Tajikistan is a mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia.
The official name of the country is the Republic of Tajikistan.
It is bordered by Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east.
The official language is Tajiki.
As of 1 January 2017, the population of Tajikistan was estimated to be 8,769,221 people.
It is the 94th largest country in the world by area with 143,100 square kilometers (55,250 square miles).
Dushanbe is the capital and largest city of Tajikistan. Dushanbe means Monday in the Tajik language. It was so named because it grew from a village that originally had a popular market on Mondays.
Mountains cover 93 percent of Tajikistan’s surface area and more than 50 percent of the country is over 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) above sea level. The only major areas of lower land are in the north (part of the Fergana Valley), and in the southern Kofarnihon and Vakhsh river valleys, which form the Amu Darya.
The highest point in Tajikistan is Ismoil Somoni Peak at 7,495 meters (24,590 feet) above sea level. It is the 50th highest mountain in the world.
The mountains of Tajikistan contain numerous glaciers, the largest of which, Fedchenko Glacier, covers more than 700 square kilometers (270 sq mi) and is the largest glacier in the world outside the polar regions.
About 2% of the country’s area is covered by lakes.
There are over 900 rivers in Tajikistan longer than 10 kilometers.
Tajikistan has 2 UNESCO world heritage sites.
The Pamir National Park also known as Tajik National Park is a national park and nature reserve in eastern Tajikistan. It was established in 1992. It stretches about 2,600,000 hectares (6,425,000 acres) which is 18% of the total size of Tajikistan. In 2013, the park was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.
Sarazm is an ancient town and also a jamoat in north-western Tajikistan. It dates back to the 4th millennium BCE and is today a UNESCO World Heritage site. Around 3000 BC, it was the largest exporting metallurgical center of Central Asia. It was abandoned after the arrival of the Andronovo settlers, around 2000 BC.
The Fann Mountains is one of the largest tourist attraction in Tajikistan. Mountaineering, rock climbing, and ice climbing are some of the activities that can be enjoyed here not to mention the great scenery.
Iskanderkul is a mountain lake of glacial origin. It lies at an altitude of 2,195 metres (7,201 feet). Triangular in shape, it has a surface area of 3.4 square kilometres (1.3 square miles) and is up to
72 meters (236 feet) deep. Claimed to be one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in the former Soviet Union, it is a popular tourist destination. The lake takes its name from Alexander the Great: Iskander is the Persian pronunciation of Alexander, and kul is lake in Tajik.
Hissar Fort is a picturesque fortress in the Gissar Valley. The fort is located in a hill with a great Islamic-style arched doorway, flanked by two round towers.
The Ismail Somoni Monument is one of Dushanbe’s most visible monument to nation-building. The statue is of Ismail Samani, the 10th-century Samanid ruler. The height of the monument is more then 25 meters.
The Tajiks, whose language is nearly identical with Persian, were part of the ancient Persian Empire that was ruled by Darius I and later conquered by Alexander the Great (333 B.C.).
In the 7th and 8th centuries, Arabs conquered the region and brought Islam.
The Tajiks were successively ruled by Uzbeks and then Afghans until claimed by Russia in the 1860s.
In 1924, Tajikistan was consolidated into a newly formed Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, which was administratively part of the Uzbek SSR until the Tajik ASSR gained full-fledged republic status in 1929.
On September 9 (1991), following the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Tajikistan declared its independence. [Photo: Palace of Nations and the Flagpole, Dushanbe]
Tajikistan experienced a five-year civil war and several changes in government between 1992-1997.
Nearly 47% of Tajikistan’s GDP comes from immigrant remittances (mostly from Tajiks working in Russian Federation).
Tajikistan exports aluminum, electricity, cotton, textiles, vegetable oil and fruits.
Tajik cuisine has much in common with Russian, Afghan, and Uzbek cuisines.
Plov (pilaf), also called osh, is the national dish in Tajikistan. It is a rice dish made with shredded yellow turnip or carrot, and pieces of meat, all fried together in vegetable oil or mutton fat in a special qazan (a wok-shaped cauldron) over an open flame.
Green tea is the national drink.
The name Tajikistan means “land of the Tajiks”.
The history of the Tajiks extends well over a 1000 year into the past, though there was never a formal state called Tajikistan until 9 September 1991.
The Silk Road, a major trade route between China and Europe, passed through Tajikistan.
Most of the heroin produced in Afghanistan transits through Tajikistan.
Tajikistan relies heavily on Russian assistance, and there are some 23,000 Russian troops guarding Tajikistan’s borders.
Tajikistan is slightly larger than England and has around the same population as London!
The national sport of Tajikistan is gushtigiri, a form of traditional wrestling. Another popular sport is buzkashi, a game played on horseback, like polo.