Trans Eurasia travel

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East of Dushanbe, the small town of Faizabad is a linear settlement that most visitors will only ever pass through. If you have your own transport, however, it's a pleasant diversion to leave the main road and spend an hour at the Sari Mazar shrine. Minibuses travel frequently through Faizabad en route from Dushanbe to Gharm, though you would then need to walk or co-opt a local driver to take you on to the shrine.

The Historical Museum (is a small, local museum built partially in the round, painted salmon pink and with attractively carved doors. Inside is a collection veering more towards the anthropological than historical, which includes items of clothing and jewellery, household goods and a few small items from archaeological sites.

Travelling east out of Faizabad, take the first road on the right as you leave the town, then follow the signs for Sari Mazar. Located up a short track behind the garage is the brick-built mausoleum of Abu Abdurahmon (ad761-852). A Sufi holy man from Balkh (now in Afghanistan), Abdurahmon was known locally for his piety. The tomb itself seems a more recent construction (though still of significant age) and it is well cared for, with a spotless interior and plenty of places to sit and reflect.

The brick tomb is kept locked, but the keyholder will appear almost straight away. Inside are two graves: the larger, shrouded casket belongs to Abdurahmon and the second is an unknown companion. The elderly and sick still come here to ask Abdurahmon for healing, and locals claim that their prayers are often answered. Whether or not you have an ailment that needs divine intervention, it's a pleasant place to picnic and break your journey, and the place undoubtedly has a feeling of peace.