The largest city and capital of Tajikistan is Dushanbe and is situated at the confluence of Varzob River and the Kofarnihon River. The name Dushanbe means “Monday” in the Tajik language. The name reflects that the city grew on the side of a village that had a popular Monday marketplace.
The city of Dushanbe developed at a rapid pace after the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic was created in 1929. Between 1931 and 1961 the city was renamed as Stalinabad. The city was made into a center for silk and cotton production which brought thousands of people that relocated to the city. The city also increased due to the fact that the Tajiks that were migrating to Tajikistan following the transfer of Bukhara and Samarkand to the Uzbek SSR.
It was rumored that Moscow planned to relocate thousands of American refugees to Tajikistan before severe rioting broke out in February of 1990. The riots coincided with a wave of nationalist unrest that swept Transcaucasia and other Central Asian states during the twilight of Gorbachev’s era were caused by the riots that were caused by concerns about housing shortages for the Tajik population. There are a few sights to see as a tourist as well as some beautiful scenery to look at.
Listed below are some of the most popular places and attractions in Dushanbe:
1. Statue of Ismail Samani:
This is Dushanbe’s most noticeable monument as it occupies a prime section of real estate in the Maydani Azadi (Freedom Square). The statue of this 10th century ruler had replaced an older (and smaller) statue of Lenin.
2. Dolphinariums & Aquaparks:
Did you know that swimming with the dolphins creates an effect giving you a feeling of compassion and self-confidence, attention and self-control, joy and peace of mind? This would be an unforgettable day in the Sea-park; especially if you have children, they would love it.
3. Botanical Garden and Zoo:
The Dushanbe zoo is on the right bank of the Luchob River and in the center of the city. Unfortunately, because of financial impoverishment the zoo is in an unsatisfactory state. There are two botanical gardens in Dushanbe. One is the central botanical garden under the academy of science of Tajikistan located in the northern part of Dushanbe. The second one is located in the western part of Dushanbe, and under the Tajik State National University is the experimental botanical garden.
4. Gurminj Museum of Musical Instruments:
This museum is located behind the Office of the Mayor on Bokhtar Street which is in the center of Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Founded in 1990 by Gurminj Zavkibekov who was an actor and musician. This museum is worth a look with a collection of over 100 musical instruments
5. Ayni Academic Opera and Ballet Theater:
This is the country’s leading musical theater and is the center of cultural life of the capital. This is a must see while you are there.
6. Tajikistan National Museum:
This is where the tourist or any local visitor would be drawn into the history and cultural aspects of Tajikistan.
If you are still looking for more to do, there are many parks that would be nice to visit. There are many trails to hike that can take you to places you never knew existed. Just make sure you hire a guide or know your way back.