light and silence and the white-red


New member
assalam alaikum!

why "light and silence"?
per analogiam - "light and sound" shows.
i made my own shows using lights of the stars and the moon, simultaneously with the lights of my car and headlamp, and the silence of the desert.

why the "white-red"?
these are colors of the polish flag. a small one, which has been travelling with me (on the antenna on the car) for last years, i gave to 77 years old polish woman, since 1960 living in vrang, pyanj river valley, tajikistan.
she was born near lvov before the second world war, formerly a polish city in present ukraina. then, after the war, when the polish-soviet border had moved to the west, she has been moved with her family to lugansk (by stalin, which generally means the soviet authorities). there she met her future husband, working as a miner. they married and later came to badakhshan (pamir) to a small border village - vrang.

six weeks of rambling, new altitude record for my car, huge stone balls of unknown origin, gorgeous canyon akegershin, the sea that doesn't exist anymore, "light and silence" shows in the wilderness, more than 2000-years excavations, illicit-bought fuel, gold madrasah, passable once for several years bartang valley, a pole woman living on the tajik-afghan border since 54 years, hakim - a mysterious homelessman, hospitality asian customs and polish jesuits.
along the way, lots of adventures in the fantastic scenery - vast spaces of steppes and deserts, azure depths of alpine lakes and towering mountains of the pamir, hindu kush, and tien shan.
welcome to central asia:

light and sound - akergeshin canyon, kazakhstan.

mystery stone balls. such balls are widely found in many places in the world, varrying age (from 250 million to 5 thousand years old) weight, sizes and materials made of. in kazakhstan and uzbekistan, on the ustiurt plateau you can find singular balls or even entire fields of the balls.

"striely ustiutra" - the arrows of ustiurt plateau. paleolitic structures made for hunting, looking from space in the shape of arrow. hunters chased the wild herds into the structure. at the top of the arrow the animals felt into a cliff or a big hole. there were also small strongholds at the sidwalls for hidden archers. some of the animals hunted in paleolitic times still alive today - eg. saiga antelope (saiga tatarica, but less then 50.000 saigas has survived of more than 1,25 million in 1900 year, mosty klilled in early 20th century and after soviet collapse), or kulan (equus hemionus kulan), or turkmen black-tailed gazelle (gazella subgutturosa)

the wanishing sea - aral lake (aka aral sea). the soviets wanted to make soviet union the greatest coton producer in the world - they moved the water from amu-daria and syr-daria to the desert building the net of thousands canals. but most of the water disappeared in the desert. before the catastrophy the surroundings of both rivers were full of plenty oasis, great agriculture feeding not only the locals and making them rich. soviet sick and lame ideas destroyed the region for long, long years. there were ideas to move water from great siberian rivers back to present uzbekistan, also. happily, i didn't happen.

formerly the sea shore - now 70 meters high cliffs.

moynak - formerly rich fishing harbour and health resort, now a small poor settlement about 150km from the present seashore.

about 2300 years old excavations near nukus. archeologists from nukus university qualify these potteries as scrap.

dakhma - zoroastrian "silent tower". a place for funeral ceremonies. zoroastrians believe that the human body cannot contaminate the earth, the water, the fire or the air, so they place the body on such towers and expose it for vultures to eat. i write "believe" not "believed" - there are still about 200 000 zoroastrians, mostly living in india and iran. zoroastrianism is one of the oldest monotheistic religions in the human history - religion counting almost 3000 years.

khiva - the most beautiful medieval city in uzbekistan.

mabijon - tajik living in bukhara, owner of real bukhara-style house adapted for a small hotel. it is not a coca-cola hotel stylized for a bukhara house, it is real homestay. in soviet times mabijon was a sportmaster.

bukhara - nadir divanbeg madrasah (quran school). on the ivan (the portal) you can see two dragons (phoenix) carrying pigs (dirty animal for muslims). similar tile inlays you can see in samarkand (registan, sher dor madrasah) - there are two tigers hunting for antelope. yes, this is islam, but. my theory is: for the ruler (tiger, phoenix) all was halal - allowed. even iconoclasm breaking. and of course indian influence to central asia.

samarkand, tila kari. golden madrasah.

obikingob valley, pamir darvaza, tajikistan. a combat vehicle, destroyed during civilian war of early 90's. oh, i found a soviet general inside ;)

pyanj valley. tajik bank on the left, afgan bank on the right. and polish flag one the antenna.

vanch valley. russian geographical society glacier head morraine, 24km long, the south-west neighbour of the fedchenko glacier, the greatest in pamir (over 70km long). the bridge was demolished by "syl", a huge, abrupt, sudden flood resulting from the storm high in the mountains.

to be continued.
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New member
continued from above ;)

bartang valley, tajikistan. some kilometers forehead there is sarez kul - an artifficial lake new-created in 1911, resulting from the huge landslide - over 3 billion tons collapsed from the slope and blocked the murgab river. now the usoi dam holds almost 17 cubic kilometers of water (about one-fifth of genevian lake in swiss). the dam is very unstable - the water trickles not from the top but from the bottom of the dam! when the dam crashes (resulting an earthquake or another huge lindslide) the water will stop near termez on the tajik-afgan-uzbek border, some 800 km away, destroing all one the way.

