This is actually the ancient road of the silk that starts at Kashgar (China) and that could be passed till recently only on mules, horses and camels. Until only 30 years ago, when the road was built, these were the only means of traveling. One can still see remnant of the road in the mountains.
The people at Hunza Valley are Ismaili – a branch of Shia Islam that separated around 8 century that is very moderate. People are not obliged to pray 5 times a day, women don’t follow purdah – wearing clothes that cover your whole body and having virtually no social contacts with men.
We feel like we are in a totally different world: all the men are cleanly shaven and are dressed with jeans and shirts, there is no one with a giant beard or dressed in “pyjamas”; the women have their hair barely covered and the little girls wear nothing on their head. There is a huge difference with Kohistan – the area around Mansehra and Chilas where they put veils on the heads of 3-4 year old girls.
The people in this village look like Europeans to us – there are many people wearing glasses and most of the families have 1 or 2 children. The local language is Wakhi and the people here are closer to the Tajikistan’s culture.
Jumping from the paradise of the radical Islam at Kohistan to the moderate people in Hunza Valley was an absolute shock for us.