Nestled amid flourishing trees, a flowing river, and a formidable mountain range, the newly opened Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre in Khorog is a long-awaited blessing for the Jamat of Tajikistan.

Up close, a jewel is made up of a number of facets, each producing intriguing patterns, which help the gem to shine. Shimmering bright on the evening of 12 December 2018, the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre, Khorog opened its doors to the Jamat on the eve of Salgirah.

At the foot of the Pamir mountains, and situated beside Khorog City Park and the Gunt River, the Centre provides a purpose-built space for congregation, contemplation, and contribution to civil society.

In his remarks at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre, Khorog in 2008, Mawlana Hazar Imam said, “It is my hope that the town of Khorog will become the Jewel of the Pamir.”

On that significant day, Mamadnazar Mamadnazarov thought to himself that whomever is involved in the building of the Centre would be very lucky indeed. Little did he know that he himself would be involved, as the site manager.

“Our people dreamt of their [own] place of worship for years. It was Monday, 3 November 2008 when Mawlana Hazar Imam laid the foundation stone for the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre in Khorog. This day became a happy and special day to our people.” 

Construction began in April 2016 with a focus on benefiting the local community and utilising local building materials. For example, approximately 1.5 million pieces of granite were used to clad in the interior and exterior walls of the building. Most of the floors have also been tiled with local granite.

Several local companies were involved in the building project, from site excavation, timber cladding, to stone production. In addition, at its peak, up to 400 local craftspeople worked on the construction of the building, which in the process provided them with new skills for future employment opportunities.

The completed Centre offers tranquil spaces for both spiritual and secular endeavour. Its focal point is the prayer hall, which features a Pamiri roof, stone walls, stained glass windows, and carved wood pillars. The Centre also houses a social hall, library, meeting and multipurpose rooms, a foyer, a covered veranda, an amphitheatre, and courtyards.

This Centre is the latest in a series of projects which have contributed to the development of the city of Khorog, the capital of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region in Tajikistan. 

Mawlana Hazar Imam remarked on these plans for progress at the foundation stone ceremony in 2008.

“And we will seek to improve, all of us together, the quality of the environment in which we live, bringing clean water to everywhere where the people live, bringing energy to all the places where people live, improving the schools and health facilities, improving and restoring our historic buildings which are representations today of our cultural history,” he said. 

“We today have a new park in Khorog, inshallah we will build the University of Central Asia, we will build this Centre, and while working together, step by step, we will make Khorog the Jewel of the Pamir.”

Since then, the revitalised Khorog City park was inaugurated in 2009, and includes a river promenade, a pond, a children’s play area, and a restaurant and teahouse. In addition, the University of Central Asia’s Khorog campus was officially inaugurated earlier this year, becoming UCA’s second operating campus, attracting students from across Central Asia.

The Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre Khorog is the latest in this series of developments, representing a long-awaited blessing for the people in the Pamirs, and which will serve the flourishing of the Jamat and the surrounding communities for decades to come. Glimmering at the heart of Khorog, the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre adds another facet to the ‘Jewel of the Pamir.’