Dushanbe, Tajikistan

“Monday” – this is the translation of the name of the capital of Tajikistan, Dushanbe, the ancient Dyushambe, which also managed to stay Stalinabad for more than thirty years at the whim of fate (and power). At the beginning of the 17th century. a kishlak arose at the crossroads of Asian roads, where a bazaar was held on Mondays. Time passed, the village grew and soon turned into a district center, the noisy markets of which were in full swing with people and goods, not only one day a week – but the name remained. Modern Dushanbe is a city in which the wild breath of Asia is felt, and at the same time it is the cultural, economic and political center of the country. Under the neoclassical facades of skyscrapers, fragrant pilaf is prepared in the old-fashioned way in eateries, gray-bearded elders sip scalding tea in teahouses, and a peasant on a donkey will certainly come across in the stream of cars.

Note: according to allcitypopulation, the population of Tajikistan is 9.75 million (2021).

How to get to Dushanbe

From Moscow to Dushanbe can be reached by direct flights of Tajikistan Airlines or UTair. Travel time is 4 hours 20 minutes. S7 delivers to the capital of Tajikistan with a transfer in Novosibirsk. Residents of St. Petersburg can also get to Dushanbe on the wings of Tajikistan Airlines on Thursdays and Sundays or by flights of the STC Rossiya. The road will take 5 hours.

You can get from Dushanbe Airport to the city center by public transport: trolleybus No. 4, bus No. 8, minibuses No. 1, 7, 8, 14, 16, 33 or use taxi services.

You can also arrive in Dushanbe by train, three times a week following the route Moscow Kazanskaya – Volgograd – Atyrau – Termez – Dushanbe. This journey will last more than four days.

Transport in the city

The center of Dushanbe is, in fact, one main street and several secondary ones crossing it – so all this topographical “wealth” can be easily explored on foot. For longer trips, and also if after the next museum your legs refuse to serve you, you can hire a taxi. In addition, you can “go to the people” and take a ride on Dushanbe buses, trolleybuses and minibuses, tirelessly scurrying through the streets of the capital.

Taxi drivers in Dushanbe are guided more by prominent buildings or monuments (for example, the Opera House or the Rudaki monument) than by street names (by the way, most streets in the Tajik capital do not have one at all). Therefore, when leaving a hotel or a favorite cafe, it is worth remembering some visual landmark nearby – so that you can easily find your way back.

Cuisine and restaurants in Dushanbe

Tajik national cuisine can be tasted in catering establishments that are crowded in the city center, but also exist in its remote areas. You can freeze the worm with sandwiches with chopped sausages “kabobs” or the “kabobs” themselves, garnished with vegetable salads. Barbecue is cooked everywhere – from lamb or “mixed” with vegetables and fat tail fat. The meal is served with delicious bread baked in a primitive tandoor oven and a sour-milk drink called Ayran.

In addition, in Dushanbe there are a lot of restaurants of “friendly” cuisines – Uzbek, Georgian, Iranian and Turkish. Establishments popular among the local population are Turkish Cafe Merve and NBM (exclusively delicious continental breakfasts with fresh feta and olives are prepared here), Georgian Tiflis (extensive wine list) and Cafe Georgia (cheaper, but no less tasty), Middle Eastern Al -Sham and “Teahouse Rohat”. You can smell the spirit of Paris in the hot breath of Asia in the La Grande Dame brasserie – lavazza, pastries, baguettes and crepes.

Shopping and shops

Handicrafts, souvenirs and all the goods you need in life can be purchased in the old favorite Central Department Store – yes, yes, in the center of Dushanbe there is a “central, universal, fashionable” one. By the way, this is a good reason to nostalgic for the Moscow namesake of the times of socialism, when colanders, baby dolls and rubber boots were on the government shelves, and not “Westwood Viviennes” for five salaries. Goods of the Pamirs (wares made of yak wool, books and CDs) live in the Tilya Teppe shop in the shopping center of Bactria. For colorful Tajik robes, skullcaps, suzani embroidery, carpets and rugs, as well as extremely beautiful silk scarves, we recommend going to the Silk Way store on Shotemur Street, side by side with the Moscow State University branch. This is one of the best “souvenirs” in the city. Traditional Tajik silver jewelry (as well as their modern counterparts) is worth seeing at Modigliani, opposite the Opera and Ballet Theatre. For painting and sculpture in Tajik style, head to the Exhibition Hall of the Union of Artists (corner of Rudaki Avenue and Somoni Street) – most of the exhibited items are for sale. For oriental flavor, go to the traditional bazaar “Barakat”.

  • Are there Russian banks in Dushanbe

Entertainment and sights of Dushanbe

The main archaeological monument of the Tajik capital is located 26 km from the city – this is the Gissar fortress, a fortified fort with two madrasahs, a later mausoleum (16th century) and a vast internal square. The thickness of the fortress walls is more than 1 m; they are dotted with loopholes for rifles and cannons. The Hissar fort once served as the residence of the Bek, the governor of the Emir of Bukhara, whose possessions included Dushanbe.

Among modern monuments, one can single out a monument to the founder of the Tajik state, Ismail Somoni, and a statue of the poet Rudaki, who is considered the founder of Tajik classical poetry. In Rudaki Park you can see wonderful fountains, beautifully illuminated at night. Islamic architecture is represented by the mosque and madrasah of Haji Yakub.

You can learn more about Tajik history at the Museum of Antiquities, the Museum of Archeology and the Museum of Ethnography. The Gurminj Museum of Musical Instruments is extremely interesting – especially when musical evenings are held in its halls and the exhibits come to life in the hands of masters.

In the Republican Library you can admire the most valuable manuscripts of the great Firdowsi, Saadi and Ibn Sino.

Dushanbe, Tajikistan