Top events in Tajikistan

March
21

The Navruz Festival (Persian New Year) is intended to celebrate the coming of spring; however, in Tajikistan this festival is usually held in late...

July
18

Breaking the fast of Ramadan in a Muslim country is a big event and most families, even if they haven’t followed a fasting code, will hold an Eid...

August
09

The At Chabysh Horse Festival near Murghab is a lively event of horse-related activities including horse racing, horse-rider wrestling and...

Tajikistan
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Tajikistan

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Tajikistan Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

143,100 sq km (55,251 sq miles).

Population

7.9 million (2013).

Population density

55.3 per sq km.

Capital

Dushanbe.

Government

Republic. Gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Head of state

President Emomali Rahmon since 1994.

Head of government

Prime Minister Qohir Rasulzoda since 2013.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round, two-pin continental plugs are standard.

Following in the footsteps of ancient Silk Road traders, modern day travellers come to Tajikistan to experience a magical journey across the ‘Roof of the World,’ a land of soaring mountain ranges, deep ravines and high-altitude deserts.

Although Tajikistan is one of the most remote countries in the world, even the most isolated and inaccessible nooks of this nation host life; the mountains and deserts are home to Kyrgyz nomads, who eke out simple, self-sufficient lives as they have done in the region for generations. Intrepid travellers will endure some of the coldest temperatures on the planet to visit them, but these chilly conditions are tempered by the Kyrgyz’s warm hospitality.

An independent state since 1991, Tajikistan spent much of the last two centuries under Tsarist and Soviet rule. Ethnic Tajiks form the majority of the population, but there are also minority ethnic groups of Russian, Uzbek and Kyrgyz origin – a mix brought about by Stalin’s ‘divide and conquer’ strategy.

Tajikistan’s landscapes are just as dramatic as its political history. In the mountainous west, lofty peaks plunge into deep valleys where villages cling precariously to the cliffs-side above fast flowing rivers. In these villages, where most of the population are subsidence farmers, any available patch of land is terraced and cultivated with potatoes, cabbage and wheat.

Over in the east, the mountains plateau into a vast, high-altitude desert, which looks like a lunar-like landscape. This is a hostile part of the world, as the adventurer Marco Polo noted when he travelled through the region. “No birds fly here because of the height and the cold,” he wrote.

Most arrive in Tajikistan via its capital, Dushanbe, one of the prettier cities in Central Asia with its gilded palaces, leafy parks and pastel coloured neoclassical facades. Emerging from the shadows of Soviet rule, Dushanbe is desperate to impress; it boasts the largest teahouse and tallest flagpole in the world, which are, aside from a few museums and markets, about the extent of its attractions.

But Tajikistan isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey; a journey through history and geography, where warm a welcome awaits those intrepid enough to visit.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 21 September 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO).

The government of Tajikistan has recommenced issuing permits allowing travel to the GBAO by foreign nationals entering Tajikistan on tourist visas. However, it still can’t guarantee the security of foreign nationals in the area, and the FCO therefore continue to advise against all but essential travel to the region.

The situation is subject to frequent change at short notice. If you’re considering travel to the region you should contact the Embassy of Tajikistan for up to date information on whether permits are being issued.

Diplomats are still not permitted to travel to the GBAO. Due to these restrictions, the British Embassy will not be able to provide a full range of consular services to British nationals in the GBAO.

There was a shooting incident on the Tajikistan/Afghanistan border close to the town of Khorog, the administrative centre of GBAO on 10 June 2014, following earlier outbreaks of localised violence in Khorog in late May 2014. The government has increased security and there is a heightened military presence on the streets. Further violence is possible.

If you’re currently in GBAO, you should consider leaving. If you decide to stay, you should keep off the streets for the time being and avoid any large gatherings. The FCO is following the situation closely and seeking further clarity regarding travel permits and the situation in the area. You should check this site regularly for further updates.

There are occasional clashes along the disputed Tajik/Kyrgyz border. A Tajik civilian was killed in an exchange of gunfire near the Vorukh enclave on 10 July 2014. There was a separate incident near Khuja Bokirgon on 25 August. There’s a risk of further localised violence and border closures at any time.

Tajikistan’s borders with neighbouring countries are subject to closure without notice. Check in advance which border posts are currently open. You may also wish to check with the British embassy in Dushanbe for up to date information on border restrictions.

The crossing points on the Tajik/Kyrgyz border at Guliston (Isfara region), Avchikalacha (Sughd region) and Kizil Art (Gorno-Badakhshan region) are open to British nationals. The border at Karamik (Jirgatol region) is currently only open to Tajik and Kyrgyz nationals.

The crossing points on the Tajik/Kyrgyz border at Karamik (Jirgatol region), Guliston (Isfara region), Avchikalacha (Sughd region) and Kizil Art (Gorno-Badakhshan region) are open to British nationals.

The crossing points on the Tajik/Uzbek border at Bratstvo (Tursunzade region), and at Fotehobod and Patar/Rabot (Sughd region) are open to British nationals holding visas.

There is a general threat from terrorism.

Tourism, health and transport infrastructure is poor and travel requires careful planning. Avoid off-road areas immediately adjoining the Afghan, Uzbek and Kyrgyz borders, which may be mined.

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