Distinctive Aspects of Vernacular Architecture of Wakhan Valley in Afghanistan; Influencing the Crossing Cultures and Adapting to the Harsh Climate

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Architecture, School of Architecture and Urbanism, Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran


Many scientific sources agree that indigenous architecture, in terms of shape and function, is best suited to its environment. In this architecture, climatic conditions, access to materials, culture and beliefs of residents play an important role in the formation of the outer wall, the arrangement of ancillary spaces and decorative features. This architecture has a unique feature in the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan in the face of wildlife, different cultures and harsh climatic conditions. The approach of the two Wakhi and Kyrgyz immigrant communities in the region is quite different in their adherence to traditions. However, in the Wakhan Valley, the transfer of experiences between farmers and herding nomads has created a new kind of architecture that is still introverted. To study the formation of this architecture, descriptive-analytical method has been studied on library resources, maps, statistical data, reports and field images. This study showed that indigenous architecture, in a wise introverted way, is based on both maintaining the internal warmth of the house and socio-cultural relationships. Symbols are influenced by the nature, history and culture of neighboring civilizations and have evolved over time. However, this architecture plays an important role in creating interaction and social stability in this region. Communities in residential, religious and burial buildings have also paid attention to available materials and adaptation to land form. Despite efforts to adapt to very cold climates in both types of homes, buildings and tents, there are limitations to receiving lighting and ventilation.


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