December 13, 2018: The Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre has opened in the “Jewel of the Pamir”, Khorog, the capital of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO).
The project costs 15 million U.S. dollars and the construction of the Centre was funded by the Aga Khan Foundation.
The Centre consists of three parts, including the prayer halls that can accommodate 1,500 worshipers. The Center also features administrative and meeting facilities, classrooms, library and social halls that can accommodate 450 people.
The Centre is located in the center of Khorog near City Park on the bank of the Ghund River.
The foundation stone laying ceremony of the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre in Khorog took place on November 3, 2008 but the active phase of construction of the Centre began in 2016.
Speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony, His Highness the Aga Khan, in particular, noted:
“For many centuries, a prominent feature of the Muslim religious landscape has been the variety of spaces of gathering co-existing harmoniously with the masjid, which in itself has accommodated a range of diverse institutional spaces for educational, social and reflective purposes. Historically serving communities of different interpretations and spiritual affiliations, these spaces have retained their cultural nomenclatures and characteristics, from ribat and zawiyya to khanaqa and jamatkhana. The congregational space incorporated within the Ismaili Centre belongs to the historic category of jamatkhana, an institutional category that also serves a number of sister Sunni and Shia communities, in their respective contexts, in many parts of the world. Here, the Jamatkhana will be reserved for traditions and practices specific to the Shia Ismaili tariqah of Islam. The Centre on the other hand, will be a symbol of confluence between the spiritual and the secular in Islam.”
“I would like today to situate what the Centre and the Jamatkhana aspires to be in the town of Khorog. It is my hope that the town of Khorog will become the Jewel of the Pamir, The gem cutter, the person who prepares the jewel, cuts it and cuts it and polishes it and cuts it and polishes it until he has fashioned the gem stone in to a stone of absolute purity with no clouding, absolute purity. And the gem cutter has to do his work very carefully with a lot of time, because if he makes a mistake, he cannot bring back the part of the stone that he cut away by mistake. And this is what I hope, with the President of the Republic, His Excellency the Governor, we will be able to do over the years ahead, to improve the town of Khorog, to make it the Jewel of the Pamir.” His Highness the Aga Khan said.
His Highness the Aga Khan is Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. He is the founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).
Operating in Tajikistan since 1992, the Network draws on a strong base of experience in working with mountain societies. It works in all regions of the country and employs over 3,500 people through its operations and investments. The AKDN supports the establishment of programs and institutions that allow the Government of Tajikistan, private sector and civil society to play complementary roles in increasing prosperity and creativity within a pluralistic society.