Explore the Untouched Mountain Scenery in Tajikistan

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1Tajikistan

Tajikistan is a safe country to visit and scenically spectacular. The country is home to some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Zeravshan Valley, situated in northern Tajikistan between the mountain ranges of the western Pamir-Alai, offers excellent camping sites at the shores of its many rivers and lakes. You can make use of inexpensive shared taxis to get around along the main road. The valley includes the Fan Mountains, a prime climbing and trekking destination.

 

Panjakent is the main travel gateway at the westernmost end of the valley and also the biggest city in this area. Many picturesque villages are scattered along the Zeravshan River and the area is well-known for its unique mountain landscapes. The terrain is remote and wild in many parts. Ensure to buy a traditional Tajik padded coat, a hat and sash for the colder weather in the mountains and fill up your supplies when going to the mountains. In remote villages you may only find fresh bread.

 

Old Panjakent is an archaeological site with a walled inter-city dating back approximately 2,500 years. About twenty kilometers from the archaeological site, you will find Sarazm, the oldest settlement in Central Asia. The skeleton of Princess of Sarazm was discovered here.

Energia (5105 m, left) and Chimtarga (5489 m, right)

 

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Fan Mountains features green meadows, turquoise lakes and old juniper forests. Energia and Chimtarga are the two most popular peaks among climbers. Iskander Kul offers chalets for overnight stay at the lakeside, but it is only available during the main season. According to legend, Alexander the Great lost his horse on the banks of this mountain lake. 

 

The Seven Pearls of the Shing is an absolute must see. The Shing consists of seven lakes all surrounded by towering mountains and each with its own unique color. You can rent a porter donkey in one of the villages to carry your luggage. The nearest lake is about one and a half hour’s drive from Panjakent.

 

Yagnob Valley, situated south-east of the Zeravshan Valley, offers great trekking opportunities. The mountain setting in this area is spectacular and you will find rural Tajikistan at its purest here.

 

The Pamir Highway, M41, Tajikistan

The Pamir Highway, M41, Tajikistan

The Pamir Mountains offers breathtaking views, humbling mountain hospitality and excellent ecotourism options. Pamir Highway, M41, is one of Asia’s greatest road trips. The road will take you from Dushanbe, the capital, eastwards into the mountains and to the north-eastern border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Kilometer-posts line the way with the distance from Khorog on the one side and Osh on the other. The remote road takes you through high plateau scenery studded with deep blue lakes. The road has several checkpoints where you will have to register.

Tajikistan is the smallest country in Central Asia by area, bordered by Kyrgyzstan to the north, Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west and China to the east. Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, is located on the southern slopes of the Kofarnihon Valley. The country is divided into the regions of Ferghana Valley, Karategin, Khatlon, Pamirs and Zeravshan. Karategin is home to Dushanbe and is the Tajik heartland. Dushanbe, which means Monday in Tajik, is situated at the confluence of the Varzob River and Kofarnihon River.

Experience the City of Dushanbe

Dushanbe Presidential Palace

Dushanbe Presidential Palace

Almost none of the streets in Dushanbe have names. It is important to know landmarks, such as the Somoni Statue and the Opera-Ballet, in order to find your way. Tall trees line the streets and it is great to wander around Rudaki Park in the evenings. The new park on Rudaki Avenue is home to the well-known Rudaki Statue. The Botanical Gardens is situated behind the Chinese Embassy and is an excellent place to escape the noise of the traffic.

Near the Sadbarg Shopping Center on the main square, you will find the Museum of Antiquities. The museum houses several exhibits about the country’s history, including artifacts and a huge statue of Buddha.

For a great shopping experience, you can visit the Korvon Bazaar and the Shakhmansur Bazaar. The Korvon Bazaar offers a large shoes and clothing section, rugs and food. The Shakhmansur Bazaar is the biggest bazaar in the country. Shakhmansur offers a wide variety of nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruits, bread, spices and meat. It takes about two hours to see the entire bazaar.

Shakhmansur Bazaar, Dushanbe

Shakhmansur Bazaar, Dushanbe

In summer the market in Dushanbe is packed with watermelons. Tajikistan and watermelons are almost synonym. You will see the Tajiks tossing melons from truck to pile, pile to stall, and then stall to truck. The watermelons are delicious and amazingly sweet. The locals begin and end almost every meal with slices of fresh watermelon. It is not unusual to see the people laying down on a “tapchan” after they ate the sweet fruit.

The city is divided into four districts, namely Avicenna, Ferdowsi, Ismail Samani and Shah Mansur. The Dushanbe Flagpole is located in front of the Palace of Nations and is the tallest flagpole in the world, at a height of 165 meters. Pole sections was designed and constructed in Dubai and shipped to the city in October 2010. The final erection of the $3.5 million flagpole took place on May, 2011.

Traditional Tajikistan Dancer

Traditional Tajikistan Dancer

The Gurminj Museum of Musical Instruments is located behind the Office of the Mayor on Bokhtar Street in the center of the city. Gurminj Museum houses more than a hundred musical instruments. Some of the instruments represent the Badakhshani and Pamiri musical tradition. String instruments include the ghizhak, tar, Pamiri, tanbur, setor, rubab and dutor. Drums include doyra, tabl and daf. The museum often hosts cultural gatherings.

The Dushanbe Zoo is located on the banks of the Luchob River in the center of the city right next to the Pamir Stadium. The Zoo houses about 600 animals including lions, snow leopard and jaguar. There is quite a variety of birds, bears, lizards, Caymans and snakes.  In 2006, the American Alliance of Museums donated $75,000 to repair fences, put in a garden and playground area and for adding signs.

Food in Tajikistan

The national dish of Tajikistan is Qurotob prepared with onions and vegetables and it is typically eaten with hands from a communal plate. Plov is a traditional dish made of beef or mutton, carrots and rice. Watermelons and melons are extremely popular among the local people and are usually very cheap. Tajikistan offers bread in abundance, such as kulcha, galama, fatir, chappoti and nan. Green tea and Compote (distilled fruit punch) are popular among the locals.

Tourists in Tajikistan

A valid passport and visa are required to enter and exit Tajikistan. Travelers attempting to enter Tajikistan without proper documentation may be detained or asked to leave the country immediately.

 

 

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