Tourism in Tajikistan

Area: 143,100 sq. km 
Population: 8,000,000 (01.04.2013)
Capital: Dushanbe 
Major towns/cities: Khujand, Kulob, Qurghonteppa, Istaravshan, Vahdat.

Tajikistan is a newly independent state on the southern tip of Central Asia. Beautiful and remote, Tajikistan has much to offer to the mountaineer, the hiker and the independent traveller in search of remote locations and unusual cultural experience. There are opportunities for alpine mountaineering, rock climbing, hiking, horse or camel riding, historical exploration, cultural experiences or simply relaxing among dramatic mountains and lakes.

The area of Tajikistan is 143.1 thousand square km. The altitudes vary from 300 to 7,495 meters above sea level. The area stretches WE for 700 km, and NS for 350 km. Tajikistan borders with Uzbekistan in the north and west, Kyrgyzstan - in the north, Afghanistan - in the south, China - in the east. In the southeast, Tajikistan is separated from India and Pakistan by a band of Afghan area, from 15 to 65 km wide. 
       Geographically, Tajikistan is generally subdivided into five natural and geographic zones: Northern Tajikistan, South-western Tajikistan, Central Tajikistan, the Western Pamirs, and the Eastern Pamirs. These zones differ from each other in climatic conditions, relief, geological structure, vegetation, animal world, and anthropogenic load. 
              The climate of Tajikistan is continental, characterized by considerable seasonal and daily fluctuations of temperature, humidity and other meteorological elements. The annual average sunshine varies from 2,000 to 3,160 hours. 
      Tajikistan represents a unique tourist attraction of modern times, as it possesses a great cultural-historical heritage, original culture, and a favourable geographical location, a variety of natural landscapes, recreational zones, flora and fauna. The history of Tajik people is rooted in the mists of time, to the beginning of human civilization. The oldest objects found in the territory of modern Tajikistan are the proof of that. Opening of the first monuments of Stone Age in 1956 was a kind of sensation. 60 sites of stone tools' findings were recorded in a country's territory. More than 10 thousand items made of stone were excavated in sites, located at an altitude of 4200 meters above the sea level, in hard-to-reach regions of high mountains. They are presented as large tools such as scrapers and notched tools which preserve Palaeolithic traditions during processing. The age of Stone Age open monuments is mostly related to VIII-V BC. Rock carvings – petroglyphs, carved on rocks or on separate stones of some figures of animals, people or whole compositions, represent a separate, very specific area of archaeological research in Tajikistan and since then more than 10,000 drawings on rocks have been detected.

Tajikistan Mountains and valleys, people living on its territory, are already mentioned in ancient sources of classical authors such as Pliny and Ptolemy. Since ancient times the territory of Tajikistan was located on important historical routes of the Great Silk Road connecting the East and the West. It occupied an important place in international trade and cultural exchange, from the earliest times linking the possessions of Bactria - Taharistan (Chaganian, Shumon, Ahorun, Qubodiyon, Vakhsh, Hutal, Rasht, Kumed, Darvoz, Vanj, Rushan and Wakhan), Sogda, Istaravshan (Ustrushan) and Ferghana with India, Afghanistan and China. The Great Silk Road did not only become an exchange of goods between the East and the West, but also an exchange of ideas, cultures and people. Consequently, a kind of cultural community, an amazing composition was created, in which with a varying degrees of intensity both "Western" and "Oriental" features manifest. For example, across the entire Great Silk Road, weapons manufactured by Sogdian craftsmen were famous. It is a known fact that in 718,the rulers of Sogdiana, donated a chainmail to China, which the local gunsmiths took as a sample and spread it in the Chinese army. Sogdian leather and jewellery items, silk fabrics and collared salt had an excellent reputation. Sogdiana exported "golden peaches" which so much amazed the aliens, white and yellow cherries, sheep and graceful fast horses.

Today in the oldest cities of Tajikistan Khujand, Istaravshan, Penjikent, Kulyab, an appearance of which has changed significantly over the years, the ancient historical, cultural and craft traditions are carefully preserved. The famous dynasties of gold embroidery products craftsmen, craftsmen producing silk, abrasive, batik, embroiderers of knives, craftsmen of ceramics whose products are well-known throughout the world Among the tourists visiting these ancient cities, the most popular is ethnographic tourism, which, apart from learning the historical traditions, culture and life of people, gives an opportunity to learn the basics and skills of ancient forgotten crafts under the guidance of famous artists.

