Don't Miss Places In Tajikistan
Tajikistan is a mountainous country, prone to earthquakes. In the Pamir Mountains, snow makes the few roads impassable for more than six months a year. Yet in the fertile river valleys, where most people live, the summers are long and hot. The Tajiks is descended from the Persians, who first settled here thousands of years ago. The country has been invaded many times since, and Islam was introduced by Arab conquerors in the A.D. 600s. Today, most Tajiks are Sunni Muslims. Minority groups include Uzbeks and Russians.
About two – thirds of the population lives in the rural areas, mostly along the rivers and in its oases. Villagers grow mainly cotton, grain, vegetables, olives, figs, and citrus fruit. Cattle breeding is important on the rich pasture lands. More and more rural people are moving to the cities to find jobs in Tajikistan’s textile factories, steelworks or other industries.
Tajikistan was controlled by the Soviet Union from the 1920s. The Soviets brought many changes, such as building roads and schools, putting industry and agriculture under state control, and discouraging religion. Opposition to their government reached a climax in the 1980s, and Tajikistan eventually gained independence in 1991. It then became a member of the Commonwealth of the Independent States.
These attractions and important landmarks are the not to be missed places in Tajikistan…
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Rudaki Park is absolutely one of the most beautiful parks in Dushanbe. It looks very relaxing with its tall and old trees, located in the city center along the Rudaki Avenue overlooking the statue of King Somoni. On weekends, it is full of people, but it is very quiet and all you will see is the influx of residents and children walking on this side of the capital city. It has lots of shops and small stalls to eat a locally prepared barbecue. A place to go to read in the shade of tall trees surrounded by rose gardens, but also a nice place to watch the unnecessary and very expensive esplanades that a poor country has offered to the glory of his nationalism, to be like his other Central Asian neighbors.
It is very nicely done, clean and green and truly interesting. This is the park where concerts and events take place and where you meet the friendly locals. In the evening, the park is an important promenade and offers room for family get-together with the children. The park is neither urban nor a landscaping pearl. The design pattern is relatively simple, significant visual points are widely emphasized (Presidential Palace, the National Library, and Rudaki- Somoni Monuments). The generous use of water for irrigation of crops and especially for the unusually large number of fountains / water features and pools make the park alive, flourishing and refreshing in the middle of the city. Although Shaded areas are scarce, visit just on hot days are very much worthwhile.
The Charki Mosque in Tajikistan is a great monument of faith and architecture. It is one of the biggest and most visited mosques in Dushanbe. It has a high minaret with very beautiful mosaic and around the mosque there is a madrasa. Inside there are gold decorations and it is always crowded with Muslims and tourists. People are always many, of course women do not go with men, you can go on some days, but even then there would still be a lot of people. The monumental construction is very good and the acoustics are excellent.
Pure and pleasantly cozy, the Ismail Centre is an excellent venue for exhibitions and symposiums in Tajikistan. Aside from having spacious rooms and fantastic lighting, it is located in one of the central streets of the city. Located in the heart of Dushanbe, the Ismaili Centre is not only a place of worship, but also a center of education and science. This modern and huge monumental building was built in the style of Arab buildings with inaccessible ceilings, architecture and mosaics. The building is surrounded by a pool that creates a cool ambience even in the heat of summer. In the center you can come on any Sunday and go on tour (in Russian, Tajik, and English languages), where you will be shown all the culture, traditions and peculiarities of the Ismaili faith.
The site also serves as an Islamic educational center and a temple of purity. The walls are decorated with Arabic mosaic. The atmosphere is very quiet and not oppressive. Around the building there is a decorative pool. This place is like a library with a large selection of books and an informative training center. There is always something to see, and everything is done with great taste and dignity.
Statue of Ismoil Somoni
The Statue of Ismoil Somoni (the first governor of the state of the Tajiks) is in Dushanbe in an area of Dusti (Friendship Square). It was established in 1999 to celebrate the 1100th anniversary of the Samanid state. It is a 13-meter original monument that is worth a visit because Ismail Samani highly respected in the country - he has a monument in every major city, founded the Order of Somoni, put into circulation the official banknote with his picture and so on. It forms part of the most impressive ensemble of structures highlighting the significant figures in Tajikistan’s history in the city center. You can spend half an hour looking around and appreciating everything in detail.
