Afghan Badakhshan – بدخشان

The Afghan province of Badakhshan lies in the North-East corner of the country and borders China, Tajikistan and Pakistan. It was once part of the wider historical Badakhshan region that also included Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region. Badakhsan lay on one of the Silk Routes, was (and still is) famous for its Lapis Lazuli, and counted Marco Polo as one of its travelers.

I had the privalege of visiting Afghan Badakhshan several years ago now in the middle of winter. I began my journey in the capital, Faizabad. The hills that surrounded the valley where the town is situated and the river that ran through its heart give it a natural beauty.


I was fascinated by Faizabad’s bazaar. Unlike the western concept of a shopping mall, the bazaar represents more than loud consumerism. In many ways it lies at the heart of community life, and is a centre for news, gossip, food and drink, social connections, and of course essential staple items for purchase. This may explain why I often dislike shopping in the West but love the experience in the East. More on that in another post.


I was able to experience a taste of rural life in Badakhshan as well, and traveled to the border with Tajikistan. Pictured here is an example of a beautiful Pamiri ceiling with a skylight. Hidden within the construction of Pamiri houses lies deep symbolism significant to Ismaili Muslims with some features possibly originating in Zoroastrianism as well.


For a taste of music from Badakhshan, see this post from Wandering Rhythms Radio.

12 thoughts on “Afghan Badakhshan – بدخشان

  1. Enjoyed reading this and looking at pictures. We are actively pursuiting going to that area later this year…..we will see what God has for us!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this place too.

    I wonder if someone who grew up here could argue something similar about malls that you said about bazaars? It’s not the same, of course, but there is food, movies, shopping, spas, etc and groups of friends often go together.

    Liked by 1 person

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