Kairakkum reservoir, titled as Tajik sea, is located in the east of Khujand, and has been formed by the construction of hydropower station on Syr-Darya River, which has become an excellent tourist destination. Sanatoriums, holiday houses, camping sites located in beautiful orchards, have been constructed on its shores.

Modern Tajikistan is a mountainous country with absolute altitudes from 300 up to 7 495 meters above the sea level. 93% of the country is covered by mountain ranges that are related to the Pamirs, Hissar-Alay and Tien-Shan mountain system. The mentioned ranges are separated by rich and fertile lands of Ferghana, Zarafshan, Vakhsh and Hissar valleys. The complexity of the relief and large amplitude of mountain systems' altitudes causes an exceptional variety of flora and fauna.

Tajikistan is a country of the highest peaks, powerful glaciers, and rapid turbulent rivers, inimitable in its beauty lakes, unique flora and rare animals. It is precisely the mountainous, floor landscape that defines a specific and unique nature of Tajikistan, the richness of its forms, brought to life by a variety of climatic zones. In an hour and a half hour's flight, one can leave the sultry heat of Vakhsh valley and reach the arctic cold of the Pamirs eternal snows. On the basis of 13 existing state wildlife sanctuaries and preservations of "Zorkul", "Romit", "Mozkul", "Dashti Jum", "Shirkent" historical Park, as well as the Tajik National Park a unique environment, landscapes and natural monuments are preserved in its original form. As well as rare species of plants and animals listed in the Red Book, are preserved, including the horned goat (morhur), mountain argali (Marco Polo), Bukhara argali (ureal), spotted Bukhara deer, snow leopards, the Tien-Shan brown bear, striped hyena, Indian mountain goose. 84 species of mammals, over 365 species of birds, 49 species of reptiles, about 52 fish species and more than 10000 species of insects inhabit in the republic's territory. Flora of Tajikistan consists of more than 5,000,000 species of higher plants, including many endemics. The territory of the Tajik National Park covers 2.6 million hectares that covers 18 per cent of the country's territory and 60 percent of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of the republic. In recent years, the Directorate of the National Park, actively implements measures for promotion of eco-tourism infrastructure and improvement of ecological situation in the highlands of the Pamir.

One of the unique corners of nature in the upper Amu Darya River is titled as "Tigrovaya balka". Here, in natural primordial environment, inhabit such animals as the European red deer Hangul, desert antelope Jayran, leopard, jungle cat, hyena, black-and-gold Tajik pheasant, and desert partridge-Chil, snake eater eagle, wild boar, badger and porcupine. Of reptiles, valuable for science and medicine, there is the porcupine. Of reptiles, valuable for science and medicine, there are the Central Asian cobra, viper, carpet viper and numerous groups of other non-poisonous snakes. There is trout, marinka, catfish, mudfish, carp, grass carp in rivers and lakes, and an ancient relic fish skafiringus, is preserved in the lower reaches of the river Vakhsh. There are 125 facilities of tourist, sanitaria and health resort sectors functioning in the republic, including 51 hotels and 9 resorts, the rest are holiday houses and recreation areas, tourist bases and recreation camps. The majority of hotels are located in Dushanbe, Khujand, Kurgan-Tube, Kulyab and Khorog. Tajikistan has 3 international airports in Dushanbe, Khujand and Kulyab.

Natural and recreational resources of the republic, the availability of historical and cultural monuments, predetermine the features of formed national tourist product, promotion and implementation of which provides a stream of foreign tourist to Tajikistan on the world tourism market. In this regard, the priority-driven sectors of international tourism in the country are considered the following:

  • Mountaineering, mountain sports and ecotourism; - Rafting, paragliding, downhill skiing;
  • International hunting;
  • Historical and educational, ethnographic tourism;
  • Sanatorium-and-spa treatment.

