Until the early 1900s, Dushanbe was a small village in the west of Tajikistan, near the Hisor mountains.
Today it’s the seat of Tajiki government and a leafy university town. Filled with classical Russian-influenced architecture, museums and parks, the city also lays claim to the biggest library in Asia, and the tallest flagpole in the world.
Top things to see and do in Dushanbe
- Hike up to the top of Victory Park – there are 360° views of Dushanbe and surrounding snow-capped mountains.
- Dive into Tajiki history at Fort Hissar, a 13th-century fort and madrassa 25 minutes’ drive from Dushanbe. It costs around 1-3 somoni to explore the rebuilt fort and small museum.
- Barter over spices, meats and dried fruits at Shahmansur Bazaar on Lohuti Street, the biggest market in town.
- Hear Tajiki music at the Gurminj Museum, with over 100 traditional Pamiri instruments on display.
- Visit the Somoni Monument – depicting the 10th-century Samanid ruler, Ismoil Somoni, Tajikistan’s national hero.
Tips for travellers
Leading out of Dushanbe, the Pamir Highway is a spectacular mountain road that covers much of the western Himalayas. The scenery undulates from craggy mountains – many over 7,000 metres above sea level – to lush, green valleys and lakes.