Thumb sm
Sarabdek 02
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
21 Nov 2014

Dust rises above the village. The Pamir Mountains are a snowless desert. For Europeans dust is associated with the scorching sweltering summer, cracked earth parched by the sun. Here it is dusty all the time until the first snow falls.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 03
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
21 Nov 2014

A calm afternoon in the village. Women sit in front of their houses. Here, houses are built with stones and clay mixed with straw. A roof is the most expensive part of a house as people need to import wood from Kirgizstan. During soviet times, it was not so expensive as it is now as it was imported from Siberia.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 01
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
20 Nov 2014

Sarabdek looks at his village. Roshorv is beautifully located village on a high mountain plateau. It is the biggest village in the Bartang Valley. 3 000 people live there in 165 houses. People came here 4 or 5 centuries ago from a village located below Yapshorv, which was slowly eroded away by the roaring Bartang River. Previously, there was only alpine pasture.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 12
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
18 Nov 2014

Catching a yak. A few wild yaks are brought from a distant Murghab. One was chosen to be culled for upcoming wedding party.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 13
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
18 Nov 2014

To kill a yak, men bind its legs, put it down, hold it and one of them cuts its throat.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 14
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
18 Nov 2014

Butchering the yak. As the custom, the neighbors receive a piece of meat, ready prepared and boiled.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 07
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
17 Nov 2014

Sarabdek grinds flour in the water mill. Villagers make flour by themselves. There are 10 water mills in the village. At each house, bread tastes different as everyone bakes it in their own way, some add some oil, others more salt. The price of a bag of flour in a Soviet time was 11 rubles, today it costs 180 Somoni (30 euros), which constitutes Sarabdek’s monthly pension.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 08
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
17 Nov 2014

A woman takes water from a spring. The water from the spring is used for drinking and cooking. For washing and cleaning, people take water from a system of irrigation channels around the village.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 9
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
17 Nov 2014

The girl looks for sheep and goats. This task is reserved for children. There are 7 to 10 big herds in the village. In one herd, there are around 10 to 15 smaller groups each owned by a local. Shepherds switch their turn for grazing their herds.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 18
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
16 Nov 2014

The groom’s family goes to the bride's house to form a wedding party.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 11
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
15 Nov 2014

Kids are jumping from one roof to the other.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 17
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
15 Nov 2014

Musicians are greeting guests at bride’s house. The tambourine is a local traditional instrument.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 19
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
15 Nov 2014

A wedding ceremony takes place in the big summer room. Guests dance in pairs and then they leave the dance floor for the next. A wedding ceremony takes place at the bride’s home. If the young couple comes from the same village, a ceremony starts at a bride’s house and

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 20
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
13 Nov 2014

The wedding guests are dancing. Anyone who wants to come is welcome. Hopefully there will be just enough space to dance.

Thumb sm
Tajik Kitchen Stories
Istravashan
By karolinasamborska
29 Sep 2014

The best meetings are always in the kitchen, because they are most intimate and sincere. There are no unasked questions, but only timid responses. In the kitchen people talk about life, about men, about dresses, love stories, and unrequited loves. There are no cultural or religious differences. Tajiks, including Yaghnobi people, are Sunni, where a woman’s position is often discriminated against. Pamiris are Ismailis, they practice a progressive Islam often earning them the label heretic through this progress.

"Here in the Pamir Mountains, women are free, they are not like other muslims who live only for cooking and cleaning. They go to school and then go to college in Khorog.” Ismaili women, who can be considered Islamic feminists are educated, some of them even work. Their position in society may have its differences, but could be looked on as equal to that of men. Most marriages in Sunni Tajikistan are arranged. Polygamy is permitted up to a maximum of four wives. Tajiks get engaged at 18 and then marry two years later. In European culture, the young become very quickly independent from their families and young couples live on their own. Tajikistan is different. Because of a difficult economic situation, one's mate comes to live in the new family circle, so the decision of who is to live under a common roof is also a family decision. Love between married couples is considered not as important as loyalty to blood relations. A man’s world and that of a woman are clearly divided here. Women take care of the household and raise children. It is instinctive. Men, if they have a chance to work, they work, but certainly never refuse a glass of vodka. When they drink they become rash, harsh, mirroring their surrounding word. They know that drinking, and the behavior it prompts is bad, so they keep their families out of this world. Maybe it’s why the worlds between men and women remain distant. The kitchen is a woman’s world.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 04
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
03 Oct 2012

Sarabdek with his youngest daughter (in a middle) and his daughter in law (at the left).

Thumb sm
Tajik kitchen stories 05
Bartang Valley, Tajikistan
By karolinasamborska
02 Oct 2012

Basma, one of the Saradedbek’s daughters is kneading bread. She is not married yet, so she still lives with her family and shares housework with her sister-in-law. Bread is a base of nutrition in the mountainous Pamir and Yaghnob regions of Tajikistan. People will have it with cup of tea for breakfast and lunch.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 05
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
02 Oct 2012

Boy threshes grain with oxen. In the village as electricity is not reliable most of the work is done manually or with the help of animals.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 06
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
02 Oct 2012

Somersault on a haystack of threshed grain.

Thumb sm
Tajik kitchen stories 04
Bartang Valley, Tajikistan
By karolinasamborska
01 Oct 2012

A Pamiri room is characterized by a single central window in the roof. It is the main room where the family cooks, eats and sleeps. In Ismaili culture, women stay at home and cook, but their social position is considered to be equal to that of men. The Pamiri diet is mainly based on rice, potatoes and a very small amount of meat.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 10
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
01 Oct 2012

Physical education classes. In the village there are two schools, primary and secondary. There are 180 students.

Thumb sm
Tajik kitchen stories 01
Bartang Valley, Tajikistan
By karolinasamborska
29 Sep 2012

A Pamiri house characterized by a single central window in the roof. This room is the central of the house where family cook, eat and sleep.

Thumb sm
Tajik kitchen stories 02
Bartang Valley, Tajikistan
By karolinasamborska
29 Sep 2012

A kitchen cupboard painted with a Marco Polo sheep, a protected species. Their horns are common ornaments in Ismaili homes.

Thumb sm
Tajik kitchen stories 07
Bartang Valley, Tajikistan
By karolinasamborska
28 Sep 2012

Zohra is a nurse in Ajirkh, a small village where she lives with her husband and 6-year-old son. A year after the birth of her son, she decided to study in Khorog. After three years of studies, she came to like her urban lifestyle and wanted to stay in the city to work in a local hospital. Her husband, however, wanted to go back to the village in the mountains. She asked me if sometimes I argue with my ‘close one.’ I answered that that I did. I asked if she argues with her ​​husband….