The Pamir Mountains  - one of the most famous highlands of the word, with absolute altitudes of 2800 up to 7495 meters above the sea level, known worldwide as the "roof of the world" is located in the territory of Tajikistan. Here, the tourist resources include the climbing routes to the highest mountain peaks Ismoili Somoni and Eugenia Korjenevskaya, located at a height of more than 7,000,000 meters, hunting facilities, natural landscapes, caves and mineral springs of thermal and cold, carbonate and silicate waters. Annually, international climbing expeditions are conducted in Tajikistan, during which climbers from around the world, ascend the highest peaks of the country. Climbers from all over the world, aim for the conquest of Ismoili Somoni (7.495 meters) – a high-altitude pole of Pamir. The unique topography of the region favors the development of tourist trips and trekking of various degrees of difficulty, engagement in specific sports such as rock climbing, mountaineering, skiing, hiking, combined with hunting and photo hunting, rafting, paragliding, snowboarding, speleotourism and other types of extreme tourism.

The Fan Mountains are famous for their fantastic lakes and peaks and are perfect for trekking, horse trekking or rock climbing. Little known and rarely visited, these mountains form part of the Pamir Range tucked away in northwest Tajikistan. This beautiful wilderness renowned for its high summer pasture is a haven for the amateur botanist and ornithologist and offers spectacular vistas of flower-strewn meadows, turquoise lakes and Snowmelt Rivers with a backdrop of 5000m peaks. Like many remote areas in Central Asia with a tradition of warm hospitality, your journey here will likely be punctuated with pressing invitations from local nomads and herders.
           The Muzkol Range - these mountains are considered totally unclimbed with a number of 4.000m and 5.000 m unnamed peaks of varying difficulty. Climbing should be adventurous without being extreme, and there will be opportunity to enjoy some 
trekking in stark but beautiful surroundings. There is also the possibility of encountering wildlife such as Marco Polo sheep, wild camels and snow leopards.
Lake Sarez, in the heart of the Pamirs, was formed in 1911 when the side of a mountain was dislodged by an earthquake and fell into the path of a mountain river.
           Iskandarkul Lake -Established in 1969. Area 30.0 thousand ha. Elevations range from 2,000 to 3,500 m. The following animals are represented here: loach, muddier, green toad, water snake, Himalayan rock agama, geckos, Central Asian viper, Levantine viper, wood pigeon, blue hill pigeon, rock pigeon, and other. The lake is known as the lake of Alexander Macedon) with alpine meadows, forests, crystal clear water of the lake and rivers, pure mountainous. On a hiking tour tourists will have to spend nights in a tent camp or cottages, which are available at Iskandarkul Lake.
           Kara-Kul Lake - in the north of the Pamirs, formed by a meteor 10 million years ago, is 3915m above sea level and hence too high for any aquatic life.
Tajik National Park -is the largest nature protection area in Central Asia, with a wide spectrum of mountain and high-mountain ecosystems. Established in 2002, the park contains 2.6 mills. ha and includes numerous species of flora and fauna, including Marco Polo mountain sheep and ibex and snow leopard. It also contains a number of glaciers, encompasses rather big mid-mountain and high-mountain territories, which conclude 14 types of ecosystems and numerous natural monuments as well. 
            "Beshai palangon" Nature Reserve - spectacular woodlands inhabited by Bukhoro Deer, pheasant, hyena, riparian and foxes. Established in 1938. The nature reserve (49, 9 thousand ha) is located on the south of Tajikistan. 
Prevailing landscape is flat delta terrace of Vakhsh River 7 km wide. It includes 10 lakes and bogs with predominance of tugai forests as well as deserted and foothill ecosystems of southern Tajikistan and agro-ecosystems. 
                    Romit Reserve - established in 1959, 16,2 thousand ha. It is situated on the southern slopes of Hisor mountain ridge, within the Romit gorge. Split rocky landscape with an elevation from 1200 to 3200 meters above sea level characterizes its territory. Forested area is less 3 thousand ha. Flora of reservation includes few rare and endangered species of plants while fauna is very diverse.
