Dushanbe is the capital of Tajikistan.
phone: +992 37 4494233address: M. Mastangulova (ул.им.М. Мастангулова), 32/2Moscow flights by (Tajik Air, Somon Air, Domodedovo Airlines and Sibirian S7), Istanbul IST on (Turkish Airlines); Urumqi (China Southern Airlines). Somon Air have a weekly direct flight to Frankfurt, as well as flights to Dubai, Istanbul and Kiev. It is a hub for East Air, Somon Air and Tajik Air.
LuggagesS7 airline or its share code flies to most European countries and you could check in your luggage up to Dushanbe. Otherwise you will require a transit visa to collect your luggage and check it in again. If you have no checked luggage, you could walk direct to the transit area. If you use a different airline and have checked in luggage you need a transit visa because the airlines will not transfer it for you. For that reason you have to collect the luggage yourself and check it in for your final flight. In order to collect it you have to pass passport control for which you need a visa (many countries get it upon arrival and free). These policies are subject to change without a notice. Check with your airlines to find out whether they transfer luggage.
Visa at the airportMost of the European and North American nationals can apply for a visa upon arrival in Dushanbe. The airport is very small and the immigration is before the passport control. Bring 2 passport photos, and have the address at which you are staying. Don't lose your "beeline travel slip" which you will get at the immigration office. the luggage X-ray machines are very poor and they pay little attention to the screens.
Watch the children when you leave the airport they will offer to take your bag to the car and start to pull it off you, though not with intentions of stealing, just wanting to help and get a tip.
Dushanbe Railway Stationaddress: Nazarshoev StFrom Moscow via Volgograd, Atyrau and Termez. Trains depart from the Moskva Kazanskaya rail terminal each Monday, Wednesday and Sunday at 12:08, arriving 16:16 four nights later. Tickets costs from for a second class sleeper. - Trains depart to Iski-Guzar (via Vahdat), Tursunzoda (toward west via Hisor), to Kulob (via Obikiik, Kuybyshevsk, Qurghonteppa, Sarband).
By busThere are no international bus services.If you are planning to go to a different town in Dushanbe there are 'terminals' that you can either find a shared taxi or a minibus. Departs are mostly early morning.
Pamir bus terminaladdress: Ahmed Donish StreetToward east to Khorog (Pamir) going usually 4X4 vehicles (525 km, 12 to 14 hours, prices are vary) all via Kalaikhum (285 km).
Terminal Khojentaddress: Rudaki StreetMinibuses to Khojent and Varzob, Aini, Penjikent, Khujand.
Korvon Market terminalMany private cars to Kurgan-Tybe and Kulyab.
From Dushanbe I Train Station,can take mini taxis toward east: Kofarnihon, Faizabad
Polytechnic Institute terminaladdress: Djami Avenuefor taxis toward west: Hissor
Sakhovat Market terminalPrivate SUVs go (daily) to Afghan Border (Sherkhon Bandar). You will have to go early in the morning 05:00 to check for a shared car. Best is to go there a day before and arrange for the next day travel. Also lines toward south Qurghonteppa (85 km) and Kulob (190 km).
By busA number of bus services operate in Dushanbe, however there is not much clarity which one goes to where.
By marshruktaIt is very useful to figure out the marshrukta system (private cars and minibuses), which run on a standard set of routes. Minibuses are overcrowded, stop more frequently, and cost TJS1, while private cars are much quicker and cost TJS3. For marshrukti, the only important phrase is "hamin jo" (ha-MEEN JOH), which means "right here", to indicate that you want to get out.
A couple of useful 'lines' (2010):
No. 1: Giprozem (south) - Sakovat Bazaar - Circus - War Memorial - Aini Street - Dushanbe Airport
No. 2: Giprozem - Sakovat Bazaar - Circus - War Memorial - Bokhtar Street (centre)
No. 3: Dushanbe I Train Station - Rudaki Avenue - Vodanasos Bazaar (north)
No. 8: Dushanbe Airport - Aini Street - Rudaki Avenue - Ismoil Somoni Street - 102nd microdistrict (west)
No. 17: 82nd microdistrict - Ismoil Somoni Street - Rudaki Avenue - Vodanasos Bazaar
No. 29: Giprozem - Circus - Bus Station - 82nd microdistrict - Ismoil Somoni Street - Barakat Bazaar (centre)
By trolleybusCheap and retro way of getting around the city. Dushanbe has a few trolleybus lines running (no. 4 is one of the main ones, between the centre and the circus). Strictly a card is required to use the trolleybus, which can be loaded up with somoni. However, it's not the most user-friendly and it's much easier to offer the driver 1 somoni cash per ride (it's not actually legal for them to accept cash but almost all drivers do), the driver will usually either pocket it or let you on for free.
