When traveling to Tajikistan, you might want to visit its capital, Dushanbe. Surprisingly, Dushanbe seems not to differ a lot from many other European capitals. However, if you go to the Tajik capital after exploring the other poverty-stricken Tajikistan regions, you may get the impression that you have entered another country.
Green pastures and snow-covered peak mountains visible from downtown cause Dushanbe is considered a delightful city surrounded by newly created buildings, parks, and monuments. The past is mixed with the present at every turn, while splendor contrasts with poverty. It is the city of Dushanbe!
The citizens of Dushanbe complain about public transport. They say that there are not enough courses, especially in the afternoon and in the evening. The most important and characteristic mode of transportation in this city and generally in the country is ‘marshrutka,’ a collective taxi that travels on a fixed route. Moreover, the country authorities plan to build the first metro line by 2040.
When did Dushanbe become Tajikistan’s capital?
Before the city became the capital of one of the former USSR republics, it used to be a small village mainly known for the Bazaar organized every Monday. By the way, “Dushanbe” in the Tajik language means literally “Monday”. In 1924, the city officially became the capital of Tajikistan, while until 1961, it was called “Stalinabad”, which means “the city of Stalin”.
What to do in the Tajikistan capital?
Preparing for your trip to Tajikistan, you probably planned to reach the peaks of the Pamir Mountains and explore more remote country regions than the capital city.
However, if you are a city lover, a 2-day stay in the Tajikistan capital is definitely worth considering. Even though Tajikistan is not the type of city that you’ll fall in love with at first sight, there are a few interesting places that you can add to your Tajik itinerary.
5 MUST-SEE SPOTS IN DUSHANBE
Whether you planned to visit Dushanbe or found yourself in this city by accident, you should go for a walk down the enormous Rudaki Park, situated in the west part of the city. Actually, the park is nothing else like a vast landscaped garden with numerous fountains. The fountain breeze may offer a nice sprinkling, especially during hot summer. There are also a few gold-plated monuments of important people for the country, like Ismoil Samoni (the current Tajikistan currency was named after him) or Rudaki, a prominent Persian poet.
The Presidential Palace
Walking down Rudaki Park, you will see a modern building situated out of the way of the main city street guarded by several security guards. We’re talking about the headquarters of President Rahmon, who has been ruling the country continuously since 1994.
This colossal structure dominating the city is heavily guarded, especially during international meetings of the Tajikistan President with other countries’ representatives. You can probably enter the building on a particular day when the President is not residing in it. However, it depends on your luck as sometimes the guards can even prohibit taking a picture of the Palace. The best way to capture the view on the photograph is to take it from outside the lake situated nearby.
Mehrgon is the largest market in the city where you can actually buy everything. The place is recommended especially for those willing to buy some fresh fruits and vegetables and some condiments.
The product range is impressively wide and prices relatively low. Nevertheless, you can always bargain for better prices. In this part of the world, Central Asia, foreign visitors stand out from the locals, and the local shoppers can rip them off. Watch out!
Being in the neighborhood of Somoni Square, you can easily reach the National Museum housed in a modern building with an elliptic roof and enormous vestibule. The exhibits are divided into different sections, e.g., historical, folklore, contemporary fine arts, and minerals.
History enthusiasts cannot skip this place when exploring the Tajikistan capital. Visiting this museum is the best lesson on the country’s history. You can find here, i.a., dioramas, ancient murals, wooden mihrab, or old musical instruments.
The museum has 24,000 square meters, and there are 22 rooms. Half a day is the minimum time you will probably need to spend to see all the museum displays.
If you think that you’ve already seen everything worth visiting in Dushanbe, you can go to Hissar Fortress, located about 24 km out of the city. You can take a taxi or marshrutka to get there. The trip takes about half an hour. Confirm the price before departure!
The fortress used to be a vast terraces complex with the stairs climbing toward the top of the fort. However, today the main remains that we can see are two tower gates.
The ruins of the 12th c. fortress were partially reconstructed, and, nowadays, tourists can explore them for a symbolic fee. There are some small gift shops so you can buy some souvenirs there. Hissar is a famous place for wedding sessions. When visiting the fortress, you will surely come across at least one newly married couple wishing to get some wonderful shots to commemorate one of the biggest days in their life.
As you may see, Dushanbe has a few exciting spots worth visiting. Definitely, it isn’t a top capital city in the world. However, those willing to see how different the city is from other Tajik regions should spend a few days here.
Apply for your Tajikistan e-visa and explore the Tajik capital and other parts of this mysterious country!