It is a monumental statue where you can make a good photo, admire the beautiful views of the park and walk near the cool fountains of the city. Be sure to stroll through the main squares and parks of Dushanbe. The place evokes so many positive impressions; neat paths, a variety of colors, among which you will be pleased with the presence of colorful rose bushes, fountains and monuments. The Statue of Somoni is huge and impressive; guarded by harsh looking but beautiful lions. The crown and gold ornaments of the monument is made of pure gold. The Dusti (Friendship Square) on the edge of the Rudaki Park (Central Park) is dominated by the huge Ismoil Somoni - Monument. This Ismoil was a great king of Somoniden Dynasty and is stylized as the official hero of modern Tajikistan.
National Museum of Tajikistan
Although the National Museum of Tajikistan and especially the lighting of the museum should be upgraded to make it a more enjoyable visit, the wealth of archaeology in the country are there and an essential complement to any visit to this little known nation. The museum is located in a new building. It has collected a large number of artifacts, documents, and images covering the whole history of Tajikistan and its association to its neighboring countries. It also shows the many given by other foreign leaders to the President. The museum also has a section where it discusses the nature of the country. There is much you can learn from the pictures about the history of Tajikistan. You will be amused by the different pitchers, vintage instruments, and the mannequins sitting there in chains looking like really exhausted.
The museum has national status, and clearly defined its meaning. Be sure to visit because you will see the history of this land since time immemorial (a few thousand years ago) up to the present day. The biggest impression that you will see is the statue of Buddha in Nirvana. Its length is 12.85 m, and weighs a total of 5.5 tons. Her age is about 1600 years. In the lobby of the museum there is a small gift shop if you want to purchase souvenirs or jewelry about Tajikistan. The museum has exhibitions on ancient, medieval history and very informative for young visitors through the exhibition of its local and regional flora and fauna. The new museum building is impressive both in architecture and space. Even in the absence of the guide you will get answers to all your questions because everything is signposted and properly captioned. You will not only be impressed by the 13-meter high statue of Buddha, but you can also witness the whole exposition that is well thought out and shows the rich culture of the Tajik people. Plan your visit in advance, as the museum is open until 4:00 pm.
Hisor Fortress (Hisarsky Historical and Cultural Reserve)
The Hisarsky Historical and Cultural Reserve or the Hisor Fortress is located about 20 km from Dushanbe. More than two thousand years ago, this open air museum was the main attraction of the city. From ancient times, it has retained the gates and walls, a place for ritual ablutions, madrasas, and so on. There is a small exhibition of ancient pottery, clothing and household items. There is a small business shop where you can buy small souvenirs. It is an interesting place and well worth a visit.
Accessible via 30-minute drive from Dushanbe is the famous Hisor fortress. In recent years, much has been done for the restoration of the monument to preserve its history and antiquity. In some places, the walls were repaired inside the fortress and were rebuilt in its ancient appearance, but the restoration is not yet complete, but some of the parts seen now are already impressive. Near the fortress, there is an old school where the classes are done with the efforts of artists and historians who have restored and transmit the historical flavor of the institution, which is now recognized as an architectural monument that breathe the centuries of interesting history.
The Varzob Gorge is one of the impressive attractions in Tajikistan and has good infrastructure regarding hotels, restaurants and accessibility. But that's what it is, at least as seen from a long-distance point of view under which the valley is suffering. It is dense with relevant institutions covered and the implementing main highway of the country's two largest cities, Dushanbe and Khujand provides not just for the peace and quiet you wish for. For visitors to the capital, the Varzob Gorge is highly recommended.
