Dushanbe Travel Guide
When visiting Tajikistan, Dushanbe will be where you fly into the country. Before heading into its hinterland, though, take 1-2 days to explore everything it has to offer.
With museums and other cultural institutions, you’ll find learn much about this Central Asian nation.
Come check out our Dushanbe travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
Begin your time in Dushanbe by touring the National Museum of Tajikistan. As you might expect, this institution recounts the human and natural history of this Central Asian nation.
It has three sections: one showcases the arts, another documents archaeological finds, and the last focuses on natural history. Don’t miss the snow leopard diorama, or their 10th-century wooden mehrab (mosque furniture that indicates the direction of Mecca.)
Before going, a few things to remember – first, most captions are in Russian or Tajiki. As such, it makes sense to hire an English-speaking guide at reception. Second, management requires the use of shoe covers. This policy is meant to protect exhibits and maintain the cleanliness of the museum. Finally, they permit photography in this attraction – but without the flash.
If you still have the appetite for more museums, then make the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan your next stop. Unlike the new, flashy National Museum, this institution shows its age.
However, don’t let its thin carpets and dusty interiors detract from the quality of the exhibits here. Many of the items on display are original finds, as opposed to the copies made for the National Museum. These include sculptures, pottery, tools, jewellery, and other items linked to Persian, Pamir, Tajiki, and different cultures.
Don’t leave this museum without checking out its most prized possession, a Reclining Buddha. It is over eleven metres long and weighs in at over five tonnes.
Do you want to see some of the best art produced in Tajikistan? Drop into the Noor Art Gallery. Despite its location in the Hyatt Regency hotel, it is both a gallery and a shop.
Some pieces, like those made by Farrukh Negmatzade, are only there to admire. However, you can purchase the works of other artists – look for the price tags. You can also buy things other than paintings – these include jewellery, ceramics, and rugs. You can even get a magnet for your fridge back home, making it perfect for souvenir shopping.
Many intrepid travellers use Dushanbe as a staging point for a road trip along the world-famous Pamir Highway. In ancient times, it was part of the Silk Road. Today, it is Highway M41, a road that stretches across Central Asia from Afghanistan to Osh, Kyrgyzstan.
As you travel to Osh, or, more adventurously, to the Afghani border, its scenery will take your breath away. Plan to spend a week traversing this twisty, narrow, bumpy road – although, you won’t be in a rush anyway.
Fancy yourself a bibliophile? Don’t miss your chance to pay the National Library of Tajikistan a visit. It contains more than three million books, making it the largest library in Central Asia. Even if its impressive presence doesn’t draw you in, do go inside. Within, you’ll find an impressive collection of rare manuscripts in a small on-site museum.
In Central Asia and the Caucasus, nations have a unique way of expressing their patriotism – they build massive flagpoles. To see what we mean, check out the Dushanbe Flagpole. You won’t be able to miss it, as it looms 165 metres over the surrounding landscape. From 2011 (when it opened) to 2014, this flag of Tajikistan was the biggest in the world. While Saudi Arabia has surpassed them with a 171-metre flagpole, this show of nationalism is worth witnessing in-person.
The nation of Tajikistan traces its origins to the Samanid Dynasty. This era began with ruler Ismoil Somoni, who brought modern Tajikistan and neighbouring areas under his control. In Dushanbe, city officials honour him with an impressive monument called the Statue of Ismoil Somoni.
You’ll find it in Friendship Square. It is an imposing statue, as its creators framed it with a gold-fringed concrete arch. Are you looking to people-watch? This location is an excellent place to do so, as locals gather here on their time off.
Are you travelling with kids in Dushanbe? Give them a break from the roughness of travel in Tajikistan with a visit to Boghi Poytakht Park. This amusement park is a relatively new attraction, meaning its rides are in good working order. From a giant swing to a massive Ferris Wheel, you’ll have fun here.
Relax after a long day of sightseeing in Dushanbe by spending some time in Rudaki Park. You can reach this place within an easy walk from the giant flagpole. As such, it is popular with local families. With shady trees, fountains, and a statue of Rudaki, a revered poet, it is a cool place to explore.