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Fringed by the two great rivers of Central Asia, the Oxus and the Jaxartes, Tajikistan can boast not only of breathtaking mountain scenery, but also 3,000 years of history. The land where Alexander the Great fought desperately against the Scythian nomads, his most formidable adversaries, Tajikistan is an ancient cradle of Persian culture. Originally, it was the home of the Sogdians, the famous trading people of the Silk Road; eventually this country was at the heart of the 19th century "Great Game", a place of contention for the adventurers and spies of Britain and Imperial Russia. Now recovering from the misfortunes of the 20th century – the travails of Soviet rule and several years of civil war – it is able to offer visitors not only its legacies of cultural and ethnic diversity, but also unparalleled opportunities for adventure. Tajikistan and the High Pamirs: A Companion and Guide covers: mountaineering and trekking on the roof of the world; explorers and travellers of the ancient Silk Road; vital insight into a crucially positioned nation; Dushanbe, Central Asia's friendliest capital city; culture, music and ethnic traditions; essays on wildlife, botany, geology and archaeology including a contribution by Dr George Schaller; and, outstanding cartography. It is published to appeal to the armchair traveller as well as the intrepid visitor.
When it comes to the natural history sections, this guide contains several chapters of interest to the travelling naturlist:
- Birding Tajikistan by William Lawrence (page 245)
- Butterflies of Tajikistan by Jean-François Charmeux and Jean-Marc Gayman (page 247).
- Flora of Tajikistan by Peter Cunnington (page 250)
- Birds and Mammals in the Eastern Pamirs by George Schaller (page 652)
- The Snow Leopard: Phantom of the High Mountains by Rodney Jackson (page 654)
Robert Middleton worked for the Aga Khan Foundation as Legal Adviser and Co-ordinator of Tajikistan programmes from 1985 until his retirement in 2003. He currently assists local and international non-profit organizations to promote tourism in the region. He lives in Switzerland.
Huw Thomas became Program Director of the Aga Khan Health Service, Tajikistan from 1999 to 2003 after he retired as Chief Executive of Gwynedd Health Authority in North Wales. He has returned frequently to Tajikistan from his home in Bangor, North Wales.
"An encyclopedic source on Tajikistan and especially the Pamirs, with chapters devoted to the various adventurers, travellers and spies who roamed these mountains in the past."
- Steppe Magazine
"[...] Tajikistan and the High Pamirs ranks as the most comprehensive guidebook [...] "
- Conde Nast Traveler