bartang valley - passable only sometimes, depending on the weather. sometimes - it means once per few years. this (and previous) year was exceptionally dry.

bartang valley - anyway it took us (me and a friend from poland accidentally met in khorog) almost three days to drive over 300km.

karakul lake - 5 million years ago there was a meteorite landing here. and there is no one river draining it.

ak baital pass - the new record for my 20 years old "mazeno-bus" (4655m above the sea level), although this is not its first trip to asian mountains. and not the toughest place it has passed in the mountains.

did i mention about "tough places"? welding and bonding necessary. 15 hours of work. it happens on the road. and off the road ;)

hindukush mountains - the range in afganistan and partly in pakistan. on the right you can see noshaq (7492m, highest in afganistan, 2nd highest in hindukush), in wintertime climbed first and only by poles in 1973 (and then winter himalaism era started), and tirich mir (7,706m, in pakistan, highest in hindukush).

buddist stupa over vrang village in pyanj river valley.

polish woman living in vrang, tajikistan, madame bronislawa de domo macierzewska. still in good health condition, despite the age of 77 and hard conditions of live.

hakim - hakim meas "doctor", also "wiseman". tajik homeless, rumbling through the mountains, in wintertime moving to dushanbe (there is warm). among others strange things - he knew the history of tadeusz kosciuszko. does anybody of you know anything about kosciuszko? (he was polish and american hero. in us he was fighting as an american general during the war for independence. he was projecting fortresses and battleground fortifications - e.g. west point, ticonderoga, saratoga. his monuments are located near white house and west point and some other places in us). hakim knows many about kosciuszko. very strange man. hakim, not kosciuszko, of course.

maisera pass, shakhdara range, tajikistan.

bulungkul lake, alichur pamir, tajikistan.

murgab - the mosque.

barbed-wire fence along formerly soviet-china border, now tajik-china. in soviet times - under high voltage. and behind - some kilometers of no-mans land.

to be continued.
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New member
again - continued from above ;)

kyrgyzstan - achik tash glacier.

a marmot.

lenin peak, aka qulai abu ibn sina, jelaidar chokusu, kaufmann peak (7134m) on tajik-kyrgyz border, 2nd highest in pamir.

sary tash - the place of nowhere, a small setllement on the crossroads from china, tajikistan and kyrgyzstan. a small cementery with tails of horses - when a "baba" (someone respected) dies, his horse dies too.

bazar in osh, kyrgyzstan. kurut - dried-to-stone yoghurt balls, sometimes with chilli or other taste.

polish jesuits in jalalabad, kyrgyzstan (two priests on the left). a lot of hospitality and warm. some 15-20 persons in the parish.

a panorama view from kaldama ashuu 3062m (ashu means pass), on the way from jalalabad to kazarman.

a necropolis near jangi talap, kyrgyzstan.

song kul lake, kyrgyzstan.

on the way to tosor ashuu.

while ascending to the tosor ashuu, the battery generator has detached (the strecher of the belt has broken). the same belt drives the battery generator and the cooler fan, so the engine became dangerously overheated. i solved the problem by wedging a stone between the engine and generator to tension the belt. it has been working well for whole way acroos the pass (3893m) and then over 2km down to the villages near issyk kul lake (1606m), where i welded it on the next day.

snowing on the tosor ashuu.

issyk kul lake.

across the rockjaws in the valley of castles, sharyn river canyon, kazakhstan.

valley of castles, sharyn river canyon, kazakhstan.

somewhere in kazakhstan.

again: it happens ;) the axle has broken. finally - not only the axle...

on the way home to poland, somewhere in kazakhstan.

and much more here (in polish, but there are links to my galleries): - galleries

thanks for you patience.
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Great photo's, Thanks for showing this part of the world. I also liked your temporary fixes. How many rocks did you try before you found the right size to tension your belt?


New member
you can see a little bit more pictures from this trip in the photoalbum i've prepared (below: link to the preview in flash player):

("wild heart of asia
people and landscapes of central asia")​

it is in polish, but the main goal are the pictures, i think.


Beautiful photographs and a very interesting report. It was great fun to read your posts -- thanks!


Excellent! Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures and journey. Kosciuszko was not the only Pole to assist in the US war for Independence. Casimir Pulaski was a Pole who assisted the US.

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New member
i know (thanx for memento) but my name is tadeusz, not kazimierz (casimir) - and that's why hakim was taking about kosciuszko.
btw - if anyone will visitr krakow (the city i was grown) you can easily see a mound (one of 5*) above the city. it was build (2 centuries ago) by krakow people to honor tadeusz kosciuszko.

* - the remaining 4 mounds are: wanda (legendary princess of krakow), krak (legendary king, founder of the city), pilsudski (marshall of poland), john paul II.