Known to intrepid travellers as the Roof of the World, Tajikistan is the smallest nation among the five Central Asia countries, the others being Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, all of which became independent from the former Soviet Union in 1990s.
As its moniker has already suggested, Tajikistan boasts a tremendously mountainous terrain with half of the country lying 3,000 metres or more above sea level. Part of these territories once contributed to the famed historical route of the Silk Road, bridging the East and the West in ancient times. The cultural exchanged facilitated by the Silk Road was particularly evident in the fact that majority of the ethnic Tajiks speak Persian and share common culture and history with modern-day Afghanistan and Iran.
In Dushanbe, the capital city sitting in the shadows of snow-capped mountains, see the remains of Soviet influence in form of prominent Russian architecture and monuments. Across the picturesque Fann Mountains, Khujand lies in the fertile Ferghana Valley with a rich history of being an outpost of Alexander the Great and part of the ancient Silk Road. Some of these historical elements can still be found today among the city’s buzzing bazaars. Push your boundaries by heading to the Pamir Highway, the second highest road in the world, for formidable landscape and adventurous expeditions that create memories of a lifetime.
Your itinerary and activities will influence when to visit Tajikistan. A combination of a continental climate and high altitudes (with half of the country lying 3,000 metres or more above sea level) means that most of the mountain passes are snow-free only between June to September, so that’s the best time to hit the Pamirs or Fann Mountains for driving expeditions or hikes. The cities of Dunshanbe and Khujand, being at lower altitudes, can get uncomfortably warm in the summer months, so travelling in Spring (late April to early June) or Fall (September to early Oct) would be more ideal.