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Dushanbe

The Central Asian city of Dushanbe is a pleasant and peaceful green city with neoclassical architecture, museums, cafés, markets and monuments, as well as an opera-ballet theater. The Tajik capital is surrounded by scenic mountain areas great for activities such as trekking, mountain climbing and horseback riding. Quiet city destination well off the beaten tourist path.

Dushanbe is the capital of the Central Asian republic of Tajikistan. The city is located on the lower slopes of the Hissar Mountains above Kafirnigan Valley in Western Tajikistan. Dushanbe is a clean, European-style city that has recovered from the damage caused by civil war in the 1990s, and is now a booming capital and cultural center. Little known by tourism, Dushanbe hosts a good infrastructure, making it a good base for excursions into Tajikistan’s mountain areas. The city is inhabited mainly by Tajik people, but there are also many minority groups living in Dushanbe, including Uzbeks and Russians. Tajik is the official language, but Russian is spoken widely in business and government offices. Sights and activities in Dushanbe: sports, trekking, museums and monuments.  Dushanbe is not a very touristic city but still has a good range of things to see, and the surrounding mountain areas are excellent for many sports activities. The main sights in Dushanbe are all situated close to the main avenue, Prospekt Rudaki. They include the Ismael Somoni Monument, a statue of a historic leader with a golden crown, Haji Yacoub Mosque, a Russian Orthodox church, and a synagogue from the 19th century. The Palace of Unity, also called Vahdat Palace, is    a congress center and the headquarters of the ruling People’s Democratic ​.

Party of Tajikistan

Museums & entertainment.  Dushanbe offers plenty of interesting museums, including the National Museum of Antiquities, the Ethnographic Museum, and the Tajik Unified Museum, a national museum with exhibitions for example about natural history. There is also a modern Opera Ballet Theater in Dushanbe, as well as several art studios and many interesting and cheap markets. The Victory Park offers good views over the city, which is also home to botanical gardens and a zoo. Outside Dushanbe, the Hissar Mountains offer several sights and activities, including the 13th century Fort Hissar 10 kilometers out of the city and the beautiful mountain resort of Varzob just five kilometers from Dushanbe. The world’s tallest dam can also be found near Dushanbe: Nurek Dam in Vaksh River is 300 meters high, produces most of Tajikistan’s electricity, and offers great views.

Trekking around Dushanbe is a popular activity with several routes to choose from, and mountain climbing can be done in      Fansky Gory, northwest from Dushanbe. Horse riding and mountain biking tours are a popular way to get to know the beautiful mountain areas around Dushanbe.

Dushanbe travel information and practical tips.  Dushanbe has a continental climate with hot and dry summers and cold and snowy winters.    There is major variation in temperatures according to altitude, and the mountain areas around the city have more extreme weather conditions than the city itself. Spring and summer are good times to visit Dushanbe. The city receives relatively plenty of rain, most usually during spring.  Traveling to Dushanbe can be done by air, by road or by rail.

The city has an international airport with flights to Dushanbe from mainly Russia and Asia. You can also travel to Dushanbe by rail from all the way from Moscow. There are trains to Dushanbe also from the neighboring Uzbekistan. There are minibuses and car transport available to Dushanbe from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as from elsewhere in Tajikistan. However, mountain roads into Dushanbe close for winter. Domestic flights to Dushanbe are available from Khojand and Khorog.  Local public transport is run mainly by buses. Taxis are also well available in Dushanbe. Renting a car in Dushanbe with a local driver is good option for bus travel. Car rental is available through local travel agencies. The city lacks street names, so navigating can be hard sometimes.

Visitor services. There is a fairly good number of hotels in Dushanbe, ranging from Soviet and Western style business hotels to cheap local guesthouses. Restaurants in Dushanbe are plentiful with a good variety of cuisines. Many cafes and some nightlife options can also be found. English is not spoken widely in Dushanbe, so it is useful to learn some phrases in Russian or Tajik to be able to get around.

Sughd

The north is Kuramin range (height up to 3768m) and Mt Mugul height up to 1624m.  In the south-Turkestan height to 5509 m, height up to 5489 Zarafshan m Hissar range of northern slopes.  Between Kurama and Turkestan ridge is the western part of the Fergana Valley.  Zerafshan valley separates the Zarafshan and Turkestan ranges.  Sughd wealth from the bowels of the earth: coal, lignite, oil, mineral wax, copper and complex metals, bismuth, iron, fluorite, phosphate rock, salt, molybdenum, suriy, mercury, mineral colors, materials, etc.

In 2000, Tajikistan Leninabad region was renamed to Sughd.  This name is rooted in the depth of ages.  Or Sogdiana Sogdiana – the name of an ancient center of civilization, a powerful state in North Asia, including the region.