                Dashtijum Reserve - established in 1983, area - 19,7 thousand ha, situated on southern slopes of Khazratishoh mountain ridge. An original rocky landscape with an elevation from 850 to 2400 meters above sea level characterizes its territory. Forested area is about 3 thousand ha. Flora includes few rare and endangered species: Fissidens karataviensis, Ostrowskia magnifica, Iris darwasica, etc. The largest population of Tajik Markhur Capra falconry inhabits here. Other fauna includes: Himalayan rock agama Stelio himalayanus, geckos and snake-eyed skinks Ablepharus, among many others. 
                 Sari-hоsor Nature Park - established in 1959, since 1979 the area has been extended to 196 thousand ha. Since, in view of development of the South-Tajik territorial cattle-breeding complex the Sari-hosor protected area exists only conditionally. Average elevation 1400 - 4000 meters above sea level. Primary goal of protected area - conservation of mid-mountain and high-mountain ecosystems, especially broad-leaved forests.
Zorkul. Established in 2002. Area 80 thousand ha. Elevations range from 4,100 to 4,200 m. Primary goal of the protected area is conservation of habitats of rare and endangered species of birds such as bar-headed mountain goose Anser indicus, brown-headed gull Larus brunnicephalus, Himalayan snow cock Tetraogallus himalayensis, Tibetan snow cock Tetraogallus tibetanus. Besides, few rare and endangered mammals are protected: argali Ovis ammon polii, snow leopard Uncia, etc.
           Shirkent Natural-Historical Park - Established in 1991, area - 31, 9 thousand ha. Average elevation 800 - 4500 meters above sea level. Geological basis of its territory consists of Paleozoic sedimentary-metamorphic and igneous rocks as well as Carbon granitites and other rocks. On the territory of the park more than 30 regular watercourses have been registered and 8 types of ecosystems have been identified. Shirkent Park is characterized by the series of 40 unique historical-geological monuments, including geomorphologic, lithological, palaeontology, tectonic, hydrologic, glacial and historical monuments. Most important objects are the three different age places of dinosaur's footprints, totally more than 400 footprints. The monuments of human history include more 50 archaeological objects and some monuments of ethnography with unique natural-recreational resources. The park provides conditions for organizing tourism-related activities among which mountaineering tours. 
           Peak Somoni and Mount Garmo are to the northwest and west respectively of Lake Kara-Kul. At well over 7000m these two peaks tower over Tajikistan and the neighbouring Republic of Kyrgyzstan to the north. Helicopter flights are available for those who wish to climb.
          Yashil-Kul, or Green Lake (3734m). From the end-of-the-world Tajik settlement of Bulunkul it's a short drive or one-hour walk to Yashil-Kul. It's a turquoise lake framed by ochre desert, a couple of sandy beaches and warm springs on the southern side. A dam is being built at the west end of the lake. Trekking routes to Sarez Lake start nearby.
Dushanbe - is situated in the centre of the Hisor Valley, 800 meters above sea level. It is a young city, and cannot compare with such ancient Central Asian town as Samarqand and Bukhoro in age, history or architectural monuments. We first heard mention of Dushanbe in 1676. At the time it was a small, poor village on the crossroads of caravan routes connecting the Hisor Valley with Bukhoro and Samarqand, the Pamirs and Afghanistan. The Tajik word "Dushanbe" means Monday. The weekly bazaar was held in the village on Mondays, and that was what the place came to be called. The city does have some interesting museums. First of all - the new National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan, second - Republican History, Regional Studies, and Fine Arts Museum named after K. Behzod. It's worth seeing a performance at the Ayni Opera and Ballet Theatre since it has the finest interior in the city. There is a theatre for children in the capital. It is a Children's Puppet Theatre "Lukhtak". To be in Dushanbe and not to be in "Rohat" Teahouse means not to visit the capital of Tajikistan. This famous teahouse is situated in the center, just near the President palace. 