By taxiWithin Dushanbe it is best to take a taxi, usually it should not be more than TJS30.
OrientationVery few streets in Dushanbe are known by their names, so it is important to know landmarks and how to navigate with them. Every taxi driver knows the airport, Somoni statue, and opera-ballet, but beyond that, it is a toss-up. It is essential to know "straight ahead," "to the left," and "to the right" in Russian or Tajik.
The center is basically one long street, with a few other main streets crossing it.
Dushanbe is an interesting city, but only for a few days. Other than a few museum and monuments, there is not much here. The nightlife is not of a western standard. There are three main clubs: Port Said, Dior, and Vastan (all on or near Rudaki Street). The clubs are pretty bad and attract bad music, prostitutes, and are mostly filled with men. If a man goes out with a Tajik women, he will be expected to pay for her. The streets are lined with old and tall planetrees, so in the evenings a stroll along Rudaki is quite pleasant. Rudaki Park also features numerous fountains lit by coloured lights, and the Botanical Gardens (behind the Chinese Embassy, somewhat north along Rudaki) is the best place to escape the dust and noise of the traffic for peace and quiet.
Haji Yaqub Mosqueaddress: Rudaki AveThe largest mosque in the CIS cost of US$100 million. It has a crescent-topped minaret and burnished golden dome.
Sari Osiyo MosqueA new one
Ismaili Centreaddress: Ismoil Somoni Ave,
St. Nicholas Cathedraladdress: Druzhby Narodov St (улица Дружбы народов)), ~64The main pravoslav church of Dushanbe.
phone: +992 372 2231076, +992 37 5731076address: Bokhtar Street , 23This small museum has an interesting variety of Central Asian musical instruments as string instruments example: rubab, Pamiri rubab, tanbur, dutor, setor, qashqar, and ghizhak. There are also number of drums such as tabl, daf, and doyra. That alone is worth a peek if you like instruments, but better still is to go when a musical or cultural event is being held, or hope to catch the folk musicians who practice there and can demo many of the instruments in the collection.
Museum of AntiquitiesIt is quite old fashioned and includes a number of exhibits that detail the country's history. It is great for historians of contemporary Tajikistan and the current President, but only if they speak Russian or Tajik, as there are very few English signs. The museum is very poorly funded (there is a man who follows you to turn off the lights after you are finished with an exhibit room) and rather underwhelming. One of the highlight is the statue of Khatlonskogo's Sleeping Buddha which height is 14 m, found at the excavations in 1966 in south of the country.
Monument of Amir Ismail Samaniaddress: Prospekt AianiA monument to the 10th-century founder of the Samanid dynasty. This statue commemorates the one for whom the currency is named. Apparently, the crown is 10 kg of Tajik gold. Beware: the police at the bottom may ask for money if you take photos, so stand far back and use your zoom! (And don't encourage this bad behaviour.)
Rudaki statueIt was opened for the Shanghai summit, a new park on Rudaki Avenue that has a huge statue of Rudaki, a new government palace, and enough fountains to drain the whole of Dushanbe. Go at night to see the lights.
Rokhat Teahousephone: +992 90 793 1347address: 84, Rudaki AveOld traditional teahouse located near central Dushanbe on Rudaki. Better to go for the interesting architecture, not the food.
Dushanbe FlagpoleThe second tallest free-standing flagpole in the world (162 m). This flagpole flies an flag of Tajikistan, weighing .
Vahdat Palaceaddress: 107, Rudaki Avenue (проспект А. Рудаки)It is the headquarters of the ruling People's Democratic Party and is also used to host international conferences
phone: +992 44 600 3227address: хиёбони Рудакӣ, 107ALocated in a nice monument building.
phone: +992 372 21-7711address: Rudaki Ave. (хиёбони Рӯдакӣ), 17On Rudaki an other nice building at #33 Tajik Academy of Sciences
Fort HissarRebuilt 13th century fort and madrassa. It is a must-see and includes small museums of ancient Tajik culture. It was destroyed by Soviet troops in their hunt for Enver Pasha.
phone: +992 48 702 0020address: Bogoutdinova (Богоутдинова), 7/2
- Bactria Cultural Centre
Circusaddress: Karaboev Avenue, 1-3
Botanical GardensThis is the best place to escape the dust and noise of the traffic for peace and quiet. A small forest with plenty of greenery. Usually the newly wed couples make photos here.