Khujand

The first written records are found in the works of contemporaries of Alexander the Great.  Ariana, Justin and Aristotle.  2500 years after the city has repeatedly shoots invaders rose from the ruins. The oldest historical object, according to archaeologists and historians, is the city citadel, situated on the north-west of Khujand.

Since ancient times, being at the crossroads of trade routes known East Khujand was one of the major economic, military, strategic and cultural center of Central Asia.  Through it passed the so-called “Silk Road” linking the ancient Greece, Rome, Asia Minor, Egypt and China.  Silk, jewelry made by the masters of Khujand, were known even outside of the East.  About the past and the meaning of these crafts have become like the old names of urban neighborhoods: Zargaron (jewelers), pillakashon (shelkomotalschiki) Sangburon (masons), etc. Khujand and now maintained its economic and strategic the position.  Through the “Gate of Fergana Valley”, so called Khujand in the Middle Ages, is highway that links the city of Zarafshan valley from Andijan, Namangan region of Uzbekistan, Osh and Batken region of Kyrgyzstan.

 

Hillfort ancient Penjikent

The result was found standing alone on the hill of the citadel with palace Divashtich (last ruler Penjikent), two churches with large courtyards, streets, shops, workshops, markets, walls, multi-room two-and even three-story home, the richest of which were decorated with wall paintings and wooden sculptures.

But most famous for the settlement of ancient Penjikent picturesque and colorful murals on, continue, despite the more than 1,300-year presence in the rubble.  Hillfort ancient Penjikent is an archaeological monument V-VII centuries and covers an area of 13.5 hectares.

Hillfort consists of 3 zones fortifications shakhristan with a defensive wall, suburban estates and necropolis.  The city was built in the V century and lasted until the VII century.  Excavations carried out since 1947.  The walls of many houses have survived to the second floor.  Just unearthed two palace complexes, two temple complexes, 2 bazaar complex, 8 streets, dozens of multi-room houses of the nobility and the common people, the city walls V-VIII centuries.  Stories of ancient Panjakent diverse artists.  Places of worship – the personification of heavenly bodies (sun, moon, and other planets in the solar system), a reflection of the ancestral cult, water elements (Zeravshan) Hindu deities (Shiva).  Genre show battle scenes, scenes of feasting, hunting, combat sports, playing musical instruments, and backgammon, dancing, distribution yield.  Also found the remains of carved wood and clay monumental sculpture, the remainder of the ruins of the temple buildings.  The art of ancient Penjikent, along with features of Byzantine, Indian, Persian, and possess a special original style.  Hillfort Penjikent the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Tajikistan on December 31, 1972 included in the register of monuments of history and culture of the Republic of Tajikistan, the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Tajikistan on April 4, 1979, № 112, announced Pandzhikentskim monument reserve.  In the scientific and historical point of reference is the ancient Pandzhikent Sogdian culture of the functioning of the Silk Road.

Kulob

In the upper reaches of the Amu Darya River, in what is now northern Afghanistan, the Pamirs and Amu-Darya in mountain areas of Tajikistan, where the modern Kulob, lived sedentary Bactrians. In Bactria in ancient times, the population was engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry and other agricultural sectors. In the IV century BC, Alexander the Great, after the defeat of the Achaemenid power, invaded the Central Asian countries. In the spring of 329, he captured almost all of Bactria, and Greek troops in Termez and Kabadiyan headed to the area of modern Kulob.

Historical evidence suggests that Alexander conquered the area of the upper Amur Darya, and then moved to the capital of Sogdiana Marakanda. In Bactria often uprisings against Alexander. In the Huttalyan “as they called the area between Pyadzhem and Vakhsh” in areas Bubasenu rebels during the fight against Alexander held the longest. This mountainous terrain favored areas. Bubasenu identified areas with areas of Kulob and Baljuvon. In defending its independence, the people fought bravely against foreign invaders. But for the military superiority of the enemy, and betrayal of the local nobility rebel resistance was broken.

In order to create strong points of Greco-Macedonian colonization, Alexander built a number of cities in Bactria – outposts. One of them was erected in Huttalene, and he is done in many other cities of similar occurred was given the name Alexandria on Oaks.

Even in the tenth century AD, according to scientists in Huttalyane city was known by the name of Sikandra – Eastern form of the name Alexander. The well-known Tajik scientists Bobojon Gafurova Alexandria on Oaks (Amu Darya) was probably in the area of present Kulob. Bactria had wide cultural ties with Greece and India. In the II century AD in the state Huttal became very quickly spread Buddhism, which is firmly held there until the VIII century. Entrenched, Buddhism became spread away toward Gisarskoy Valley and with it began to spread Indian culture. The fact that here Buddhism, say some sources, which indicates that even in the VII. population of the region worshiped Buddha. Evidence of this is found in Khatlon 13-meter high statue of Buddha, which is now on display at the Museum Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan.

