Demolishing Stalinabad – Dushanbe’s Break From The Former USSR


Finding a divine city in Central Asia can certainly be a challenge, as some are just not as historically significant or are simply on a brink of collapse. Well, this is not the case with Dushanbe city, the capital of Tajikistan, which is located on the Varzob River. Here, you’ll find not only the wonders of the new era in architecture, but also rich historical monuments, and stories that will take your breath away. Connected with Russia, it was called Stalinabad from 1926 – 1991. Separate in their own beliefs, Tajikistan people and more specifically the Dushanbe people are not only fascinating but also hospitable.


Dushanbe Tajikistan History

Tajikistan History

When we observe the archeology of the city, Dushanbe was populated since the 5th century BC, but it was a rural area, which is why we cannot determine where it all began. One thing is for sure, Dushanbe has been marked as a bazaar area for a long time now. This is partially where its name derives from. Combining Farsi and Hebrew, Dushanbe translates as “Two days after Saturday”. So, translated to a common language, Dushanbe is “ Monday City ”, which is why we conclude the Monday bazaar was a weekly event that put this small village on the map in the 17th century. Since the residents from surrounding areas couldn’t visit the bazaar every Monday, the tradition of an annual Bazaar started in 1676, which was when the village was mentioned for the first time.

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As for recent history, Dushanbe is definitely yet another place sharing a strong bond with the Soviet Republic. It was once part of the former Soviet Union (United Soviet Socialist Republic – USSR). Even though they have maintained their independence in a way, the Dushanbe people shared the same ideology. They even went out of their way to prove it when they briefly renamed Dushanbe to Stalinabad, but they reclaimed the name.

Despite the occasional riots, the Soviet regime did well to Dushanbe’s economy, as the whole area thrived on silk and cotton production. There are still issues with nationalism in the Dushanbe region, but so far, the area is more than open to visitors looking to have a safe trip to the past. You can find out more about the history of the capital city at the National Museum.


Things To Do In Dushanbe

Ismoil Somoni Monument
Ismoil Somoni Monument

Rudaki Park

This beautiful park will capture you with the expression that is at the same time formal in the matter of flower arrangements and pathways, but also informal when concerning history. Located on the east side of the river in the city center, Rudaki Park is named after the classical poet. Here you’ll easily access more than a few attractions on your way in or out of the park. It’s a colorful display of their past, but also a place that honors the arts and poetry.

National Library of Tajikistan

The impressive architecture of the National Library is what draws people to visit it, but the collection is what keeps them in. You’ll be baffled by the structure and the extent of their commitment to this place. It’s a place that’ll help you get familiar with the history of surrounding areas, as it keeps track of dynasties which reigned in the nearby area.

Palace of Nation

An impressive work of art, but unfortunately closed for the visitor, Palace of Nation is, however, still one of the top spots for tourists. It’s probably the fact you can’t really come inside which makes the place all the more interesting. You can admire the architecture, and the grand view, as well as take a walk following the high fences which are more than enough for you to get the idea of this grand building.

Statue of Ismoil Somoni

Probably one of the rare monuments of the Samanid Dynasty in Dushanbe, the Statue of Ismoil Somoni is a solid work of art. The statue commemorates Ismoil Somoni, the man considered to be the father of all Tajik people. It’s impressive if you’re looking to get an insight into the life of the man who shaped their national identity. As for the statue itself, let’s just say, the stories don’t do it justice.

Green Bazaar

Everyone’s personal favorite, Green Bazaar is yet another splash of colors. The smell of freshly baked bread and fresh fruit will keep you wanting to come back for more. It’s the structure of the place and the locals that will capture your senses. As usual, Bazaar is a place that will let you truly experience the power of the local community and perceive the beauty of their culture.

Mevlana Yakub Charki Mosque

If you’re looking to get a glimpse of an Old Persian spirit in Tajikistan, this mosque is just the right place. The building and the surroundings truly reflect the spirit of Sufi mysticism, which really gives a lot to a place. It’s worthy of checking out given it’s not only a landmark but also a soul of the city in a way.


Day Trips From Dushanbe

Rudaki Park
Rudaki Park

Dushanbe itself is impressive enough, but if you’re looking to experience nature in this central Asian country as well, then make sure to take a day off to visit Isnadarkul Lake, a true nature’s miracle located within your arm’s reach.

Another place you might consider visiting when staying in Dushanbe is also a Kulob city, as the drive itself will be more than enough for you to get familiar with the landscape of Tajikistan.

Another popular option for a day trip from Dushanbe is Khujand Tajikistan. However, consider staying there at least a day or two, as a single day is not enough for you to experience the place.


The Capital City Of Tajikistan


Dushanbe has a soul, but it’s also good to know that not everything is as it seems. The Tajik people are experiencing a lot over the past few years, given that strict government has a grip on the situation. The fearful face is not just a person having a bad day, but possibly someone who tries to find the best way around the regulations which are made to suit the government first and then the people of Dushanbe. Tajikistan tourism is on the rise, which is giving all people of Tajikistan more opportunities, especially the Tajikistan women. Keep in mind that Islam is the most prominent Tajikistan religion.


