Visit the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, which lies in the Hissar valley in the southwest of the country only three hours from the border with Afghanistan. Known primarily for its Monday market (the name Dushanbe is derived from the Tajik word for Monday), it was no more than a village until the Trans-Caspian Railway reached it in 1929. Soviet power had only been established in the region for six years and, somewhat unoriginally, the city was renamed Stalinabad and proclaimed capital of the new Soviet Socialist Republic of Tajikistan. It was from here that Brezhnev launched his invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The main points of interest all lie on, or are close to Prospekt Rudaki, which runs from the railway station in the south to the bus station in the north. As well as the principal mosque, this area boasts a synagogue that dates back to the late 19th century, a Russian church and a columned opera house. Other features in the city include the Tajikistan Unified Museum, situated just north of the railway station in Ploshchad Aym, which has stuffed snow leopards and Marco Polo sheep amongst its exhibits. The ethnographic museum is on ulitsa Somoni, not far from the Hotel Tajikistan.