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Tajikistan: Witnessing a Wedding in Tajikistan’s Winter Wonderland

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Fresh snowy footprints lead to the village of Vankala, near the eastern Tajik city of Murghab in the Pamir Mountains.

High mountain villages in Tajikistan’s Pamir Range are quiet and cold in the winter. Snow leaves many villages difficult to access, and there is little to keep locals occupied. A large number of men are off laboring in Russia. To keep warm, people burn dried manure chips and the occasional block of wood.

Weddings are an important source of entertainment in these austere conditions. Some say weddings take place in winter more often than summer just to offer a distraction. And to prolong the enjoyment, the party often lasts for two days.

In early January, I attended a wedding in Vankala, a village two or three hours’ drive east of Khorog—the capital of Tajikistan’s Mountainous Badakhshan Autonomous Province (GBAO), itself some 18 hours’ drive from Dushanbe, in good weather.

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Ikuru Kuwajima is a freelance photojournalist based in Almaty.

Tajikistan: Witnessing a Wedding in Tajikistan’s Winter Wonderland

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