Tashkurgan’s stone fortress
Whilst travelling along part of the Karakoram Highway to visit Karakol Lake I spent a night in Tashkurgan (Taxkorgan). Tashkurgan means ‘stone fortress’ in the local language and the name comes from the fortress at the edge of town.
This small frontier town sits well above 11,000 feet in the Pamir ranges and is the last stop off if you are travelling from China into Pakistan through the Khunjerab Pass. The population in Tashkurgan is mostly Tajik and this is the principle town for the Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County (part of China’s Xinjiang province) – this area borders Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan.
There has been settlement in Tashkurgan for about 2000 years and the town was a stopping point for merchants travelling along the Silk Road. The fortess overlooks an important valley on this part of the Silk Road and is great vantage point to see out across the valley which nowadays is dotted with yurts.