Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province

Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province

Coordinates: 38°0′N 73°0′E / 38°N 73°E / 38; 73

Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous
Oblast, GBAO
Kuhistoni Badakhshon, Kuhistan-Badakhshan, Viloyati Mukhtori Kuhistoni Badakhshon
Country Tajikistan
Capital Khorugh
Area 64,200 km2 (24,788 sq mi)
Population 218,000 (2008)
Density 3.4 / km2 (9 / sq mi)
Chairman of GBAO Kadyr Kasym
ISO 3166-2 TJ-BG

Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province (Tajik: Вилояти Мухтори Кӯҳистони Бадахшон, Viloyati Mukhtori Kūhistoni Badakhshon; Russian: Горно-Бадахшанская автономная область, Gorno-Badakhšanskaya avtonomnaya oblast’) is an autonomous, mountainous province in the east of Tajikistan. Located in the Pamir Mountains, it makes up 45% of the land area of the country but only 3% of the population.[1]

The Tajik name Kuhistoni Badakhshon, now the official name of the province, expresses the meaning Mountainous Badakhshan, which is equivalent to Gorno-Badakhshan, a standard construction derived from Горный Бадахшан (Gornîy Badakhšan) in Russian.



GBAO was created in January 1925 and it was attached to Tajik SSR (Soviet Socialist Republic) after the republic's creation in 1929. During the 1950s native inhabitants of Gorno-Badakhshan, including many ethnic Pamiris, were forcibly relocated to southwestern Tajikistan. Gorno-Badakhshan absorbed some of the territory of the Gharm Oblast when that territory was dissolved in 1955. When civil war broke out in Tajikistan in 1992 the local government in GBAO declared independence from the republic of Tajikistan. During the civil war many Pamiris were targeted for killings by rival groups and GBAO became a bastion for the opposition. Later the GBAO local government backed down from their calls for independence and GBAO remains an autonomous province within Tajikistan.[2][3]

Previous to 1895, the area that today constitutes Gorno-Badakhshan province consisted of several semi-self governing statelets, including Darwaz, Shughnun-Rushan and Wakhan, who ruled over territories that today are part of Gorno-Badakhshan province in Tajikistan and Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan. The region was claimed by the Chinese and Russian empires and the Emirate of Afghanistan. The Qing rulers of China claimed control of the entire Pamir Mountains,[4] but Qing military units only controlled the passes just east of Tashkorgan Town. In the 1890s Chinese, Russian and Afghan governments signed a series of agreements that divided Badakhshan, but the Chinese continued to contest these borders until it signed a 2002 agreement with the government of Tajikistan [5]

Districts and Geography

West-Central Gorno-Badakhshan
Mountain Valley District
Darvoz Range
Vanj River Vanj district
Sarikol Range
Murghob district
Vanj Range
Yazgulyam River
Yazgulem Range
Bartang River Rushon district
Rushan Range
Gunt River Shughnon district
Shughon Range
Shakhdara River Roshtqal'a district
Shakhdara Range
Panj River Ishkoshim district
Afghanistan * *

For an excellent map, see the external link.

Darvoz District is the western 'beak' of the province. West-central Gorno-Badakhshan is mostly a series of east-west mountain ranges separated by valleys of rivers that flow into the Panj River. The districts correspond the river valleys. Murghob District occupies the eastern half of the province and is mostly a desolate plateau with high mountains on the west.

GBAO covers all the eastern part of the country and borders in the East - the Xinjiang Province of China, in the West and South - the Badakhshan Province of Afghanistan, and in the North - the Osh Province of Kyrgyzstan. Within Tajikistan the province's western border is with the Region of Republican Subordination (RRP) and the tip of its south-western finger (Darvoz district) borders on Khatlon Province. The highest mountains are in the Pamirs (ancient Mount Imeon), which is known as the roof of the world, and three of the five 7,000 meter summits in formerly Soviet Central Asia are located here, including Ismail Samani Peak (formerly Communism Peak) (7,495 m), Ibn Sina Peak (formerly Lenin Peak) (7,134 m, on the border with Kyrgyzstan), and Peak Korzhenevskaya (7,105 m).


The population of GBAO increased from 160,900 to 206,000 between the censuses in 1989 and 2000. The population as of January 2008 is estimated at 218,000. According to the State Statistical Committee of Tajikistan the main ethnic group in GBAO, are Pamiris.[6] The remainder of the population is ethnic Kyrgyz and other nationalities. The largest city in GBAO is Khorugh, population 29,000 (2008 est.);[1] the second largest is Murghab, with about 4,000 residents.

GBAO is home to a number of distinct languages and dialects of the Pamir languages group. The Pamiri language speakers represented in Gorno-Badakshan are speakers of Shughni, Rushani, Wakhi, Ishkashimi, Sarikoli, Bartangi, Khufi, Yazgulyam, and Oroshani. Vanji, formerly spoken in the Vanj River valley, became extinct in the 19th century. There is a sizable population of Kyrgyz speakers in the Murghab district. Russian and Tajik are also widely spoken throughout GBAO. The majority religion in GBAO is Ismaili Shi'ite and adherence to the Aga Khan is widespread.


Only two easily navigable roads connect GBAO to the outside world, Khorog-Osh and Khorog-Dushanbe, both of which are segments of the Pamir Highway. A third road from Khorog to Tashkurgan in China through the Kulma Pass is very rough. Gorno-Badakhshan is separated from Pakistan by the narrow, but nearly impassable, Wakhan Corridor. Another road leads from Khorog into the Wakhan and across the Afghan border.

See also


  1. ^ a b Population of the Republic of Tajikistan as of 1 January 2008, State Statistical Committee, Dushanbe, 2008 (Russian)
  2. ^ Suhrobsho Davlatshoev (2006). "The Formation and Consolidation of Pamiri Ethnic Identity in Tajikistan. Dissertation". School of Social Sciences of Middle East Technical University, Turkey (M.S. thesis). http://etd.lib.metu.edu.tr/upload/12607111/index.pdf. Retrieved 2006-08-25. 
  3. ^ http://tajikistan.orexca.com/gorno_badakhshan_region.shtml
  4. ^ 中国近代史课程教案
  5. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People's Republic of China (2003). "China's Territorial and Boundary Affairs". http://www.mfa.gov.cn/eng/wjb/zzjg/tyfls/tyfl/2626/t22820.htm. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  6. ^ Population census of Tajikistan, 2000 on demoscope.ru (Russian)

External links

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