"A Dushanbe Sojourn" Top 5 Page for this destination Dushanbe by Saagar

Dushanbe Travel Guide: 92 reviews and 464 photos

Slow life in the leafy lane

Broad and leafy avenues ease the life of the inhabitants of "Monday". Dushanbe must have been a sort of a Monday market place once upon a time, prior to the Tsarists, then Soviets caught an interest in the place. Like with Potemkin's stage decorations, behind the Rudaki avenue and some of the other main avenues, are the mix of the real city of Dushanbe; standardised blocks of dwellings and more indigenous-looking low courtyard-paced detached houses. All interspersed with nodes of activities, such as the key long-distance taxi and bus stands at the compass ends of the city, the market streets, the Barakat and the Caravan markets.
The political whispers of Tajikistan can be heard and hushed on Rudaki, and the signs of change and activity are here - the stately presidential and governmental offices and palaces, the howling sirens of fast government cars and the intense police presence - checking, checking, checking. But no guns. It's calm and quiet, sometimes an eerie quiet at night for a visitor. Hard-working people struggle to keep things running and go early to bed.

What to do in Dushanbe?

It is quite likely that you will overstay in Dushanbe... Due to ill communications within Tajikistan and limited capacity of overseas Tajik authorities, all you need to prepare for your in-country travels needs to be done here, on the spot. Permits, guides, vehichles, purchases... The bad news for travellers is that accommodation is heavily overpriced, and the good news is that food and non-tourism-related services are cheap. Hotels charge at will for accommodation that fail to deliver on promises for the most part. However, if such things are not important, you will find several interesting places to stay.
The main sights of Dushanbe can be done in a day or two, add any special interests you might have. Spend balmy summer evenings slowly walking under the leafy canopy and take in food and atmosphere of Rudaki Prospekt and environs. Get adjusted to the fact there is no real gourmet food sampler available outside peoples' homes. You may in fact struggle to find any top notch food in Dushanbe's restaurants, even if all the goodies are there in the market. So, if lucky you get invited to a home, then accept!

Beauty and the beast

While central Dushanbe is right-out attractive, with her leafy avenues and stately, if aged buildings, the outskirts are at the other end of the yardstick, literally... Athe northern end of the city there is a huge cement plant ouzing out powdery dust obscuring the blue Central Asian sky from that part of town and raining fine gray cement dust all over. The Dushanbelika river is somewhat of a corpse of a river, flash flood prone and with rough banks. The canal leading much of its water into town is nicer and boasts some choykhanas and recreational spots. Unfinished soviet-era blocks of dwellings dot the southern sections of the city, and other parts of the city, indicating abandon and lack of recent capital - somebody left fast.
The 30-ies and 40-ies buildings and statal monuments of Rudaki Prospect show a pleasant side and strolling here is pleasant.
Somehow I had a feeling that something is missing in Dushanbe, and I did find this in Khojand, the northern city of Tajikistan. While Dushanbe definitely is the political capital, Khojand is the economic capital, churning out 75% of the GDP and with a much more vibrant economic life reflected in the city scenes.

  • Last visit to Dushanbe: Sep 2006
  • Intro Updated Feb 9, 2007
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Reviews (29)

Comments (4)

  • persian4life's Profile Photo
    Mar 1, 2009 at 12:08 PM

    Hi, just want to say that Somoni was never a poet, but a king of the persian empire.

  • iWolf's Profile Photo
    Jul 25, 2008 at 6:16 AM

    correction: Somoni was not a poet... He was the founder of Tajik state ;)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Apr 22, 2007 at 3:43 AM

    Hi, Olav! Very useful indeed, thanks!

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Jan 21, 2007 at 10:32 AM

    Ah, updates :-)) Yes, the Indian restaurant is excellent ! With all my hassles with the "hotel" I simply forgot to see some sights of Dushanbe. The mosque looks beautiful !


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