Fortress Yamchun, Pamir Highway

Unassailable fortress on the height of 3000 meters

You can see amazing view of the Yamchun fortress in the middle of the Wakhan corridor after turning from the main road of the Pamir Highway and climbing along the long serpentine up to the mountains. This beautiful fort with stone walls and towers is located on the height of 3000 m above the sea level and mounts the valley of the river Panj running 400 m below.

Fortress Yamchun, Pamir Highway
Fortress Yamchun, Pamir Highway
Fortress Yamchun, Pamir Highway

Today only upper bastion that was well protected, has survived from the entire fortress. Ideal place was chosen for construction of the triangular-shaped Yamchun fortress: mountainside is protected from two sides with deep gorges of rivers, so it was hard to assault the fortress from this side, and the third side has a steep slope where they made a cascade of walls and towers, thus losing the lower tier, defenders could retreat upwards still keeping the strategic advantage. The preserved part of the fortress has an area of approximately 300 sq. m; and in the far past the fortress used to have a territory of 75 hectares (185 acres).

Fortress Yamchun, Pamir Highway
Fortress Yamchun, Pamir Highway
Fortress Yamchun, Pamir Highway

Walls of the Yamchun fortress are made of stones, of different rocks, some of which were delivered from afar. Moreover, thanks to investigation of masonry, it was discovered that thin layers of timber was added during construction that would add flexibility and strength in case of earthquakes. Outer walls are 3 m tall, and 1,5 m wide. Loopholes can be seen everywhere. However, time is slowly ruining the fortress and most of the walls and towers of Yamchun are partially collapsing.

Fortress Yamchun, Pamir Highway
Fortress Yamchun, Pamir Highway
Fortress Yamchun, Pamir Highway

Construction of the fortress Yamchun dates back to the 3rd century B.C., and it is a bit older than another famous fortress in the Wakhan valley – fortress Kah-Kakha. It is known that fortress Yamchun earlier had names such as Zamr-i-atash-Parast and Kafir-Kala. Once this fortress had two functions: control over flow of people and goods across Wakhan valley and protracted defense in case of foreign raids. Today this is one of the brightest sights of Pamir that one should definitely visit taking a tour to Pamir Highway.

Fortress Yamchun, Pamir Highway
Fortress Yamchun, Pamir Highway
Fortress Yamchun, Pamir Highway