Travels in Tajikistan

Dec 3rd, 2019, 09:37 AM
  #1  
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Travels in Tajikistan

My trip to Tajikistan didn’t start too well. We had to be at the airport for 9am for an 11.10am flight. However, the 11.10am flight had changed to a 12.30pm flight which was then delayed till 3.30pm, so 6 and a half hours at the airport! Food and drink at the airport was extortionate £7 a pint. I went for a walk outside the airport and found a small shop that had beer for 70p. We got to the hotel with half an hour to spare before dinner. Such a shame as the hotel had a sauna and a pool and a lovely balcony, I had 15 minutes on it. Still dinner was delicious. The next day there was a city tour of Dushanbe. It’s much more conservative here than in Almaty or Bishkek but very colourful. Women cover up, but wear some very colourful and highly decorative clothes. There are big splashes of colour everywhere. The theme of parks, statues and fountains continued. Dushanbe museum was wonderful. There were antiquities from all eras 4-5th century onwards. There were remnants of Greek temples, ancient burials and forgotten tribes. It was sad that so many cultures had flourished but so much had been destroyed during the Islamic invasion. All statues were beheaded, cities and temples destroyed. Buddhism, Christianity and local religions were all practised. Now 97% of the country follows Islam. There was also a period when Tajikistan was threatened by extremist Islamists from Afghanistan. The Soviet Union stepped into the fray . The Soviets later invaded Afghanistan. In the 90s a civil war broke out with moderate Islamists and regional groups challenging government forces. Thousands were killed and between 10-20% of the population were displaced before an uneasy truce was signed.President Emomali Rahmon has been leader of the country since the early days of the 1992-97 civil war. The country is poor, corruption is rife. Many migrant workers are in Russia. I learnt so much at the museum which is well worth a visit. The dug up skeleton of a princess from Pannikin was a highlight as was the enormous reclining Buddha. It’s important that some historical artefacts have survived.Next was a long, very bumpy and at times hair raising drive up into the mountains for, our local family stay. En- route was a short hike to a small waterfall which was very welcome after the long drive and bumpy roads.The family stay was a bit if a disappointment. It was a, house owned by a wealthy Tajik man who lives in Dushanbe and rents it out. From the outside it looked lovely but inside was a different story. The problem wasn’t that the place was basic, it wasn’t clean. The toilet looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in a while and smelled really bad. Unfortunately, it was in the same room as the shower (loosest definition of the term) , washbasin and squat toilet. Also 14 of us had to share this. The beds were so so hard and lumpy and the food was at best bland with small portions. The village however was fantastic, like going back in time. The next day we had a lovely trek. After a while we came to a small stone village. This is where the local village live from June – Sept to look after the animals. I was watching 3 women pounding and churning butter. They beckoned me over. I was soon pounding away with them. Next they gave me some of their home made yoghurt, it was very good. The hike was lovely, the sun was out although there was still a chill in the air. The hike lasted for 2 and a half hours and it was so good to stretch my legs after so many hours in a minibus.The afternoon was spent bread making and it was an excellent way to spent an afternoon. We helped to make the bread, place it in the oven and of course eat it. The family had a stone oven in an outbuilding. The bread hot out of the oven was delicious.On the way back I ended up in a field helping to hoe potatoes. It’s been fascinating and extremely enjoyable seeing village life. Everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming.It was excellent to see rural Tajikistan as well as modern cities. It . There are over 1,700 lakes and 800 rivers. Beautiful mosques and imposing fortresses.It is a country of contrasts and colour. A very friendly and interesting country.See also my blogs on Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan as well as other countries:

Stephensonspocketrockettravelandadventures.com

Last edited by moderator8; Dec 3rd, 2019 at 10:30 AM.
lynnstephenson1288 is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 09:58 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Terrific pictures and fascinating story. Congratulations and thanks!

Might be of interest, but here's a couple of pictures of a textile factory in Dushanbe that we were "encouraged" (read, "made to") visit during a tour of the Central Asian republics in USSR days.



Gardyloo is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 07:12 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2012
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Thanks for the report and beautiful photos. Itís one of the places I know almost nothing about.
tripplanner001 is offline  
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