Introduction

With a river raging through the centre, channelled between houses with terraces overhanging the impatient water, and with an attractive mosque and civic buildings, Kulai-Khum (Darvoz) is one of the Pamir's most attractive towns. It is the first community of any significant size between Kulob and Khorog and as such one that most driver-guides attempt to reach as an overnight stop from Dushanbe. This piece of geography, together with the fact that it sits at the junction of the A385 with the legendary Pamir Hwy (M41) on a particularly fertile snippet of land, lends a sense of welcome oasis to the town. Its facilities, which have grown up around catering to the weary travellers who gratefully leave their cramped vehicles for a comfortable night's stay, are much more developed than in other corners of the Pamirs making it tempting to overnight a day longer than planned.