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Looking north across the city

Dushanbe is located in Tajikistan
Location of Dushanbe in Tajikistan
Coordinates: 38°32′12″N 68°46′48″E / 38.53667°N 68.78°E / 38.53667; 68.78
Country  Tajikistan
 - Mayor Mahmadsaid Ubaydulloyev
 - Total 124.6 km2 (48.1 sq mi)
Elevation 706 m (2,316 ft)
Population (2008)[1]
 - Total 679,400
Time zone GMT (UTC+5)
 - Summer (DST) GMT (UTC+5)
Website www.dushanbe.tj

Dushanbe (Tajik: Душанбе, Dushanbe; Dyushambe until 1929, Stalinabad until 1961), population 679,400 people (2008 est.), is the capital and largest city of Tajikistan. Dushanbe means "Monday" in Tajik,[2] and the name reflects the fact that the city grew on the site of a village that originally was a popular Monday marketplace.



Situated on the confluence of two rivers, Varzob and Kofarnihon, Dushanbe is the capital of Tajikistan. Although archaeological remnants dating to the 5th century BC have been discovered in the area, there is little to suggest that Dushanbe was more than a small village until around 80 years ago. In 1920, the last Emir of Bukhara briefly took refuge in Dushanbe (then called Dyushambe) after being overthrown by the Bolshevik revolution. He fled to Afghanistan after the Red Army conquered the area the next year.

Monument of Ismoil Somoni in Dushanbe

Dushanbe, which means "Monday" in Tajik, developed on the site of a Monday marketplace village, Dyushambe-Bozor,[3] and its former name Dyushambe was a Russified version of the word meaning "Monday" in Tajik[4] (du-shanbe from du two + shanbe Saturday, lit. "second day after Saturday"). Following the Red Army victory in Central Asia the village was upgraded to town in 1925 and made the capital of the newly created Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Tajik ASSR). After the transformation of Tajik ASSR to Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic (Tajik SSR) in 1929, Dyushambe was renamed Stalinabad, after Joseph Stalin. As part of Nikita Khrushchev's de-Stalinization initiative, the city was renamed Dushanbe in 1961.

The Soviets transformed the area into a centre for cotton and silk production, and relocated tens of thousands of people to the city from around the Soviet Union. The population also increased with thousands of ethnic Tajiks migrating to Tajikistan following the transfer of Bukhara and Samarkand to the Uzbek SSR. A peaceful and relatively prosperous city under Soviet rule, Dushanbe was home to a university and the Tajik Academy of Sciences. Severe rioting occurred in February 1990, after it was rumored that Moscow planned to relocate tens of thousands of Armenian refugees to Tajikistan. Dushanbe riots were primarily fueled by concerns about housing shortages for the Tajik population, but they coincided with a wave of nationalist unrest that swept Transcaucasia and other Central Asian states during the twilight of Gorbachev's era.[5]

Dushanbe dancer

The city was badly damaged as a result of the Civil War in Tajikistan (1992–1997) that sprang up in the nation shortly after its independence. However resurgences in the Tajik economy have transformed Dushanbe into a rapidly growing commercial, cultural and industrial center. Many multi-story apartment and office buildings were constructed and the city was beautified during this period. Monuments and statues commemorating the city's Persian and Iranian past were erected.


Dusanbe is currently made up of: 83.4% Tajiks, 9.1% Uzbeks, 5.1% Russians, 2.4% other.

Population of Dushanbe
Year Population
1926 6,000
1936 83,000
1956 227,000
1971 388,000
1991 582,000
2002 579,000
2006 661,000


Districts of Dushanbe

Dushanbe is divided into the following districts:

  1. Abuali Ibn Sina
  2. Firdavsi
  3. Ismail Somoni
  4. Shokhmansur


Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm

Dushanbe has a humid subtropical climate with hot summers and relatively mild winters. The climate is damper than other Central Asian capitals, with an average annual rainfall over well over 500 millimetres (20 in) but is still highly continental and has the hot, dry summers typical of the region. Winters are not as cold as further north owing to the shielding of the city by mountain from extremely cold air from Siberia.



