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Destination: Tajikistan

WHY TO VISIT TAJIKISTAN

You will be able to start with the route of the Pamir which leaves from the valleys of the Badakhchan to rise to the city of Mourgab and then follow the edge of the lake of Karakol: this course of mountain is splendid, and you will admire in the passage the hot springs , The yurts lost in superb landscapes, and the old burials that punctuate the journey.

Dushanbe, the capital, is in full evolution: again peaceful and rather rich, it still possesses Soviet architecture, which gradually gives way to new modern constructions, all on a mountain scenery. You will discover the National Museum opened in 2013, with its authentic or reconstructed archaeological pieces; Parks decorated with fountains where the National Library and the Palais des Nations stand but above all the highest flag of the world (Bayrak) placed on top of a mast 165 m high to celebrate the 20th anniversary of independence; The building of the Union of Writers with its carved stone statues; The green bazaar, very lively and colorful; The botanical gardens where wooden pavilions are erected with magnificent sculptures ... Not to mention the largest tea house in the world with its decorations of blue earthenware.

Trekking enthusiasts will go to the mountains northwest of Dushanbe, the Fan Mountains: high valleys, emerald-colored lakes, encounters with the shepherds, you will experience a real adventure from the end of the world in a breathtaking setting.

Close to Afghanistan, the valley of Wakhan is home to wonders, still hidden: hospitable villages, sanctuaries and forts, vertiginous cliffs, admirable views of the snow-capped peaks of the Hindu Kuch, varied landscapes dot this valley to traverse In 4X4.

WHAT TO SEE IN TAJIKISTAN

Top destinations in Tajikistan are:

  • Dushanbe
  • Isfara
  • Khorog
  • Zeravshan
  • Penjikent
  • Pamir Mountains & Pamir Highway
  • Wakhan Valley
  • Fann Mountains
  • Istaravshan
  • Khujand
  • Iskander Kul
  • Murghab
  • Langar
  • Yamchun
  • Namadgut

WHEN TO GO TO TAJIKISTAN

Best period to visit Tajikistan is from March to May.

In the summer temperatures are very high, and the winters are particularly harsh, especially in the mountains. It is the intermediate seasons which are the most favorable to visit Tajikistan: from March to May it is mild and it is the good time to discover the south because elsewhere the rains are quite frequent.

September and October are also very good months to travel in this country.

Following a list of typical festival and celebrations of Tajikistan.

  • Roof Of The World Festival: The Roof of the World Festival will span the first days of August, taking place in Khorog,  the capital of the Pamir region of Tajikistan. The Roof of the World Festival is a premier showcase for folk music of many genres from the Central Asian region. It gathers performers abroad from Azerbaijan and Pakistan to Afghanistan and the Caucasus. Between 12,000 to 15,000 guests are expected to attend the seventh annual festival, making it arguably the most important cultural event of the historically remote region. While the festival will feature acts on stage equipped with microphones, some performances will also be held in different parts of the Khorog Central Park. This draws on the natural acoustics of the environment to create an intimate festival atmosphere.
  • Dushanbe Ethno-Jazz Festival: Kicking off the summer in Central Asia is the Dushanbe Ethno-Jazz Festival held in mid-May, bringing together a collection of Tajik, Kyrgyz, Kazakh and Uzbek jazz musicians, as well as a few Western performers. The festival constitutes a fusion of West and East, not only in the scope of performers but in the styles of music. Central Asian musicians blend traditional motifs with jazz. The festival features Tajik jazz groups both established and up-and-coming. There’s even a Tajikistan-based American consular officer with a passion for jazz.
  • Nawruz: 20-22 March. Nawruz is Central Asia’s New Year celebration, on the spring equinox. In Tajikistan, it is celebrated with holiday dishes such as plov and the labour-intensive sumalak, prepared only by women stirring the pot day and night, chatting, singing and dancing. Dushanbe holds celebrations and Hissar is the locus of a big buzkashi and gushtingiri (local brand of wrestling) festival.
  • At Chabysh: Murghab, July. Well-known At Chabysh festival featuring a long distance horse race, buzkashi and other horse games, concerts, poetry contest, handicrafts exhibition, yurt village and more. Part of the festival is held at Peak Lenin base camp, Kyrgyzstan. Trip report here.
  • Didor Film Festival: October, Dushanbe. Originally conceived as a Persian movie festival, it has now expanded its scope to take in Russian and European movies. There is no website, so check with tourism officials or local media to find out when it is held.
  • Orozo Ait: Called Eid Al-Fitr in the Arabic world, this celebration ends Ramadan with tasty food. Tajiks and Uzbeks take Ramadan more seriously than Kyrgyz, Turkmen and Kazakhs.
  • Kurban Ait: Called Eid Al-Adha in the Arabic world, on this Muslim holiday it is traditional to go to mosque, sacrifice a sheep and give meat to the poor.
  • Falak Festival: Dushanbe, around 8-12 October. Falak Day is celebrated on October 12, but the international Falak festival is usually held a bit before that day. Falak is a type of sung poetry typical for Southern Tajikistan. Usually falak is performed with the accompaniment of musical instruments such as dutar (dumbrak), string-bow instrument (gijak) and wind instrument (tutak).