In the II. BC of Central Asia was populated by a tribe Tokhars. Therefore the area located in the upper reaches of the Amu-Darya, called Tocharistan. This area was divided into several small independent or semi-independent states one of which was called Huttalyan (Khatlon).

In IV. AD coming to the end of the process of disintegration of the Kushan Empire. By this time the tribes tokhars already mixed with the local population. In place of the collapsed state of the Kushan, including in Bactria (Tokharistan) installed power Eftalits.
Tocharistan formally became a part of Eftalits and actually had an independent state. Under the pressure of the invasion of nomadic Turks in the VI century Eftalits state is in decline and there is a Turkic khanate, which included the whole of Central Asia, including the territory of modern Kulob.

Kurgan-Tube

Kurgan-Tube (tadzh. kurgonteppa) – a city in southwestern Tajikistan, the administrative center of the Khatlon region.  Located 100 km south of the city of Dushanbe, in the center of a rich oasis in the Vakhsh valley.

According to some data Qurghonteppa appeared in the VII century, on the other – much later.  The city is located in the upper part of the valley, in the center of a rich oasis.  The territory of modern         Kurgan-Tube, in the Middle Ages was known as Khuttal, and the city was known as Levakend or Vakhsh.  These places are known for good hands and a special breed of sheep.    Near Kurgan-Tube, on the  river Vakhsh, is an interesting historical place – the ruins of    ancient Lagman (X-XIII cc.)  Archaeologists have discovered an ancient water pipehere, wells, lined with brick wallsand towers. This city was the largest settlements of ancient Bactria.

12 km east of Kurgan-Tube hill rises Ajina Tappeh, there are remains of Buddhist monastery VII – VIII centuries.  (Sanctuaries, cells, stupas, sculptures, murals), including a 12-meter figure of the reclining Buddha.

Today, Kurgan-Tube is one of the largest cities of the country, the regional center of Khatlon region.  There are several large industrial enterprises, universities, colleges, high schools, and hotels.  Near the town has an airport, entered service Station.  About the history of “tell” Historical Museum.  The total number of its exhibits is 700.

An extensive exhibition of the museum – is a peculiar story of the past and present of the city of Kurgan-Tube.  Feature of the museum – diorama “teppan Kurgon” and “melted kosibon.”  Climbs up the picture on the theme of the past Vakhsh valley, where in addition to the scorched earth, merciless sun and rare caravan was nothing.  Then before the eyes of the spectators there is a beautiful view of the valley-date – with the cities and modern buildings.  Exposition of the museum contain a lot of interesting information about the arts and crafts as embroidery Tajiks “Susanna”, ceramics, wood and copper products.

Near the town of Kurgan-Tube, the river Vakhsh, there is an interesting historical place – ruins of ancient Lagman (X-XIII cc.) In the middle of XX century, archaeologists discovered an ancient water pipes, wells, the brick, walls and towers.  This city is one of the largest settlements of the ancient Bactria and cover a large area at the time – 43 hectares.

Urban Legends

According to legend, a local prince ordered all passers bring skullcap land.  On the man-made mound built observatory.  So folk etymology interprets the name of the city, the center of which there is really mound.  In fact, the Turkic word “Tube” means “hill”.

Fan Mountains

The Fan Mountains provide some of the most attractive scenery in the whole of Tajikistan. They are situated in the north west of the country, between the Hissar and Zerafshan Ranges, west of the Anzob pass. The Fan Mountains are often known as the “Land of Lakes”, thirty of which can be seen here in a wide variety of colours. This includes the legendary Iskanderkul Lake, believed to have been created by Alexander the Great. The amazingly colorful Alauddin and Kuli Kalon Lakes meanwhile are found in the narrow Zindon Valley.

The Fan Mountains contain eleven peaks over 5,000 meters in height, the​ tallest of which is Chimtarga(5489m)

History

The first scientific exploration of the Zerafshan Valley and Fan ​Mountains​was conducted by the Russian “Turkestan” expedition in 1968.A. Fedchenko, the famous explorer of the Pamirs was part of this exploration. The second expedition to the Fan Mountains was conducted two years later by the Russian general A. Abramov. Abramov started in Kuhistone Mastchoh, headed toward Varziminor (today Ayni) and then along the Dandaryo river to Iskanderkul.

In 1964, the alpinist Paganuzi opened the first tourist route and by the summer 1965, 12 tourist groups had visited the Fan Mountains.       Since then, the regions popularity with tourists has steadily increased.

Flora and Fauna

There is a huge variety of plants and wildlife in the Fan Mountains. The upper reaches of the mountains contain woodlands, steppe and meadows. The hillsides are often covered by juniper forests while in the valleys a wide range of fruit, nuts and berries can be found.

The area is home to rabbits, foxes, red marmots, wolves, black and brown bears, mountain goats and snow leopards. There are also a variety of birds to be found, these include: snow cocks, stone partridges, griffons, and quails.