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
- 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.