Terrific Tajikistan: Explore the Silk Road’s Most Magnificent Mountains
One of the world’s most visually striking destinations, Tajikistan is blessed with remarkable natural landscapes and extremely friendly, welcoming people.
EXPLORE THE SILK ROAD’S
MOST MAGNIFICENT MOUNTAINS
One of the world’s most visually striking destinations, Tajikistan is blessed with remarkable natural landscapes and extremely friendly, welcoming people. This Central Asian gem remains almost completely unknown to western tourists, making it all the more alluring to the adventurous traveler. Over 93% of the country’s land is mountainous with some peaks reaching nearly 25,000 feet, and ranges such as the Pamirs and the Fann offer some of the best hiking in Aisa. Beyond outdoor exploits, don’t miss Dushanbe, the capital city, with its wide leafy boulevards, parks and gardens and surprisingly grand monuments and architecture. The ancient city of Pendjikent in western Tajikistan—just a short drive over the border from Samarkand in Uzbekistan—is a must for history buffs.READ MORE
ALONG THE PAMIR HIGHWAYKarakul Lake
In a region not short of spectacular road trips, this is one of the most exciting. Extending from Dushanbe to the ancient city of Osh, across the Kyrgyzstan border, the M41 is famous for a reason. Whether bending along the hem of the country, following the Pyanj River or winding across remote uplands, this route is one of the world's most inspiring journeys. Highlights of the road are myriad. They include the Shurabad Pass where travelers catch their first glimpse of the raging Pyanj River that divides Tajikistan from Afghanistan. Another unforgettable pitstop is Balun-Kul, a mirrorlike lake that is especially striking in the morning when the light reflects the mineral streak of a low-multi-colored ridge opposite.
DUSHANBE DELIGHTSNational Library Square
First time visitors to Dushanbe are often shocked to find a vibrant cosmopolitan destination bustling with life. A delightful city built around parks, lakes, and fountains, it is one of the most appealing conurbations in Central Asia. Indeed, many visitors find themselves grateful for a few days in Dushanbe to while away their time at the city’s outdoor cafes and restaurants. Highlights include extensive Rudaki Park with its beautiful canopy of mature trees and the city's impressive National Museum. Dushanbe has a thriving art scene and is a great place to see traditional and cultural works, as well as enjoy elevated takes on classic Tajik dishes such as mantu (dumplings) and osh, a savory-sweet pilaf.
ROADS LESS TRAVELEDWakhi people, Wakhan Valley
Mountains dominate Tajikistan, so it makes sense that most of the country's attractions are natural. Highlights include the Wakhan Valley near the Afghan border—peppered with Silk Road forts, Buddhist ruins, and views of the snowbound Hindu Kush—the mountain drive between Dushanbe and Khojand, and the fledgling hiking destination of the Fann Mountains, a wonderland full of rugged alpine landscapes and stunning glacial lakes. The region offers an ideal combination of village inns and the ancient trails that connect them, and is easily accessible from the Zeravshan River Valley and the regional urban center, Pendjikent. Other must-sees around Tajikistan range from the prehistoric rock art at Langar, where steep mountain slopes are home to 6000 examples of ancient petroglyphs, to the bubbling hot springs at Garm Kashma, which are famous for clearing up skin problems and other ailments.
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