CHHU Public Lecture: Between the Pamirs and the Hindukush: Ancient Wakhan at the Crossroad of History

Date: 11 March 2021
UCA's Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit is holding a Public Lecture on March 11th 2021, 5:00 pm (Bishkek time, GMT+6) on "Between the Pamirs and the Hindukush: Ancient Wakhan at the Crossroad of History", It will be delivered by Abdulmamad Iloliev, Research Associate, Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS), London. The event will be in English streamed via Zoom and Facebook Live.

This paper examines the ancient sites of Wakhan, which are connected to the Silk Road, and the traditional legends associated with them among the local population. The expansion of trade and military campaigns led to the construction of massive strongholds at the crossroads of several Central Asia’s mountain ranges including the Pamirs and the Hindukush alongside the upper Panj-River and the Wakhan-Darya in order to facilitate the traffic of people and goods on the road. The ruins of many fortresses, artillery towers, caravansaries and temples still survive to witness the unwritten history of the region. Advancing a broad argument concerning the role of Wakhan in the international network of trade and cultural exchanges, which was connecting China, India and Central Eurasia in the past, it questions how important the ancient sites were in the life of the Silk Road, and to what extent trade and cultural exchanges contributed towards the evolution of the local economy and cultures.

About the Author
Dr Abdulmamad Iloliev is а Research Associate in the Department of Curriculum Studies at the Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) in London, and a faculty member at the Institute’s Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities and the Secondary Teacher Education Programme. He also translates and edits the IIS Primary and Secondary Curriculum on Islam in Tajik, Persian and Russian. He had previously held a number of research and teaching posts in Tajikistan, Canada and the UK including research fellowships at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and the University of Sussex’s School of Global Studies. He has a BA with distinction in History from the Dushanbe State Pedagogical University, an MPhil and a PhD from the University of Cambridge in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. His primary research interests focus on Central Asian studies, Islamic mysticism, history and literature. Dr Iloliev is the author of three monographs (The Ismaili-Sufi Sage of Pamir: Mubarak-i Wakhani and the Esoteric Tradition of the Pamiri Muslims, 2008 [in English]; Mubarak-i Wakhani: Context, Life and Thoughts, 2019 [in Tajik]; The Ismailis of Pamir: Legends, Beliefs and History [in Turkish], 2020), seven translated volumes and several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.

Chorshanbe Ghoibnazarov, Research Fellow of CHHU/Assistant Professor, School of Arts and Science, University of Central Asia

The lecture will be given in English

The lecture will start at 5:00 PM Bishkek time (GMT+6) on 11 March 2021 in the form of a ZOOM meeting via the following link:
Meeting ID: 931 8401 4474
Passcode: 351039

Please confirm your participation by sending an email to

*Ideas presented in this lecture reflect the personal opinion of the speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Central Asia and/or its employees.

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