HOW TO REACH AND TRAVEL THROUGH TAJIKISTAN

It is the air way to get to this country: you will arrive at Dushanbe airport via Frankfurt or Istanbul, or via Dubai and Moscow.

For your travel within the country, collective taxis serve the main cities from Dushanbe. You can also hire several a 4X4 with driver to get to the Pamir.

by plane, main airports are

by train

by car

GENERAL INFORMATION ON TAJIKISTAN

country entry requirements: passport + visa (on arrival, check your visa requirements)

health tips & vaccination: drink only bottled water and avoid ice. Vaccine against meningitis, hepatitis A and B, typhoid and tuberculosis are recommended.

local currency: Tajikistani Somoni

local time zone: GMT+6

electricity: type C, F and I (220 V, 50 Hz)

mobile phone operators:

WHAT TO DO IN TAJIKISTAN

typical food in Tajikistan

  • Plov: A hearty one-pot dish of rich, lamb fat and root vegetables
  • Lagman: Meat soup with noodles and vegetables
  • Mante: Steamed meat dumplings that may be served with a spicy dip
  • Mastoba: big pieces of mutton are fried with tomatoes and other vegetables, then water is added to be cooked in for 20 minutes with subsequent addition of rice and katyk
  • Ugro: Large pieces of mutton or beef are put in cold water along with carrots and onions and cook until it boils. Then they add peas (preliminary soaked), and in 30-40 minutes - potatoes in the boiling mixture. Ugro (the finest noodles) is prepared separately. Before serving the soup is seasoned with sour milk, chopped greens.
  • Shavlya: Fried mutton pieces are covered with hot water or broth; salt, pepper, straw-cut carrots are added and cook until it starts boiling. After that they add browned onions, rice, cook until the mixture thickens and stew in oven until ready.
  • Kaurmo Shurbo: Mutton flesh is fried in a pot until brown crust formation; then they put straw-cut onions, carrots and fry for another 5-7 minutes. After that they put tomatoes cut in small pieces. All this is covered with cold water and cooked until it boils on small fire. 30 minutes before it's ready it is necessary to add potatoes, shredded Bulgarian pepper, spices. Cooked shurbo is to be strewn with greens. Boiled meat and potatoes are served separately on a wooden dish.
  • Atola: Thinly chopped onion is fried in melted sheep fat, and then flour is added to be fried to golden color. After that the mixture is covered with water and stewed for 8 -10 minutes. The ready soup should be a thick a sour-cream. Before serving the soup is seasoned with vegetable oil, salt, pepper, spices.
  • Naryn: Smoked and fresh mutton, lard and kazy are boiled until ready; after that they are taken out from broth, cooled down and cut in straws. Noodles are boiled in salted water. They serve it on a plate; first go meat, lard, kazy, noodles and browned onion; then they strew it with pepper add hot broth.
  • Beshbarmak: The Tajik/Kyrgyz of the Eastern Pamir frequently serve this tasty dish involving large pieces of mutton in a broth with noodles or potatoes
  • Non: Flat bread served with every meal. Custom dictates that diners should never turn their bread upside down or throw their bread away
  • Apricots: Apricot jam and dried apricots appear on most Tajik tables
  • Shish Kebabs chopped or chunks of meat (usually mutton) or vegetables cooked on operfire on a spit
  • Kabobsground meat (mutton) minced together with onion with spices, salt, and pepper. The mass is used to form sausages that are floured and fried in fat until crust. Onions rings are browned. Semi cooked kabobs are put into the onions with some meat broth and stew until ready. Served with greens and garlic. 
