Tajikistan Country Profile

The Tajik people have a long history in this landlocked nation, over 90% of which is covered in amazing mountains. Tajikistan has been an independent sovereign nation since 1991, but with the civil war that lasted until 1997, it’s only in the last two decades that the country has seen political stability and a growing economy. The history of this land dates back to the Bronze and Neolithic age, and has hosted various cultures and kingdoms throughout the generations - these factors make a trip to the country one that is filled with historical wonder and with many ancient sites to behold. Tajikistan is still not a very popular tourist destination and you should check your country’s foreign travel advice prior to making plans.

Travel to Tajikistan

Tajikistan Fact File

Capital

Dushanbe

Population

8,900,000

Religion

98% Muslim (majority Sunni)

Currency

Somoni (TJS)

Climate

Arid continental - cold winters, hot sunny summers

What to do?

With so much of the county being mountainous, one of the top attractions in Tajikistan is to spend time outdoors and soak up the natural wonders on offer. Also, with such a rich history, the country is peppered with castles and fortresses, ruins and temples, with unique architectural styles. Here are a few suggestions of places to visit in Tajikistan:

  • The Hissar fortress, which is the remains of an 18th century fortress, occupied until 1924.
  • Visiting a local Bazaar is a great way to get to know Tajik culture. These oriental markets are a great place for shopping, and your guide will be able to suggest popular locations.
  • Mug Tepa, which is situated in Ura-Tube, is one of the most ancient settlements in Tajikistan. It is said the city was found by Kir in the north-east boundary of the empire.
  • If you’re a history bod, how about visiting the monument to Lenin?
  • Poetry lovers will make a beeline for The Museum of Rudaki. Penjikent is the birthplace of Abu Abdallah Rudaki, considered by many to be the father of Persian Poetry. Also, look out for the monument to a poet called Khudjandi.
  • Ancient Penjikent, where you can see the ruins of the old Sogdian town, which was founded in 5th the century and abandoned in the 8th century by the Arabs. Foundations of houses, a citadel with a couple of Zoroastrian fire temples and city bazaar are visible in the excavated ruins.
  • Sarazm one of the earliest ancient settlements in Central Asia, with around 5500 years of civilization. In 2010, Sarazm was added to the list of Human heritage sites by UNESCO. Haft Kul is the name given to seven lakes of different colors in mountains of Tajikistan, which make up 20km of watery beauty. Ranging in colour from azure to turquoise, they are areas of outstanding natural beauty.
  • Pamir Highway is the world’s second highest road, and it bends alongside the Pyanj River, giving you breathtaking views of both lofty majesty and raging waters.
  • The Tajik Wakhan Valley is also known as the Tajik Wakhan Corridor, and it describes a route along the Pynaj River where you can spot charming villages, the mountains of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, ancient castles and shrines.
Tours of Tajikistan

Culture

Mountainous countries often boast a rich variety of cultural differences across the land, with many inhabitants scattered in isolated places, preserving their unique languages, crafts, traditions and ways of life. Tajikistan is one such place where you can see examples of secluded civilizations. One such ethnic minority are the Yaghnobi people, who live in the northern mountains, many of whom speak a language that is a direct descendant of the medieval Sogdian language. The Tajik language is a Persian dialect, although many people speak Russian as a second language.

Tajik’s are family-oriented people, and are known for their friendly, welcoming and honest nature. Hospitality is a big part of their culture. Traditional gender roles prevail and people tend to be quite conservative. Traditional crafts from the area include textile weaving, wood carving, embroidery and jewelry making. In recent decades, a cultural revival has taken place with a renewed focus on Tajik traditions and folk art.

Fun facts: While tulips might be synonymous with Holland, you might be surprised to know that many varieties of this beautiful flower actually come from Tajikistan. The country is home to the world’s 50th highest mountain (Ismoil Somoni Peak, 24,500 feet), as well as the largest glacier in the world (outside of the polar regions) and has more than 900 rivers. The national dish is Plov - a fried rice dish featuring yellow turnip or carrot with meat.

Tajikistan Tours

In-Depth Tajikistan