Tajikistan has a long history of producing gifted artists, and one of the best souvenirs from the country is undoubtedly an original artwork. Professional artists work and exhibit their paintings at the Artists' Colony (khudojnik colonia) at 13 Omar Khayam in Dushanbe, and their virtual gallery is online at www.tajikart.com. In a rather more formal setting, you can view works for sale at Suhrob Kurbanov Art House (formerly the Tajik Painters' Union Exhibition Hall) on the corner of Rudaki and Ismoili Somoni, and the small Art Gallery Tajikistan is located at 54/9 Shotimur. The Tajik miniaturist Olim Kamolov sells his paintings and carved chess sets from his home (16 Gani Abdullo; tel. 47 634).
You'll find bric-a-brac and the occasional antique at Green Bazaar, and inside the old TsUM department store (83 Rudaki). The latter is also a good source for household goods, electronics and crafts. Staraya Kvatira (35 Rudaki), a veritable Tardis of Soviet memorabilia (including uniforms, medals and hats), offers portraits of former dictators and a large number of old, Russian-made cameras.
For handicrafts and gift items, including jewellery, weaving and embroidery, scarves and wall hangings, the following stores tend to have a good range of items of reasonable quality.
The largest and best-stocked market in Dushanbe is Green Bazaar (corner of Chekhov & Lahuti). Also known as Shah Mansur or Zilloni Bazaar, this is the city's wholesale fruit and vegetable market. Whether you actually want 10kg of spoiled apricots or have simply got carried away with the atmosphere is neither here nor there, but a few hours here gives real insight into commercial life and the people-watching is second to none. Chinese household goods, cheap clothing and chickens you can slaughter yourself are also widely available.
Smaller and slightly quieter is the Barakat Bazaar immediately behind TsUM (83 Rudaki). The choice of fresh produce is not as wide as elsewhere, but the quality is certainly comparable and it's on the way to almost everywhere.
For clothing, try Sadbarg, the indoor market at the intersection of Kudaki and Aini. Ready-made clothes, shoes and fabrics are all on sale, and there are several tailoring workshops on the upper floors if you want something altered or made to measure.