  • Shakhlet: beef meat crushed on meat grinder is fried with onions and mixed with boiled rice; forcemeat is wrapped in internal fat; golubtsi are fastened with a thread and boiled in broth. Serve with sour cream sauce.
  • Sambusa Baraki: The stiff dough is made from flour, eggs, salt, and water. Then big flat cakes are rolled out, greased, made in a roll; then cut again and rolled out again. Forcemeat (mutton with finely cut tail fat + spices) is put on the unrolled dough and then triangular pies are made. Authentic sambusu is baked in tandyr. It turns out multilayered, fragrant, juicy and very tasty
  • Katlama: Stiff unleavened dough is repeatedly rolled out thin, greased and shaped as envelops. The last layer is made into a roll which is cut into slices. They are rolled out again and deep fried.
  • Tajik Pel'menis With Greens: Unleavened dough is rolled out thin, cut in squares. On each square the stuffing is put (chopped greens of coriander, parsley, raikhon, sorrel, green onions, all salted and peppered). After the edges are pinched together, pel'menis are steam cooked. Served with sour milk or sour cream.
  • Pilita: Sour dough is cut into equal pieces and rolled out in 60 - 70 cm strips. Each strip is folded in half, braided and then fried in a plenty of fat. The ready twiglets are strewn with powdered sugar.
  • Tukhum Barak: Unleavened dough made with milk is rolled out thin and made into 8 cm-wide and 20 cm-long strips. The strips are folded double longwise, the edges are pinched together; the resulted pouches are filled with stuffing and pinched tightly from the open side and boiled in salted water. Stuffing - straw-cut onion browned in melted butter + finely chopped boiled eggs. Very tasty when served with sour cream.
  • Shima: Unleavened dough is divided into parts, greased with vegetable oil and left for 5-10 minutes, then each loaf is extended and twisted with fast movements repeatedly to obtain thin strings. Noodles are cut, boiled and washed. Meat is finely cut, fried with onions; after adding tomato paste it is fried for another 10 minutes. Then water and vinegar are added to cook until ready. When served the noodles is warmed up to be seasoned with meat and sauce and strewn with chopped eggs and garlic.

souvenirs from Tajikistan

  • soviet memorabilia
  • traditional needlework and pachwork on felt, cotton and wool
  • Fabrics: ZandonaAlocha (a bright, multi-colored striped fabric from silk and cotton), Bekasam (a multi-color semi-silk fabric with striped, patterned ornament), Brocade silk fabric, Karbos (cotton fabric), Shokhi-kamus (silk dense fabric with rich patterns), Chit (cotton, ornamented fabric)
  • Suzanian embroidered and decorative tribal textile
  • Gulduzigold embroidery made on pre-drawn pattern (mos tpopular patterns are: Oftob (sun), mavzh (wave), Bulbul (Nightingale), Chashma bulbul (nightingale’s eye), Sadbarg (rose))
  • Zaminduzi, a multi-colored ornamentation applied all over the used material
  • Abrbandy, a kind of printing
  • Lace 
  • Rumol, man's waste scarf decorated with embroidery of various colors
  • Toki - kallapush, skull-cap, a traditional part of a national Tajik costume. The most popular are chusti - man's black-and-white skull-caps: standard patterns - bodom (almonds) or kalamfur (cayenne) embroider on white silk.
  • leatherware
  • carvings
  • clay products

SIMPLE DICTIONARY

Hello: Salom

Goodbye: Xajr

How are you?: Şumo cī xeled?

Thank you: Sipos

What is your name?: Nomi şumo cī?

How much is it?: In cand pul?

Sorry: Buʙaxşed

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