The Fortress of Yamchun

This fortress is located in the northeastern part of Ishkoshim at the end of the village of Tuggoz, and the village of Yamchun near the small river Vichkut. It is 178 km far from Khorog, and 72 km far from the Ishkoshim town. The fortress of Yamchun is located atn altitude of 3164 meters above sea level.

Structure of the Fortress

The fortress consists of three large parts. The first part is located at the very bottom, just above the village of Yamchun on the northern edge of the mountain. The entrance gate to the fortress is located here. The second part – the middle part of the fortress, is located on a slope and is fenced on the south and west sides. This area of the fortress prolongs 450 meters from north to south. There are round gates and towers within its walls. The third part of the Yamchun fortress is located at the top, which has a triangular shape. It is also called a citadel where the rulers lived.

The fortress was built of stone and large size of bricks. In certain places, the height of the wall has been preserved up to 9 meters. The fortress has nine circular checkpoints. The fortress was built on a place where two mountain streams Vichkut and Yamchun flow from both sides. It seems that a natural hill with deep slopes appeared in between these rivers as a result wind and rain. It is almost impossible to reach to the fortress from the river sides. The fortress is located on a strategic hill and is considered one of the largest fortifications in the entire Wakhan. The fortress has an attractive look from surrounding. The western part of the wall, which descends from the citadel is around 800 meters long. The southeastern part of the wall is 400 meters. The length of the eastern wall of the citadel is 200 m, and the size of the western wall is 175 meters. There are 26 towers in the second part of the fortress, and 7 towers in the third part.

Construction of Yamchun dates back to 3-1 centuries BCE. Fortresses such as Yamchun defended and regulated the movement of the trade caravans through the great Silk Road.

Legends about Yamchun Fortress

There are many legends among the inhabitants of the village of Ishkoshim about the Yamchun fortress. According to one of these legends an unbeliever king named Isor Zangibar was the ruler of Yamchun, He was the brother of Qahqaha who ruled over another fortress. When Hazrati Ali (the fourth of Caliph of Islam) arrived in the area he destroyed Qahqaha. Ali had sent a message to Zangibar should surrender and convert to Islam. Zangibar refused Ali’s offer and prepared for a battle. Ali defeated Zangibar and he run away. While fleeing Zangibar collided into a withered horn of a giant emerald that pierced his chest. After this battle the population Yamchun and nearby fortresses, and villages became Muslim.


Travelling to Yamchun Fortress

Yamchun Fortress is located on the Khorog-Ishkoshim-Murghob highway. Public transport: minibuses, private cars travel daily between Khorog and the center of Ishkoshim district and from there to Yamchun village. Visitors will have to cover another 8 km of uphill or 4 km of straight road to the top. The road to the castle may be best traveled by private car. Tourists can also visit the castle on their way to Murghob on the way to Ishkoshim district.
From the top of the fortress tourists can watch the panoramic view of both sides of Wakhan, divided between Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. They can also explorer, the ruins, and deep dive in the history of the ruins

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