Tajikistan is a landlocked nation in Central Asia, the smallest country in the region. it shares borders with Kyrgystan, Uzbekistan, and China and Afghanistan, the border with which is marked by the Amy Darya and Panj rivers. It is covered by the Pamir mountain range, so more than fifty percent of the country is over 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) above sea level. The only significant areas of lowland are in the north (part of the Fergana Valley), and in the Southern Kofarnihon and Vakhsh river valleys, which form the Amu Darya. The capital, Dushanbe is located on the southern slopes above the Kofarnihon valley. The glaciers in Tajikistan’s mountains are the major source of runoff for the Aral Sea. There are over 900 rivers in Tajikistan longer than 10 kilometres.
Facts and Figures
143,100 km2, 55,251 sq2
Tajikistan is a haven for the active and adventurous among you. Its mountainous terrain makes for trekking, climbing, walking, cycling, and water sports galore – not to mention the spectacular views. You can even see fossilised dinosaur tracks! For the city types, however, the capital Dushanbe has wide leafy avenues and elegant architecture to a backdrop of steep mountains. Take a step back in time to the Soviet Era in Nurek, a formerly restricted area with a towering statue of Lenin. You can stay in a traditional yurt in the mountains, explore the remote wildernesses where yetis are still believed to exist, and marvel at the changing colours of the seven Muragazor Lakes. But before you leave, make sure you get some kefir, a thick drinking yoghurt with your breakfast, and snack on chiburekki, lovely little deep-fried doughnuts.
Once part of the Samanid Empire, the area that is today Tajikistan became part of the Russian Empire in the late nineteenth century. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, guerillas waged a war against Bolshevik armes in an attempt to remain independent, but Tajikistan became a republic of the Soviet Union in the 1920s. The population was heavily supressed, and Soviet authorities started a campaign of secularisation, closing mosques, synagogues and churches.
As part of the USSR, Tajik soldiers were conscripted during the Second World War and fought against Germany, Finland and Japan. By the late 1980s nationalists were calling for increased rights and when the Society Union collapsed in 1991, Tajikistan finally gained independence. Unfortunately the country then suffered a devastating civil war which lasted from 1992 to 1997. Non-Muslims, especially Russiand and Jews, fled, and Tajikistan was left in a state of complete devastation with an estimated 100,000 dead.
Since the end of the war, newly established political stability and foreign aid have allowed the country’s economy to grow. Trade in commodities such as cotton, aluminium and uranium have contributed greatly to economic growth. However, fighting erupted again in July 2012 and there is a general threat of terrorism.
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