The town of Khorugh (Хоруғ), also transliterated as Khoroq, Khorogh, Khorog, or Xoroq) is the capital of the Gorno-Badakhshan (Tajik: Kuhistoni Badakhshon, "Mountainous Badakhshan") Autonomous Province (GBAO) in Tajikistan. It has a population of 28,000 (2000 census). Khorugh is situated 2,200 m above sea level in the Pamir Mountains (ancient Mount Imeon) at the confluence of the Gunt and Panj rivers. The city is bounded to the south (Nivodak) and to the north (Tem) by the deltas of the Shohdara and Ghund, respectively. The two rivers merge in the eastern part of the city flow through the city, dividing it almost evenly until its delta in the river Panj, also being known as Amu Darya, or in antiquity the Oxus) on the border with Afghanistan. Khorugh is known for its beautiful poplar trees that dominate the flora of the city.
Until the late 19th century, Khorugh was in an area disputed between the Emir of Bukhara, Shah of Afghanistan, Russia and Britain. The Russians emerged the winners of the region after The Great Game, which fixed the current northern border of Afghanistan on the Panj River and established the territory of Russian Pamir around Khorugh. Following the fall of czarist Russia and the rise of the Soviet Union, Khorugh became the capital of Gorno-Badakhshan in 1925. Soviet leaders encouraged the migration of settlers to the area with promises of pay, medals and automobiles, but with no industry and little arable land, the effort was not successful.
Khorugh is also host to one of three campuses of the University of Central Asia (UCA). The University was founded in 2000 by the governments of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan, and His Highness the Aga Khan. It is the world’s first internationally chartered institution of higher education. The UCA currently operates a School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE), with a School of Undergraduate Studies and a Graduate School of Development in the process of being established.