If the events of the past few years are anything to go by, Tajikistan will soon be the focus of world powers, but this time, for the right reasons. Barely 20 years after the Tajikistan civil war ended, the country is rapidly recovering from the devastation that trailed its existence for so long. Thanks to countries like Russia, China, Iran, and other sympathetic neighbors, Tajikistan will rise again. So if there’s a right time to plan a visit to Tajikistan, that time is now.
Tajikistan was barely known to the world until 1992, when the nation was plunged into world focus due to a civil war. So, do not be surprised that before then, the average person did not know Tajikistan’s place on the world map. However, all that has changed now, and visiting this beautiful country will reveal many pleasant surprises.
Would you like to visit Tajikistan? This article is for you. Here, we shall explore the uniqueness of Tajikistan, places to visit, and things to do. More importantly, we shall discuss what to consider when planning to visit Tajikistan. Hopefully, the Frequently Asked Questions will answer other questions you may have. Welcome to Tajikistan.
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Facts about Tajikistan
- Tajikistan has a current population of about 10 million people
- The country is one of the youngest independent countries on earth.
- Tajikistan was part of the Soviet Union from 1929 until 1991, when it became an independent nation.
- The country was the primary supplier of cotton for the textile industry in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
- Tajikistan plays a remarkable role in world history as it has been part of empires including the Achaemenid, Alexander the Great, Greco-Bactrian, Chinese, Persian, Mongol, and Russian.
- This has resulted in present-day Tajikistan comprising people of ethnic diversity, dynamic religions, and languages.
- The official languages of Tajikistan are Tajik and Russian. But Uzbek comes a significant third, followed by indigenous languages like Aimaqi, Bartangi, Bukhari, Ishkashimi, Khowar, Khufi, Kyrgyz, Oroshani, Parya, Pashto, Rushani, Sanglechi-Ishkashimi, Shughni, Uzbek, Uyghur, Wakhi Yaghnobi, and Yazgulyam.
What to Take Into Account When Planning to Visit Tajikistan
Tajikistan is famous for having the world’s largest teahouse and tallest flagpole. But apart from these edifices, and many other things, visiting this landlocked country is a rewarding experience. However, before you take off on this journey of discovery, there are some things to consider as you plan your journey.
When to visit Tajikistan
Tajikistan is the most mountainous country on earth, and the mountains there are stunning. Unfortunately, the country is located in an area where earthquakes occur. The Badakhshan province has recently experienced its fair share of this natural occurrence. Avalanches and landslides also block roads in early summer and springtime. Also, in spring and summer, mudslides and flooding are caused by melting glaciers. In winter, heavy snowfall capped the mountain tops, causing flight delays and affecting local travel, especially in parts of the country with mountains.
When planning a visit, it will help to know which weather would suit you – Bahaar (Spring), Tabistan (Summer), Khazan (Autumn or Fall), and Zimistan (Winter).
What to drink in Tajikistan
Tajikistan serves black tea loaded with sugar. It is the generally accepted national drink.
Another national drink is RC cola. RC has a bottling plant in Khujand, making it a national beverage. Besides, it is cheap and widely available.
If you like beer, you will like Kvass, a Russian beverage described as fermented bread water.
There’s a beer plant that makes Baltica beer. So now you have a choice of two beers. But if you’re in Tajikistan during Ramadan, you may want to avoid drinking beer in public.
Compote is another popular drink for the warm months. People make it as a sort of kool-aid made with natural fruits.
What to eat in Tajikistan
Tajikistan cuisine is a reflection of its history and encounters with different cultures. Their cuisine combines the best of the Middle East, South Asia, Chinese, Turkic, and many more cultures, to give you lots of delicious foods! A visitor would be hard-pressed to decide which is more delicious.
Qurutob is considered the national dish of Tajikistan and is eaten with hands in large celebratory gatherings like weddings or holidays like Nowruz. Vegetarians would like quotrob, a bread salad containing assorted home-grown vegetables like cucumbers, onions, and chili. Other dishes are Oshi Palov, Qazonkabob, and tiqmakabob, among others.
