Cycling the Pamir Highway

If you are serious about the challenge, then the chance to see things at your own pace and to meet Pamiris will be among the greatest rewards of cycling.

Khujand

One of Tajikistan’s largest and wealthiest cities, Khujand has an almost cosmopolitan air and it bears the weight of its turbulent history well. Parks and monuments have all been sensitively restored, the bazaar is one of the liveliest in central Asia, and the mighty river, Syr Darya (Jaxartes), is a striking urban centrepiece. The well-paved…

Lake Sarez

Lake Sarez (3,263m) is often referred to as the ‘sleeping dragon’, and it is easy to see why. It was formed by an earthquake in February 1911 estimated to be between 6.5 and 7.0 on the Richter scale, as the resulting landslide shifted over 2 billion m³ of rock and formed the Usoi Dam. At…

Introducing dead goat polo: Tajikistan’s national sport

Never mind the Premier League; this is the weekend’s real entertainment.

The best trekking routes in the Fann Mountains

The Fann Mountains are a veritable adventure playground for climbers and trekkers alike.

Dushanbe

With its style caught somewhere between stark Soviet-era and laid-back Western café culture, Tajikistan’s capital city feels more like a market town than a metropolis. Its skyline is scraped by a handful of mid-rises and accented by the world’s now second-tallest flagpole, and the parks and gardens have benefited from some lush landscaping and impressive…

Panjakent

Ideally located only a short drive from the Uzbek border, with its historical sites and bustling bazaar, Panjakent (often spelled Penjikent) strongly deserves to be more than just an overnight stop en route between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Long the gateway between the two countries, it should probably be part of Uzbekistan given that 70% of…

Ajina Tepa

Explore these Buddhist temple ruins where the remarkable sleeping Buddha was first discovered. Some 12km to the east of Bokhtar are the archaeological remains of Ajina Tepa, the 8th-century Buddhist monastery from which the remarkable Sleeping Buddha (now in the National Museum of Antiquities in Dushanbe) was uncovered in the 1960s. Though all of the…

The Pamir Highway

With magnificent mountains, gushing rivers and scarcely another vehicle in sight, the ‘Roof of the World’ is certainly a hot contender for the world’s best drive. The prize for the world’s best drive is hotly contested, but the Pamir Highway certainly comes close to perfection (at least in terms of thrills and views). Magnificent mountains, gushing rivers…

Yagnob Valley

One of Tajikistan’s most wild and unspoilt destinations, this river valley is one of the places where the ancient Sogdian language is still spoken by a select few. The word Yagnob (or Yaghnob) is thought to be derived from the Tajik adaptation of the Yagnobi phrase ‘ix-I nou’, meaning ‘ice valley’ or ‘ice river’. Until…