Coal, lead, and arsenic are mined nearby in the cities of Nurek and Kulob allowing for the industrialization of Dushanbe. The Nurek Dam, the world's highest as of 2008, generates 95% of Tajikistan's electricity, and another dam, the Roghun Dam, is planned on the Vakhsh River. A leading cotton textile center, Dushanbe also produces silk, machinery, electrical appliances, clothing, leather goods, tractor parts, and foodstuffs. The city of Dushanbe is now home to a number of modern telecommunications, aeronautic and other business corporations adding vitality to its economy. Tourism and ecotourism to the Dushanbe region is a component of the city's service industry, which includes shopping centers, cafes, restaurants, and hotels. Museums and theatres add a cultural element to the economy.

Buildings and attractions

The former Dushanbe Synagogue
Dushanbe government building


Many of the most important universities and institutes are based in Dushanbe:


The city is served by Dushanbe Airport.

Sister cities

Currently, Dushanbe has 14 sister cities.

See also


  1. ^ Population of the Republic of Tajikistan as of 1 January 2008, State Statistical Committee, Dushanbe, 2008 (Russian)
  2. ^ D. Saimaddinov, S. D. Kholmatova, and S. Karimov, Tajik-Russian Dictionary, Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan, Rudaki Institute of Language and Literature, Scientific Center for Persian-Tajik Culture, Dushanbe, 2006.
  3. ^ Dushanbe in Dictionary of Geographic Names (Russian)
  4. ^ Francis Joseph Steingass, A Comprehensive Persian-English Dictionary, on-line edition
  5. ^ Ethnic rioting in Dushanbe, New York Times, 13 February 1990. Retrieved 18 October 2008
This article incorporates information from this version of the equivalent article on the Russian Wikipedia.

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Dushanbe is the capital of Tajikistan.

Get in

By plane

For Westerners there are only a few ways to fly into Dushanbe. It is possible to transit Moscow - Domodedovo Airport, which has daily flights to Dushanbe, without a visa if you have no checked luggage, otherwise a transit visa is required (flight is on Domodedovo Airlines). There is also twice a week a flight from Istanbul - Atatürk on Turkish Airlines. If you 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. These policies are subject to change without a notice. Check with your airline(s) to find out whether they currently transfer luggage.

Turkish airlines fly 2 or 3 times per week from Turkey. Aussie, Brits, and such countries can apply for a visa at the very small airport in Dushanbe; be sure to bring 2 passport photos, and know the person's address in which you are staying. Don't loose your "beeline travel slip". the luggage x-ray machines are very poor and they pay little attention to the screens. Watch the kids 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 gain a tip.

Latvia's national airline airBaltic will operate flights Riga-Dushanbe as of June 1, 2009. airBaltic will be first EU carrier to fly to Tajikistan. Riga is a hub between West and East, so check available connections at airline's website. airBaltic operates flights to 57 destinations in Europe, Scandinavia, CIS and Central Asia.

By bus

A shared taxi, usually a jeep of some kind, from the bazaar at Istravshan takes about 7 hours and costs 90 TJS. The road is quite bad at the moment but the Chinese are working hard to improve it. This means, that in the future the travel time will be significantly less but currently the costruction work can slow down your travel a lot. The Chinese construction workers can close down the whole road and keep it closed until they've finished with the days work meaning waiting times of 8 hours or more.

Get around

Very few streets in Dushanbe have names, so it is important to know landmarks and how to navigate with them. Every cab 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.

Dushanbe is an interesting city, but only for a few days. The center is basically one long street, with a few other main streets intersecting it. Other than a few museums and monuments, there is not much here. The nightlife is terrible. 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 (and her friends).

  • Massive Statue of Somoni: This statue commemorates the one for whom the currency is named. It is on Prospekt Aiani. Apparently, the crown is 10 kilograms of tajik gold. Beware: the police at the bottom may ask for money.
  • Victory Park: Hike to the top for a seasonal tiki-themed beer garden offering views of the city. The truly brave can take the rickety gondola. Turn left off of Rudaki at the TSUM and pass the beer factory.
  • Fort Hissar: Barter with a taxi to drive you 10 km out of town to this rebuilt 13th century fort and madrassa. It was destroyed by Soviet troops in their hunt for Enver Pasha. Entrance fees are 1 to 3 somoni.
  • Rudaki statue. Recently opened for the Shanghai summit, the new park on Rudaki Avenue 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.  edit


There is not much "to do" in Dushanbe. You can visit the Museum of Antiquities on the main square. It is quite old fashioned, and include a number of exhibits that detail the country's history.