Dushanbe Zooaddress: Ismoili Somoni AvenueThe number of animals kept is about 600 on the area: 67000 m². This is the only institution of this kind in the country. Animals are indigenous and foreign species. Couple of the most exotic animals of its lion, jaguar and snow leopard. The local fauna are represented by brown bears, black bears, Bactrian camel, donkey, wolf, jackal, fox, raccoon, and some birds like owl, vulture, golden eagle, falcon. Also some reptiles, like snakes, caymans, lizards are displayed indoors.
Park named after S. Ayni
Victory Parkaddress: Druzhby Narodov StHike to the top for a seasonal tiki-themed beer garden offering views of the city. The truly brave can take the rickety gondola. Also there is the Victory Memorial.
phone: +992 37 2213494address: Nisor Muhammad St and Rudaki Ave cnrRegularly has free or cheap concerts sponsored by embassies and travel companies.
Lahuti Drama Theatreaddress: Rudaki Ave,
- Mayakovsky Theatre
- Padida Theatre
Parasty Theatreaddress: Rudaki Ave,
Youth Theatre named after M. Vahidovaaddress: Karaboev Avenue, 21-23
- Various concert halls
Korvon Bazaaraddress: A384 roadKorvon has a massive indoor clothing and shoes section as well as a smaller food section. It is also the place to go to find fabric rugs, although all of the rugs come from Turkey, not Tajikistan.
Shakhmansur Bazaaraddress: Lohuti StreetThis is the biggest bazaar in downtown Dushanbe and has a huge variety of foods (very cheap by Western standards), including dried fruit, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, spices, meats, and bread, as well as an odd assortment of tools and household products. It is possible to see the entire bazaar in an hour or two. The locals always charge foreigners more, so do your best to strike a bargain.
Cafe Merveaddress: 92 Rudaki AvenueCasual Turkish cafeteria is always packed with students and young locals. Kebabs, pizzaa, salads, french fries, cakes, coffee and authentic Turkish breakfasts (feta with olives) are all on the menu, but have several choices in mind, as they rarely have everything available at any given time.
Delhi Darbaraddress: Rudaki AvenueThe most well-known, and possibly the best vegetarian food in all of Tajikistan, of three local Indian restaurants serves excellent butter chicken and spinach. It also offers private "family rooms."
SalsaThe only Ecuadorian restaurant for hundreds of miles. It is a reasonable imitation of Latin cuisine and popular with Europeans. It is located just off the north end of Rudaki near Starry Night (Zvezdnaya Noch) billiards.
TiflisOne of two Georgian restaurants in the city with some of the best meat dishes in the city, and a substantial wine list. Located behind the opera-ballet, across the park.
Georgia Cafethe other Georgian restaurant, located about a block north of the Opera Square on Rudaki Avenue. It has simple and tasty dishes, good cheap house wine, and a nice friendly atmosphere. Either book or come early due to its popularity.
La Grande DameThe only French restaurant in the city. Serves good steaks and other food at a hefty price. Popular with consultants with hefty per diems. On the corner of Bukhoro and Shevchenko.
KellersA nice, well-hidden restaurant that serves European and Chinese style food (although the lines between the two are often blurred). Also, the home made beer (TJS3) is well worth trying. It is on the left side of Somoni street near Rudaki end, at the side of a block of flats.
SteakhouseDespite the name, it is one of the only places in Dushanbe to get sushi. Other meals include steaks, pasta and American style cuisine. Live entertainment nightly.
address: Rudaki AveWestern food: sandwiches, soups, chicken dishes. Good place to get coffee or a snack. The salmon is surprisingly good and fresh. Downside: smokers. You will see many foreigners here.
- Beer gardens: While drinking alcohol openly isn't strictly allowed, you'd never know and the outdoor beer cafes are some of the nicest places to spend a sunny afternoon; priced at 4-5 somani per beer, they are also some of the cheapest. You'll always be able to find "zakuskas" here, snacks to have alongside beer. Plaited smoked cheese, "kasichky" ("chechil") and small pieces of battered fish are popular, as is "kurut", hard salty balls of parmesan-like cheese.
