After a one hour drive from the creepy haunted Soviet sanitorium, we arrived in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe. Formerly a small village known for its weekly Monday bazaar (the name “Dushanbe” means Monday), it gained global attention in 1920 when the emir of Bukhara fled here temporarily. Afterwards, significant railroads were laid through the area and Dushanbe was soon named Tajikistan’s capital. Within a few decades, a small village became a bustling metropolis.
Our first stop was at Chaykhona Rokhat tea house, a Soviet-era institution and a classic place to visit in Dushanbe known for its a beautiful wedding hall inside:
We then visited the surprisingly impressive National Museum Of Antiquities of Tajikistan:
This museum helpfully has their exhibits labeled in 3 languages including English, and chronicles the history of the region and Tajikistan since the discovery of a 2,000 year old skeleton of a princess buried with her 2 slaves:
Not to mention, at 13m in length, the largest Buddha in Central Asia:
Afterwards we did the obligatory visit to the local market, the Green Bazaar:
By dusk we stopped over at the city’s central park, the central hub of all political and social aspects of Dushanbe.
In the distance are a few impressive Apartment Towers:
The National Library, completed in 2012:
The Presidential Palace:
By it, Bayrak, the 2nd tallest flagpole in the world (after the one in Jeddah, and before the one in Baku)
The statue of the father of Tajikistan, Ismoil Somoni:
In front, the parliament:
Parchan, a white marble column topped with gold:
And arguably the most impressive, the Rudaki Statue underneath his blue mosaic arc:
Then it was off to dinner:
And then we capped off the night with bowling at Taj Bowling:
The next morning we woke up to a glorious breakfast spread at our hotel, Hotel Tajikmatlubot (every “basic” room you pay for is actually a full suite!).
After breakfast the group headed to the Hissar Fort 30km away from Dushanbe, a restored fort destroyed by the Russians in 1924. The original part is only the twin-towers making up the gateway; the rest are the result of recent restoration efforts.
Although Lonely Planet thumbs their noses at this place, we found it worth a visit.
Climb a hill for views over the area:
Afterwards, drive back to Dushanbe and stop by a humongous new teahouse that the President just built for the locals.
Looking like a giant watermelon, it’s still under construction at time of posting.
For example its bottom floor isn’t quite ready to serve any tea:
But its upstairs interior opens up to a giant wedding hall, already ready for…weddings
Then we visited the Gurminj Museum, a small place featuring a collection of antique musical instruments and occasionally becomes a performing space for local musicians to get together and jam.
Don’t forget to visit the World’s Biggest Teahouse, doubling as a giant movie theater inside (which was playing Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 3D)
Then we waltzed around the flagpole once more, attracting a crowd of onlookers when we tried out this random carnival thing by punching a rubber mannequin for prizes.
We then commandeered 2 buggies and raced each other around the area to the music of Indiana Jones playing in the background.
Around dusk it was time for Chinese-Tajik dinner, and now it’s off to the airport for to the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek!
– At time of posting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, it was 44.6 °F – Humidity: 57% | Wind Speed: 10km/hr | Cloud Cover: partly cloudy