Shakty Cave Paintings

The Pamir Highway

Soviet archaeologists apparently took shelter in the caves at Shakty (Шахты; 4200m) during a storm one night in 1958, only to awake the next morning to the perfectly preserved red-ink paintings of a boar hunt (and strange bird man). Visitors are asked to keep a distance from these Neolithic paintings to avoid damaging them. The cave, a five-minute scramble uphill, is impossible to find without a knowledgeable driver/guide. The site is 50km southwest of Murgab (25km off the Pamir Hwy) in the dramatic Kurteskei Valley.

The caves can be visited on a day trip from Murgab or agencies can suggest a two-day wildlife-spotting tour that takes in Shakhty, passes the Shor-Bulak observatory (currently closed to foreigners) and continues south over two minor passes to a seasonal lake rich in birdlife.

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