- Irish Pub: A brand-new, Irish pub serving Guinness in a can with Irish charm (considering this is Central Asia). Unfortunately the enterprising owners of this restaurant have discovered that foreigners are willing to pay absurd amounts for a Guinness, and now one can costs TJS40 (other beers cost around TJS10). To find it, go to the Gurminj museum, head south to the corner and turn left.
Small Restaurants in front of the OperaThere are about 6 small restaurants selling shashliks, beer and softdrinks in front of the opera. Pick a table in the shade and watch people walk by while sipping your cold beer.
- Adventurer's Inn, ul. Pulod Tolis (ул. Пулод Толис) 5/11
Atlas B&Baddress: 63, Mirzo Rizo (ул. Мирзо Ризо)Very good Tajik Guesthouse.
phone: +992 93 8177272, +992 93 525 6666, +992 44 625 7373address: 6, Mirzo Rizo str (ул. Мирзо Ризо)Sauna & swimming pool, billiards & table tennis, fitness saloon, massage services, conference-room, Wi-Fi Internet, disc-bar with variety of beverages, transport services, dry cleaning and storing the luggage, Reservation and obtainment of tickets
Avestophone: +992 37 2211280, +992 44 2215252address: Ave. Rudaki (пр. Рудаки), 105 А
Guest house Bakhorphone: +992 37 2241155address: Ul. Karamova (ул. Карамова) З
Guesthouse Comfortphone: +992 37 2246904, +992 44 6012206, +992 918 654064, +992 918 621119address: 59 Lva Tolstogo str. (Ул. Льва Толстого, ул. Хамза Хакимзаде)24-hour room service, breakfast, bar, dinner and conference halls, laundry, transportation, Wi-Fi, telephone services, copying, scanning, printing.
Gulistan Tour Hotelphone: +992 44 620-9191, +992 44 620-9393, +992 93 488-8004address: ul. Bukhoro (ул. Бухоро) 78
Mercury Hotelphone: +992 37 2244491, +992 44 6400666, +992 44 6400777, +992 918 888889, +992 918 882222address: 9, Lev Tolstoy Str (ул. Л. Толстого)
phone: +992 43 377 1234address: Prospekt Ismoili Somoni 26/1A five-star hotel with 202 rooms and suites. Amenities: floor-to-ceiling windows, sitting area, heated bath floor, wireless internet and free access to pool and health club. Lounge for free continental breakfast and evening cocktails.
phone: +992 48 7018800, +992 48 7019900, +992 918 847777address: Perviy Proezd Lokhuti (Первый проезд Лохути), 5Free Wi-Fi, a fitness centre
phone: +992 44 6409559, +992 93 8115555address: Proezd Muhammad (проезд Н.Мухаммад) 6/3Twelve rooms. All rooms have private bathroom, telephone, TV, mini-bar, air conditioning, hair dryer.
phone: +992 44 6008150, +992 44 6008151, +992 37 2363888address: 12, Sportivnaya str (Улица Спортивная)
phone: +992 37 233-1111, +992 93 506-9999address: Karabaeva (1 проезд Н.Карабаева) 11, Apt 3 (кв.№3)
Marians Guesthouseaddress: Shohtemur St (ул. Шотемур) 67/1
Hotel Oriyophone: +992 37 224-2445, +992 37 224-2474address: ul. Karamova (ул. Карамова ),4
- Poytakht Hotel (Пойтахт
phone: +992 987 133005, +992 987 360004, +992 987 133005address: Gafurova Street (ул. Гафурова), 34, Bldg 1Two four-bed rooms, one eight-bed room. 24-hour front desk staff, free WiFi, free safety box, non-smoking policy, airport pick up/drop off service
phone: +992 48 7014000address: 14 Rudaki Ave (Проспект Рудаки 14)
- SAAF (СААФ
Hotel Sinophone: +992 372 27 0092address: Shevchenko Street ( ул. Шевченко), 75-26
phone: +992 48 7017171address: Mirzo Tursunzoda Street (Улица Турсунзаде) 21a,b
Takhti Shohi Hotelphone: +992 44 600-9933, +992 44 600-9494address: 3, Loiq Sherali Str. (ул. Лоик Шерали)6 standard rooms; 22 superior rooms
Tajikistan Hoteladdress: 22, Shotemur Str.
