Dushanbe

Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, is a fast-emerging Central Asian city surrounded by mountains, and presents a short-yet-fascinating history deeply rooted in Soviet-era Russia. Situated at the confluence of the Varzob and Kofar Nihon Rivers, Tajikistan's largest city sits in the very west of the country, close to the border of Uzbekistan. Up until the early 20th century, Dushanbe remained an isolated desert village before being discovered by the Soviets and transformed into a center of cotton and silk production.

Today, the city boasts enough sights to keep the modern tourist happy for a good few days, with impressive attractions such as Somoni Statue, numerous museums and galleries, as well as the ancient Gissar Fortress 20 miles outside the city center. Huge local bazaars offer a taste of local life, and although modern restaurants serving western cuisine are still in short supply, the thriving cafe culture here more than makes up for any lack of home comforts.

Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, is a fast-emerging Central Asian city surrounded by mountains, and presents a short-yet-fascinating history deeply rooted in Soviet-era Russia. Situated at the confluence of the Varzob and Kofar Nihon Rivers, Tajikistan's largest city sits in the very west of the country, close to the border of Uzbekistan. Up until the early 20th century, Dushanbe remained an isolated desert village before being discovered by the Soviets and transformed into a center of cotton and silk production.

Today, the city boasts enough sights to keep the modern tourist happy for a good few days, with impressive attractions such as Somoni Statue, numerous museums and galleries, as well as the ancient Gissar Fortress 20 miles outside the city center. Huge local bazaars offer a taste of local life, and although modern restaurants serving western cuisine are still in short supply, the thriving cafe culture here more than makes up for any lack of home comforts.

Experiences

Botanical Garden Dushanbe

For a green escape from the city, a visit to the capital’s much-loved Botanical Gardens is a highly-recommended activity. The park area contains an interesting array of trees, plants and flowers from all over the world. Covering an area of around 40 hectares, the gardens can be found just a short drive away from the city center.

Gissar Fortress

Situated approximately 20 miles outside the city, Gissar Fortress makes an interesting little excursion outside the capital with its two giant turrets and rolling countryside in the background. Although lying in ruins today, the fortress was once an important administrative and political headquarters of ancient Tajikistan. Visitors can fully explore the site, getting up close to the three-foot thick stone walls, crumbling staircases, and lofty ledges.

Gurmej Museum of Musical Instruments

Located in central Dushanbe, Gurmej Museum of Musical Instruments offers a fascinating array of instruments - both old and new - from around Tajikistan and the Central Asian region. Boasting over 100 models in total, the instruments on display are mostly of the string variety, including the tar, rubab, tanbur,and dutor. The museum was founded in 1990 by the famous Tajik musician and actor Gurmej Zavkibekov.

Somoni Statue

One of the major attractions of Dushanbe, Somoni Statue rises high above the city streets, depicting the 10th-century founder of the Samanid dynasty. Located in the center of the city, a large arch towers above, topped off with a magnificent gold crown to create quite a spectacle. The statue is in the middle of one of the key intersections in the city, and guests can get up close by walking up the central steps leading up.

The National Museum of Antiques and Dushanbe Buddha

Etched firmly into the travel itineraries of most travelers to the Tajikistan capital is The National Museum of Antiques, situated in the heart of Dushanbe. The centerpiece of the museum is a 40-foot-long reclining Buddha statue, believed to be over 1,600 years old. Named ‘Dushanbe Buddha’, the statue is the largest of its type in the whole of Central Asia, and sits alongside a host of other interesting artifacts and exhibitions in the museum.

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