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The valley of the Yagnob river situated about 100 km north from Dushanbe, at the border of mountains and deserted plains. The maximum absolute altitude comes to 5,145 m in the Zerafshan range in the upper reaches of Yagnob. The river-bed of the Yagnob is situated at the altitudes of 2,200-2,800 m, the bottom of the valley being practically not discernible.

The history of the people inhabiting Yagnob has common roots with well-known and formerly powerful Sogdiana – ancient Central Asian state (VII c B.C to the VII c. A.D), first of all because of closeness of the ancient Sogdian and Yagnobi languages. The natural isolation of the Yagnob Valley was conductive to give possibility to ancient Sogdians to stay there. They appertain to the Eastern-Iranian language branch; in the course of historical processes they were assimilated step by step by peoples appertaining to the Western-Iranian language group, and that by the Turkic speaking group.

In Yagnob the open  way of life for women exists, for example they  do not cover themselves with shawls, as it is accepted in Muslim countries. Men are disposed to come into contact, they like to talk politics at a cup of tea, to joke and they are very hospitable as a whole.

Dwelling houses are very tidy, but low, without windows, with a high doorsill, with a minimum of decorations and excesses.

Yagnobies do not use alcoholic drinks in effect, they do not smoke, various herbs growing in Yagnob are widely used in foods. They fall ill very seldom.

Ancient pre-islamic beliefs in holy rocks remained up to now. There is a column having cult significance in the village of Sokan.

In 1970 about 3000 people from Yagnob were evicted to other parts of Tajikistan for working in cotton agricultural farms. From the end of 1980 –es the people have began to return progressively to their native land. In our days about 300 persons are living in Yagnob permanently and about 1,000 coming for the summer with shepherds. As Yagnob valley still preserves the wild and charming beauty of the nature in harmony of the original native people, it is popular among Western tour companies to organize here various anthropologic and archeological expeditions.


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