Tadzhikmatlubotphone: +992 37 224-6487address: Rudaki ave. (Проспект Рудаки) , 137
phone: +992 37 2213300, +992 37 221-4414address: Adkhamova Street (ул. Адхамова), 21Wide-screen TV, discount for 3 days+ orders, Free Wifi internet
Gastnitsa Vakhshphone: +992 37 227-8188, +992 37 221-4031address: Rudaki ave. (Проспект Рудаки), 24A nice, clean and very centrally located hotel. The staff might try to sell you to more expensive room first but ask for the cheaper ones. All rooms have a bathroom and a TV while some of the rooms have nice balconies toward the square in front of the Opera. Some English and German is spoken at the reception (sometimes).
phone: +992 47 4410702, +992 47 4410703, +992 48 7011505, +992 93 4441515address: Bokhtar str.(ул. Бохтар), 37/124 rooms. Services: air-con; free in-room breakfast with menu; Cable and satellite TV; Free Internet (Wi-Fi), Underground Parking; Laundry; Transfer, rent a car; 24/7 presence of the staff, security and video surveillance 24 hours; daily room cleaning; medical care; mini bar.
phone: +992 887 08 10 77address: Rahmon Nabiyev, 2. proezd, dom 23Family-run hostel with 18 beds, free Wi-Fi and free breakfast. 10-20 min drive from the city centre.
phone: +992 372 111 050address: проспект Рудаки, 24Central, across the road from the Opera & Ballet Theater. 100 metres to Dushanbe main road: Rudai Av. &00 meters to Traditional Market (Green Market).Good mattresses; Kettle for tea or coffee in the room, free tea bags, coffee powder, bottles of mineral water and toiletries provided daily, safe box, aircom and good Wi-Fi, flat screen satellite TV all in your room; transfer from and to the airport; self-service substantial breakfast, discounts for long stays/off-season. Helpful English speaking staff.
In general, Dushanbe is safe but robberies and street crime do sometimes occur even in broad daylight although this is rare. The police force can sometimes seem a little ineffective. Avoid attracting police attention, as the law enforcement officials are primarily concerned with augmenting their small income. People tend to be private and conservative but with a little effort they can be incredibly welcoming and genuine.
Many people complain about corrupt airport officials, who try to scam departing passengers. For further information and how to avoid problems google "Dushanbe airport scam".
Don't drink the water from the tap, nor use the water to brush your teeth, unless you're used to the tap water of the region. Always wash fresh produce, especially when bought from the local bazaar. Some melons, although they are incredibly fresh and sweet, can be irrigated and fertilized with manure, so sometimes washing them will not help. Commonly foreigners from developed countries will get sick at least once while in Tajikistan, but this can be delayed by avoiding unwashed/unpeeled fruits and vegetables (be especially wary of this in restaurants).
- phone: +992 37 2212189, +992 43 3773000address: 59/1 Ismoili Somoni Street
- phone: +992 37 2359827, +992 37 2357065, +992 37 2350906, +992 37 2362253, +992 37 2352733address: Abuali Ibn Sino (ул. Абуали ибн Сино) 29/31
- phone: +992 48 7024108address: Rudaki ave. (Проспект Рудаки), 17/2
- phone: +992 37 2292000address: 109-A, Ismoili Somoni Avenue (Zarafshon district)
- phone: +992 37 2242221address: 65 Mirzo Tursunzoda Street
UzbekistanVisas to Uzbekistan can be obtained here. You need to bring a passport size photo, a copy of your passport and your Tajik visa in addition to your passport. Some nationalities (including Finnish), need to bring an invitation. The visa is issued on the same day you submitted your application so that the processing takes, depending on how busy it is at the embassy, about an hour. The staff is neither friendly nor helpful.
Iskander-Kul lake is popular with locals in the summertime and it's very much possible to reach it for free through hitchhiking and hiking. There is a waterfall. Often completely packed though.
An alternative waterfall in the area is near Gusgarf village. It drops 32m into a pool, possible to swim (for the brave!) unlike in Iskander-Kul. Difficult to find, however. There is a shepherd's trail from Gusgarf village about 4km north. 1,000m ascent over rough scree. Follow the (sometimes invisible) trail to the top of the mountain (where it is possible to camp and make a fire), look down over the ridge and to the left, the waterfall is hidden behind the large bare rock. Turn left along the ridge and walk along until you see a trail leading down to the right; follow this over a ford until you reach a rocky barely-there stream flowing steeply downhill on the left, then follow this down to the waterfall. Or ask a shepherd for directions ("gdye vadapad?" should suffice). Difficult hike, wear good shoes.