What to wear in Tajikistan
Generally, Tajiks dress colorfully, beautifully, and conservatively. Although women don’t need to wear hijabs in Tajikistan, it is not usual for women to wear revealing clothes either. Women are expected to dress modestly, and as visitors, you are not an exemption. Visitors stick out like a sore thumb, and wearing revealing or short dresses would attract undue attention around town. It’s not best to attract this type of attention because it can lead to catcalls and make a female visitor feel unsafe.
Cash or card in Tajikistan?
Tajikistan is a cash-only economy. Traveler’s checks are not accepted, and very few establishments accept credit cards. This means you should always carry cash with you. Only change money at officially accepted exchange bureaus because there are many money changers around, and exchange rates are not the same. They vary from one shop to the next and from one day to the next. So before you change your money, check many shops to determine the one that gives you a fair price. Although there are ATMs in Dushanbe, the rural areas do not have any. US dollars. Euros and Russian roubles are widely accepted, but other foreign currencies do not stand a chance.
Where to visit in Tajikistan
Tajikistan is full of history. Here are some of the places to visit:
The Victory Park was built in honor of the great patriotic war and housed a WWII monument. The park is a hilltop park, giving a good view of most parts of Dushanbe. In the park, a teahouse sells different kinds of brew. Visitors mostly sit in the shade, watch the sunset, or stroll through the parkland.
In the past, the Zurkhanehs functioned as an unofficial local police force, but they were warriors trained according to the ethics of Shia Islam. ‘The House of Strength’ is a sacred place similar to a mosque in structure, with a high roof and dome shape. In this place, the art of Persian workouts is practiced using medieval workout equipment. It is a significant part of Persian history and culture and is worth visiting.
The highlight of your time at the National Museum should be a visit to one of the enormous Buddha in Central Asia. There are many priceless artifacts of Central Asian history at the museum. If you’re early, you’ll join the English tour.
The National Library
Located in Dushanbe, the National Library specializes in preserving the cultural heritage of the Tajiks. The library is a nine-story building with 15 reading rooms and 20 departments. If you want to learn more about the Tajiks, you should visit the library.
The Botanical Garden
The Pamir Botanical Garden is the second-largest botanical garden in the world. Here, you will see all the plants of Tajikistan. It’s worth a visit.
You would appreciate ‘The Cherished Waters’ on a hot summer day. Varzob is a river valley with platforms sitting over the river. Dushanbe summers are pretty hot, and sitting above the Varzob river in the shade, is a treat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get a Tourist Visa to Tajikistan?
If you are eligible for a Tajikistan Tourist Visa, you will be able to tour the mountainous country for about 90 days. Find out more about the Tajikistan Tourist Visa here.
What time of year is it best to visit Tajikistan?
It depends on what part of Tajikistan you plan to visit. For North and Central Tajikistan, Spring is best. However, spring is cold in the Pamirs. Therefore, if you want to visit the Pamirs, June and July are the best months, but it is hot in the valleys at this time. Generally, August is the best time to visit the entire country.
What is life like in Tajikistan?
Life in Tajikistan is terrific! With 93% of the country located in the mountains, it has beautiful landscapes. The air is clean and fresh. You can see mountains when you wake up in the morning and have fresh fruits and vegetables all year round. But, if you go in spring, you’ll see carpets of green, like a dream. Tajikistan is a place to live a quiet life surrounded by nature.
How can I become a citizen of Tajikistan?
Tajikistan citizenship is possible if you have resided in the country for at least five years. Find out more about how to become a citizen of Tajikistan.
Tajikistan is known as ‘The Roof of the World’ because it has high mountain tops and high-altitude desserts. You will find evidence of this in the Pamir Highway, the second-highest road in the world. The Pamir landscape will leave you breathless, literally. This is the result of the high altitude and should be part of what to consider when planning to visit Tajikistan. In all, you will enjoy your visit to this spectacular country. Perhaps you will learn a few Talik phrases like “Assalam” – Peace be with you.