Tajikistan , a former USSR country, lies in central Asia bordered by Uzbekistan, Kyrkizstan, Afganistan, and China. It's capital, Dushanbe, known for its monday market, derives its name from the tajiki word for Monday. Tajikistan is not yet widely attractive touristically , but its Pamir Mountains, also named "The Roof of the World" and considered a challenging mountain range , have attracted professional climbers for years.
The first time I showed any interest in this country was when I met the new cleaning woman in our office building. She was originally from Dushanbe, the capital city, and kept telling me about the place with its tree-lined streets and many monuments , and also about the tajiki various customs.
Tajikistan and the Pamir mountains came forcefully into my awareness on july 1990 with the dramatic news that an avalanche set off by an earthquake in the Pamir range swept 45 climbers from different countries to their death. Among these climbers was Benny, a 20 year old alpinist, son of an israeli sovietolog of russian descent, Mikhail Agursky.
An expedition of rescuers was organized, and Agursky, the father, over 60 and not in the best of health, but with knowledge of the language and the mentality of the place joined them to look for his son. There were heart-rending descriptions in the newspapers of that time about the father who stayed at the foot of the mountains for more than two weeks in hope of finding his son dead or alive.