Silk Road 25: More Dushanbe, Tajikistan; Oct 2019

By Ali Karim
This post is part of a series called Silk Road Tajikistan Sept-Oct 2019
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Dushanbe, Oct 2019

Oct 10, 2019

We spent a couple more days in Dushanbe checking it out some more; as it is a pleasant, clean city.

A little more about Dushanbe, which translates to Monday in Persian. It is the capital and largest city of Tajikistan. As of early 2020, Dushanbe had a population of 870,000. Until 1929, the city was known in Russian as Dyushambe, and from 1929 to 1961 as Stalinabad, after Joseph Stalin. In ancient times, what is now or is close to modern Dushanbe, was settled by various empires and peoples, including various neolithic cultures, the Achaemenid EmpireGreco-Bactria, the Kushan Empire, and the Hephalites. In the Middle Ages, more settlements began near modern-day Dushanbe such as Hulbuk and its famous palace which we drove by on the way from Khorog (see previous blog). From the 17th century to the early 20th, Dushanbe began to grow into a market village controlled at times by the empires of Hisor, Balkh, and finally Bukhara. Soon after the Russian invasion in 1922, the town was made the capital of the Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1924, which commenced Dushanbe’s development and rapid population growth that continued until the Tajik Civil War. After the war, the city became capital of an independent Tajikistan and continued its growth and development into a modern city that it is today.

One day, Baha took us to check out the Karvon market, which is a huge clothing market, sectioned with clothing from different countries. We steered clear of the Chinese market, and went to the local ethnic clothing market. Some scenes from this market below

More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Small shoe repair business outside the Korvon market
Local shoe repair business outside the Korvon market
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Entrance to the traditional clothing market in Korvon market; busy place
Entrance to the traditional clothing market in Korvon market; busy place
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Many small shops selling clothing etc
Many small shops selling clothing etc
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Clothing alterations were done on the spot by a line of women on sewing machines
Clothing alterations were done on the spot by a line of women on sewing machines
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Nice, simple and clean restaurants in Korvon market
Nice, simple and clean restaurants in Korvon market
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Plov, the national dish, was on sell in open air restaurants inside Korvon market
Plov, the national dish, was on sell in open air restaurants inside Korvon market
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Watering hole in the market
Watering hole in the market
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Non & Kebab restaurant (Naan & Kebab) in the market
“Non & Kebab” restaurant (Naan & Kebab) in the market
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Meats and grains/nuts were also on sale in this clothing market
Meats and grains/nuts were also on sale in this clothing market
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Spices for sale
Spices for sale
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Market outside the Korvon market
Market outside the Korvon market
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan The Pomegranate juice was sweet and refreshing (& cheap :) )
The Pomegranate juice was sweet and refreshing (& cheap 🙂 )
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Bread was available everywhere
Bread was available everywhere
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Bananas were imported from Equador. And face masks were uncommon as this was pre-Covid time
Bananas were imported from Equador. And face masks were uncommon as this was pre-Covid time

From here, Baha took us to the Mergon market, which is a covered indoor market for fruits and vegetables; some scenes below

More Dushanbe, Tajikistan City scape with the new Omani mosque we had seen the previous night, in full glory
City scape with the new Omani mosque we had seen the previous night, in full glory
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Spices neatly piled up in Mergon market
Spices neatly piled up in Mergon market

Mergon Market was very clean and organized

More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Fresh strawberries
Fresh strawberries
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan These ladies were selling yogurt, where all the water/whey was strained out, and the yogurt became thick like clay. This nice lady gave us some to taste and it was very good
These ladies were selling yogurt, where all the water/whey was strained out, and the yogurt became thick like clay. This nice lady gave us some to taste and it was very good
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Quail eggs
Quail eggs
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Many different kinds of vegetables
Many different kinds of vegetables
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan More vegetables
More vegetables
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Lunch was at Café Parel nearby, where we had fish from Lake Nurel that we had passed when driving into Dushanbe
Lunch was at Café Parel nearby, where we had fish from Lake Nurel that we had passed when driving into Dushanbe

We continued to check out more of Dushanbe, some scenes below

More Dushanbe, Tajikistan The majestic Sadriddin Ayni Opera and Ballet center
The majestic Sadriddin Ayni Opera and Ballet center
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Baha went to try and get us tickets to a show here, but there was nothing on
Baha went to try and get us tickets to a show here, but there was nothing on
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Interesting 3D mural on a city wall
Interesting 3D mural on a city wall
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Parliament buildings
Parliament buildings
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Many streets were wide boulevards with trees in the center and sides, with monuments
Many streets were wide boulevards with trees in the center and sides, with monuments
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan The mainstay was the majestic Ismoil Somoni statue and park
The mainstay was the majestic Ismoil Somoni statue and park
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Interesting street lighting and décor
Interesting street lighting and décor
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Beautiful parks were everywhere, like Rudoki park
Beautiful parks were everywhere, like Rudoki park
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Fountains behind the Ismoil Somoni statue
Fountains behind the Ismoil Somoni statue
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Map of the Samanid empire during Ismoil Somoni’s reign (9th century), depicting the various Silk Roads crisscrossing the empire
Map of the Samanid empire during Ismoil Somoni’s reign (9th century), depicting the various Silk Roads crisscrossing the empire
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Locals enjoying the beautiful parks all over the city center
Locals enjoying the beautiful parks all over the city center

We happened upon the National Library, and decided to check it out. We were happy to discover that they conducted tours, and luckily, they found us an English-speaking guide, who showed us all over this library. The library was very interesting as it had over 8 million books, of which 5 million were in the process of getting digitized. There were books from all over the world in all languages, and classrooms teaching foreign languages for free. And to boot, the building was very beautiful outside and inside.

More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Majestic National Library
Majestic National Library
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan View from the entrance of the library across parks and other government buildings
View from the entrance of the library across parks and other government buildings
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Grand staircase inside the library
Grand staircase inside the library

We left the park and I almost got in trouble when I took the picture below outside the Parliament buildings and their gardens and fountains. Reason was because there were 2 policemen nearby, and they thought I had taken their picture. So they came over and (with Baha translating), wanted to check if I had taken their picture. I guess taking pictures of policemen is forbidden in Tajikistan, and Dilshad was in a panic, admonishing me for taking so many random pictures; she feared I would be taken to prison and rot in a Tajik jail for the rest of my life. Fortunately, I had not included the policemen in my picture below, and after verifying the same, they politely shook hands and we wandered on. Phew. I need to be careful; being a stupid tourist may not always work as a good excuse….

More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Dangerous picture
Dangerous picture

Baha took us for dinner later that evening to Sim Sim restaurant, where we had pizza and kebabs. Cost for drinks, pizza, Kebabs and desert came to $7 for 3 of us. I love this place 🙂

After a nice few days, it was time to move to Samarkand, Uzbekistan. More on Uzbekistan next

Our journey so far

More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Krygyz travel
Krygyz travel
More Dushanbe, Tajikistan Tajikistan map till Dushanbe
Tajikistan map till Dushanbe
This entry was posted in Asia, Silk Road Tajikistan Sept-Oct 2019, Tajikistan

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