You can also take a walk towards the mountain ski resort in the summer there is peace and tranquility, all good cross paths, and on top of the mountains there is snow all year round. At any time, Varzob Gorge is one of the best places to relax while in Tajikistan. Here you can find a bathing lake (at the foot of the gorge) and hundreds of large and small camping sites, spas, and recreation, as well as a huge number of cafes right on the river, and a lot of places where you can just sit by the water. Taking a trip here is a must because it is very close to the city and easily accessible.
Skies with millions of stars, blue lakes, mountains with a hundred colors, powder, sheep, travel for two days along a river with Afghanistan on the other side, sleeping on the carpets in the homes of local people, tomatoes and cucumbers, discs of bread in homes and markets, this is what the Pamir Highway is all about. It is an uncharted island among the highest mountains on the planet. It takes at least fifteen hours on board of a solid off-road to reach it and if all goes well you will arrive in the region of Gorno-Badakhshan, better known as Pamir.
This is the heart of Tajikistan, a country with the unknown seeds of Central Asia, which a few years ago has opened its borders to tourists. Its capital, Dushanbe, has little to offer while the interior contains landscapes of breathtaking beauty. From Khorugh, the most important city of the region, the road continues parallel to the river Panj (Oxus in antiquity) marking for some hundreds of kilometers near the border with Afghanistan. The inhabitants are approximately two hundred thousand and live mainly by herding and agriculture.
You can observe them while they are working in the fields or on the slopes of the high mountains while controlling the beasts grazing: especially goats, sheep and yaks. The so-called Marco Polo sheep is much harder to find. Some foreign hunters are willing to pay up to 20 thousand dollars just to be able to bring home his horns as a trophy.
Hospitality can be experienced in a small family-run guest-house. For several years the highways have been carried out of the important sustainable tourism projects, coordinated and funded mainly by the Aga Khan Development Network. The Aga Khan, in fact, is the spiritual leader of the Ismailis (a Shiite sect derived from Islam that owns the majority of the inhabitants of the Pamir) and its donations allow people to survive and try to create a better future.
Palace of the Nation (Presidential Palace)
The Palace of the Nation or the Presidential Palace is one of the main buildings of Dushanbe with golden domes, which can be seen from every point of the city. Of course visitors are not allowed inside, but outside you can see all the good sides of the park lined with fountains, marble staircase and monumental walls. It is the greatest monument to the architecture of Tajikistan.
The unique palace complex was recently reconstructed (2014) and it is a new presidential palace in scope, architecture and layout especially within the imagination. Around the palace there is a complete park infrastructure. Even if you cannot get inside, simply walking around can make you see the visible façade of the palace even from afar.
Khujand Fortress (Khujand)
The Khujand Fortress houses the Historical Museum of Sughd. It is interesting to look at the numerous maps and plans of the city of Khujand in different eras, as well as valuable finds that were discovered ruing the medieval periods. The fortress serves as a good background for photography and it contains an old theater, a good café, a small museum and a souvenir shops that sell things coming from Russia.
Kulikalon Lakes (Artuch)
The Kulikalon Lakes in the city of Artuch is a beautiful lake that is surrounded by inaccessible places for the unprepared tourist. You can get there on foot from the base of Artuch after the Kulikalon wall. It is accessible by car from the cities of Khujand or Dushanbe. You can reserve an overnight stay in one of the houses facing the lake or pitch out a tent. The site is equipped with a hot shower, a dining room and a small shop.
Alauddin Lakes (Du-Oba)
The Alauddin Lakes is located in the depths of Tajikistan, but within walking distance (20 minutes) from the vertical climbing camp of Du-Oba. The perfectly clean lake is accessible by car and separated by a small hill. Right next to the lake there is a complex where you can eat, drink tea, and buy something from the sellers on the road. From the lake you can go to various road passes and see other lakes like the Kulikalon. The best time to visit is in July and August.
Tajikistan is an interesting country that holds a lot of natural and historical attractions to admire. For those who love adventure and wants to get in close contact with nature, this is a country in Central Asia with a great potential and wealth of natural resources that still remain untapped. Mountaineering, trekking, rafting, are just some of the activities that most local agencies offer travelers who are right here on this island that is oftentimes called as the "roof of the world".