism. Although they are now more associated with elements of Ismaili Islam. The house is the symbol of the universe and also the place of private prayer and worships for the Pamiri Ismaili people. Chad houses serve as a mosque in Pamir, where they live, pray, give birth, and grow their kids. 

The Pamiri houses were built of stones and plaster, with a flat roof on which they dry hay, apricots, mulberries, and other fruits. The structure of the house resembles a big square room lit by a skylight comprised of four concentric wooden squares: each square represents an element with the highest square (the one first touched by the rays of the morning sun) is associated with fire. Wooden rays keep the ceiling. 

Pamiri Ceremonies

Pamiri Holidays

One of the major holidays Pamirians celebrate is te Novruz, vernal equinox. Novruz holiday mark March 21st, the beginning of the Persian new year. Simlarly to the the other Central Asian countriess Novruz is celebrated with music, dances, and a great deal of feasting. People typically wear very colorful clothes on this day, or new clothes if they have them. The foods served contain the first vegetables or greens, as “First Furrow” marks the beginning of the planting season. People address the saint of farming, known as Bobo-m-Dekhtona (“Grandpa Farmer”). A public feast is held, and people celebrate the origins of irrigation. Another public holiday marks the time in early summer when women take flocks out to be pastured.

Music and Dance

Music and dance in the Pamirs are inseparably linked with Ismaili Islam. The performance of both vocal and instrumental genres is intended as an act of tenderness, and many songs are linked with specific rituals or prayers. A strong singing voice is prized, and both men and women will sing solo or as part of a group. Melancholic songs in minor keys describe feelings of separation and loss, while the Persian ghazal genre explores the highs and lows of being in love.

Pamiri music, which is characterized by the use of traditional instruments like the rubab (lute) and daf (frame drum), is an important part of their cultural heritage and is performed at weddings, festivals, and other celebrations. The traditional Pamiri architectural style, which includes the use of mud and stone to construct homes, is also unique to the region.

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