How To Get To Dushanbe

Rudaki Park
Rudaki Park

The most popular option is certainly by plane, as the Dushanbe International Airport offers quite a few options. Getting to the Dushanbe airport doesn’t require you to fly to Russia first, which makes things easier. You can get a regular flight to Dushanbe airport from cities like Istanbul, Frankfurt, and even Dubai. I flew there from Almaty, Kazakhstan directly to the Dushanbe Tajikistan airport. It was my second stop on a four-country trip through “The Stans”. It included Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Travel Tips


Dushanbe weather is not a cold climate despite its connection with Russia, so be prepared to enjoy the Mediterranean climate in new surroundings. The local food is pretty good and very inexpensive.

You will also want to exchange your money at the airport as many places do not accept credit cards. There are several currency exchange places throughout the city, but you will need some local currency for your taxi to your hotel. The Tajikistan currency is Tajikistan Somoni.

Tajikistan Visa – Depending on where you are a resident, you may need a visa to enter Tajikistan. If you are visiting Tajikistan from certain countries you will be allowed to apply for a Tajikistan e visa. Check with The Republic of Tajikistan here to see if you require a Tajikistan Visa before booking your flights to Dushanbe.


Dushanbe Hotels

Hotel Twins
Hotel Twins

Since the city is still small in relation to tourism but growing, there are not a lot of hotels in Dushanbe Tajikistan. The city has only about eleven four- and five-star hotels in the city. I stayed at the Twins Hotel, read about it here. This centrally located business hotel offered exceptional service and included a delicious buffet breakfast. It was within walking distance to the city center and offered free wifi.


Best Places To Eat In Dushanbe

Twins Hotel – Breakfast Buffet

A lot of restaurants in Dushanbe do not have websites, so using TripAdvisor is the best way to find the kind of food you are looking for.

Various restaurants are peppered throughout the city. There is something for everyone’s taste buds in this city. Al-Sham was my favorite restaurant (blog post coming soon). You can check out their FaceBook page here.

If you are looking for some western style food with a twist, you should go to Tapioca Hut cafe. You have the option of sitting in the non-smoking or shisha-smoking area of the restaurant. You can check out their FaceBook page here.


The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse
Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

If you can’t get to Dushanbe, you can still visit a piece of it in the United States. The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse is located in Boulder Colorado. It is viewed as a symbol of friendship and peace. The Dushanbe Tea House was built by hand in Dushanbe, Tajikistan without the use of any power tool. After completion, it was disassembled and shipped to Boulder. After being shipped halfway around the world it was reassembled against the beautiful Rocky Mountain Foothills. The Boulder Teahouse is considered Boulder’s most popular and attractive tourist destinations.


Some FAQ’s about Dushanbe and Tajikistan

What is Tajik or what is Tajikistan?

Tajikistan is a Central Asian country, once part of the former USSR. Tajik is just a shortened version or way of saying Tajikistan.

Where is Tajikistan?

It is located in Central Asia.

What is the capital of Tajikistan?

The capital of Tajikistan is Dushanbe.

When is the best time to visit Tajikistan?

Generally, spring, summer, and fall are great times to visit. It just depends on the temperature you like to enjoy. There is not a lot of things to do in the winter and it gets very cold, so it is not an ideal time to go.

What to do in Dushanbe?

There are numerous sights and landmarks to see. You can visit several parks and museums in Dushanbe. There are several things to do and see. It just depends on what you like. You can check out TripAdvisor’s list of things to do here.

How is the weather in Dushanbe?

The weather around Dushanbe and Khujand is temperate. The summers are hot and dry, and winters have a lot of snow.

What is the time in Dushanbe / What is the time in Tajikistan?

The timezone is the same across Tajikistan. It is UTC +5 and they do not have daylight savings time.

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  1. saraessop says:

    I didn’t know much about Dushanbe before but it sounds fascinating. I actually want to visit all 4 countries on your Silk Road itinerary.

    1. Sally Pederson says:

      It was a great trip. It was not what I expected and I learned a lot.

  2. Nafisa Habib says:

    Such a detailed travel guide on Dushanbe! It seems a very welcoming destination in Central Asia. Good to know for the first time a lot more about this historical divine city through your post.

    1. Sally Pederson says:

      Dushanbe was a very fascinating city. I enjoyed learning about the city.

  3. Really enjoyed your article. Thank you for all these details. You’ve put another place on the map for me and I do hope to visit next year based on your recommendation.

    1. Sally Pederson says:

      I highly recommend going if you have the opportunity.

  4. Thanks for the introduction and information. The city has some unique architecture that is very intriguing to me, glad to learn a little bit about the country’s history, too. Glad that many of the old buildings remained after the issues with the USSR and I wish I could visit there and see it with my own eyes some day @ knycx.journeying

    1. Sally Pederson says:

      Your welcome. It was a great trip.

  5. What's Katie Doing? says:

    I love the bling of those statues! So interesting how the city got its name too.

    1. Sally Pederson says:

      Yes, it is a beautiful city with a lot of history.

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