The Kalan-sal of Hissor Fort

UPDATE (7-12-11) – I think I was right – he’s a regular!  He shows up in this blog, notably heavier, two years ago.

On a visit to Hissor Fort – which has a fascinating history – we met a kalan-sal, or old man, the last graduate of the local madrassa before it was closed by the Soviets. His history – or rather his uncanny ability and desire to recite famous Persian poetry – was far more interesting than the fort itself. I’ll post a video soon.

I saw him walking, as you can see here, from far below when I was on the hill above the fort grounds. I knew he had to be fascinating and a raced down to say hello. He was walking slowly, and is mostly deaf, so it was not hard to catch him. I think he walks these grounds daily, like a living ghost of a bygone era. But far less spooky, and much more cute – in the way only old grandpas can be.

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My favorite:
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Saying thank you and goodbye:
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We visited a museum in the old man’s former madrassa. It was full of ancient artifacts and interesting Soviet propaganda – such as this one encouraging a Soviet victory in World War 2, with a note in every language of the Union:
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It also had some beautiful doors:
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On the road back, a few sneaky snapshots of Tajik life:

A wedding by the fort:
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Industrialized agriculture between Dushanbe and Hissor:
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Everyone needs tires!
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2 thoughts on “The Kalan-sal of Hissor Fort

  1. Annie Alsheimer says:

    I am in awe by your beautiful photography, Dean. Excellent work!

  2. Accidentally-seasoned hobo says:

    Great Pics Dean!!

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