Travel to Tajikistan
Not a lot of people know about Tajikistan, a small jewel of a country perched between Afghanistan and China. A Persian-speaking outpost in a predominantly Turkic region, Tajikistan is in many ways the odd one out in ex-Soviet Central Asia. With its roots in ancient Sogdiana and Bactria, the modern country is a fragile patchwork of mountain valleys, clans, languages and identities. Tajikistan is a particularly fascinating 'stan' - one that holds the world record for the tallest flagpole, where a mono brow is a sign of beauty and where the national sport is a game of polo played with the body of a dead goat. Beyond such quirky claims to attention, however, the country has epic landscapes and a culture textured by its position at the heart of the Silk Road.
Tajikistan is safe, stable and scenically spectacular. Getting there a traveler will discover a land of huge and beautiful mountains, second only in height to the Himalaya/Karakoram range, with people whose hospitality is an integral and natural part of their way of life. The attraction of the country is enhanced by its ancient civilisation, stretching back well over 2,000 years, and a rich cultural history intertwined with its Persian inheritance. There are many small-scale places of wonder: shrines to Islamic saints on sites with much older traditions, stopping places on the Silk Road, old mosques and madrassas, and ancient fortresses in the Wakhan Corridor set against the backdrop of mountains and glaciers. All this in a country with 300 sunny days a year, and an abundance of delicious fruit and vegetables available in the colourful bazaars.
Tajikistan is a traveler's paradise. One can travel widely through this extraordinary country, over the 'Roof of the World' in the Pamir Mountains to thousand-year-old fortresses in the Wakhan Corridor, across sun-baked southern plains to the border with Afghanistan, and along twisty dirt roads in the Fann Mountains to the verdant Fergana Valley in the north. Throughout, you will be stunned by the beauty of the countryside, the extraordinary wealth of history and the generous hospitality of the Tajik people.
The Pamir region – the ‘Roof of the World’ – is easily the country’s highlight, offering breathtaking high-altitude scenery, excellent ecotourism options, humbling mountain hospitality and the awesome Pamir Hwy – one of Asia’s greatest road trips. Once the playing fields of ‘Great Game’ spies and explorers, Tajikistan is now the playground for cutting-edge adventure travel, from walks and 4WDs through the Wakhan Valley to nights in remote Kyrgyz yurt camps.
Tajikistan is a country for the traveller rather than the tourist. It is a place for those ready to take the road less known, who want to discover a wild and beautiful landscape, meet warm, wonderfully hospitable people and walk in the steps of the giants of history from Alexander the Great to Tamerlane. Along the way, adventure will surely strike.
Capture the essence of the country and its people, the breath-taking grandeur of the scenery; the sharpness of the air; the beguiling beauty, poise and warmth of the people; the singular open-heartedness towards strangers; and the ever-present music and dancing on the banks of the ancient Oxus. For fans of big mountain scenery, or anyone who ranks places like northern Pakistan or western Tibet as their favourite travel destinations, Tajikistan will glimmer as the most exciting republic in Central Asia.
Tajikistan - one of the world's best-kept secrets that, even now, few foreigners know.