See Sleeping Buddha in the Museum of Archeology

  • Delhi Darbar: The most well-known of three local Indian restaurants serves excellent butter chicken and spinach. It also offers private "family rooms." It is on Rudaki near the Pedagogical Institute.
  • Merve: Happening, casual Turkish cafeteria always packed with students and young locals. Have several choices in mind, as they never ever have everything on the menu, no matter how basic. It also serves an authentic Turkish breakfast. It is on Rudaki next to Orima supermarket.
  • Salsa: The 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.
  • Tiflis: One of two Georgian restaurants in the city with some of the best meat dishes in the city (and a substantial wine list). It is located behind the opera-ballet, across the park.
  • Georgia Cafe: the 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. Be sure to either book or come early, as the seats go fast.
  • La Grande Dame: The only French Restaurant in town. It serves great steaks and other food at a hefty price. It is, however, popular with consultants with hefty per diems. The place offers a good taste of the West for those missing their homes. On the corner of Bukhoro and Shevchenko.
  • Kellers. A nice, well-hidden restaurant that serves European and Chinese style food (although worryingly the lines between the two are often blurred). Also, the home made beer (3 som.) is well worth trying. It is on the left side of Somoni street near Rudaki end, at the side of a block of flats.  edit
  • Irish Pub: A brand-new, Irish pub serving Guiness in a can with Irish charm (considering this is Southern Asia). To find it, go to the Gurminj museum, head south to the corner and turn left.
  • Small Restaurants in front of the Opera, (At the small quare in fron of the Opera, just off from Rudaki.). There 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. beer: 3 somonis.  edit
  • Gastnitsa Vakhsh, Rudaki 7 (Just next to the opera). checkout: 12:00. A nice, clean and very centrally located hotel. The staff might try to sell you to more expensive room first but ask for the more economical options. 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. dm: 60 TJS, d: 120 TJS ste: 180 TJS.  edit
  • Hyatt Regency Dushanbe, Prospekt Ismoili Somoni 26/1 (in City Park, near Lake Komsomol), +992 43 377 1234 (), [1]. A 5 star hotel with 202 rooms and suites. Amenities: floor-to-ceiling windows, sitting area, heated bath floor, iPod docking station, wireless internet and free access to pool and health club. Regency Club Lounge for free continental breakfast and evening cocktails.  edit

Hotel Tajikistan Hotel Mercury

Stay Safe

In general, Dushanbe is safe. Robberies and street crime does occur -- even in broad daylight -- although this is rare. The police force is almost totally ineffective, which can lead to criminals acting without much fear of consequence. People keep to themselves; they are very private; you cannot even ask someone the time. Although some are friendly, people (both Russians and Tajiks) can be quite rude and unhelpful.

If you are a woman, be careful. Be prepared for harassment, not just verbally. Be prepared for a lot of staring from large groups of men and even "groping" on public transport (just to get thrills of touching ones skirt or something). Take care as a woman!

Furthermore, do not travel alone at night as a male; street gangs are common.

Stay healthy

Never drink the water from the tap, nor use the water to brush your teeth. Failure to do this will leave you with frequent toilet visits and cramping belly pains that will cause lack of sleep! Always wash your hands after being on the street. Always wash fresh produce, especially when bought from the local bazaar. Medical facilities are very poor and unhygienic with primitive medical tools.

  • Embassy of Uzbekistan, (Take the small street off from Rudaki just next to hotel Avesto (Rudaki 105) and walk until the bend.). 9:00-12:00. Visas 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 frienly nor helpful. 62 USD.  edit
  • United States, [992] (37) 229 20 00 (, fax: [992] (37) 229 20 50, 236 04 30), [2].  edit
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:





From Tajik душанбе (dušanbe), Monday). Cognate with Persian دوشنبه (došanbe), from دو (do) + شنبه (šanbe), meaning the second day after Saturday.

Proper noun




  1. The capital of Tajikistan.


Simple English

Dushanbe train station

Dushanbe (Tajik: Душанбе, Persian: دوشنبه) is the capital city of Tajikistan. About 562,000 people live in Dushnabe as of 2000. The name is borrowed from the Persian word for "Monday" (du "two" + shamba or shanbe "day", lit. "day two") and refers to the fact that it was a popular "Monday" market place.


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