                Khujand - the second largest city in the country, it's one of Tajikistan's oldest towns. Commanding the entrance to the Farhgona Valley, Khujand enjoyed great prosperity and its riches spawned palaces, grand mosques and citadel, before the Mongols steamrolled the city into oblivion in the early 13th century. In XVIII-XIX centuries Khujand has become one of the largest cities of Central Asia, in spare not less than Kokand and Bukhoro. Now city is a large industrial centre of Tajikistan. Main sights are certainly known Panjshanbe Bazaar, attracting attention by its multy-colorful, exotic sounds and odours, variety abundance of fruit and vegetables, and the architectural complex of mosque and mausoleum of Sheikh Muslihiddin, which is located here, near to market. Kayrakkum Reservoir (The Tajik Sea) stretches out the east of city. The "Sea" was created as a result of damming of the Syrdaryo River by an earth and concrete dam of the Kayrokum Hydroelectric Power Station of 130 meters of length. Length of the reservoir is about 65 km, width is from 8 up to 20 km. Several attractive, sanatoriums, holiday centres and tourist bases having an appropriate infrastructure are located on its shores. 
    Kulob - the one of the largest city of the country. From the capital of republic in direction to the south-east up to Kulyab there is about 200 km of an asphalt highway. People lived at mountains and valleys of modern Kulyab and its vicinity are mentioned in ancient sources, by antique, Arabian and Persian authors. In the park there is a two-storied mausoleum of the writer, philosopher and thinker Mir Said Alii Hamadoni, who lived in XIV century. 20 km to the west of the town there is an unique natural monument - Khoja Mumin Salt Mountain, raising in height over than a kilometre and going into the entrails of ground almost by 4 km. Having been here many years ago famous Venetian traveller Marc O'Polo wrote: "Salt is so much, that it will be enough for whole world up to the doomsday". "... In Kulyab and Baljuan the silver works prospers, the cotton and silk fabrics are woven; the cooper, wooden and clay utensils are manufactured. 
     Nomads felted thick felts, weave carpets, palaes, gilems. They also possess large herds of horses". So the ethnographer, archaeologist and traveller A. Bobrinsky wrote at the end of XIX century. On 2006 will be held anniversary of 2700-years of Kulyab. 
Istaravshan is situated 73 km north-west of Tajikistan, near Khudjand. The town is one of the most ancient urban settlements in Central Asia, dating back to the first millennium BC. The recorded history of Istravshan dates back to 6 century BC when the region was a province of the Persian Empire under the Achaemenids. From the II-Ist centuries BC to the I-IInd centuries AD, much of what is now Istravshan was known as Usturavshana, the capital of which was Bunjikat. It was a trading center and benefited greatly from its position as an important staging post on the commercial roads that linked the civilizations of East and West, through Khudjand, Samarqand, Bukhara and Ferghana Valley. Modern Istravshan is a town of craftsmen. Until recently they lived in specific quarters (guzars) of weavers, potters, bazier, smiths an so on. Wonderful pieces of carving, remnants of decorative clothes, painting, pottery, mural paintings, jewellers, embroidery, and pottery of burnt clay glazed with calligraphy are the evidence of the high interest people took in art and handicrafts. 
               Panjikent is a small town, on the banks of the Zeravshan River, is situated 65 km east of Samarqand. Many archaeologists of the world aspire to Panjikent, one of the centres of ancient civilization, a major Sogdian city founded in the 5th century. In the Southern suburbs of modern Pendjikent there is a site of ancient settlement - ancient Pendjikent. Ancient Penjikent was a small but rich town of the Soghdians, an Iranian among the most important people of pre-Islamic Central Asia. The ethnic and territorial name "Soghd/Soghdian" occurs in historical sources as early as in Iranian Achaemenid times (6th century B.C.). In their heartland, the Zarafshan valley, they founded several city-states, as well as colonies along the ancient Silk Routes from Eastern Europe (Crimea) to the Chinese border and Mongolia. 
       South of Penjikent lie the Marguzar Lakes, a system of seven lakes of differing colours that change as the light alters.
    Sohgian city - flourished during 5th to 8th centuries, very well preserved, also called "The Central Asia's Pompeii" (a sumptuous governor's palace, homes, and temples can be seen here). Once Sogdiana controlled a key section of the Silk Road. 
      Hisor Fortress was the central town of Hissar valley, named in manuscripts as History Shodmon. Hissar Fortress and the town had been settled from VI BC to mid of XIX. It was the main administrative, political and economic centre of Hissar valley. The total area is 28 ha, surrounded by one defensive wall. Fortress-citadel consists of three parts and is located on the natural hill. Hissar fortress from the epoch of Timur and Timurids was considered as the centre of Eastern Bukhara, where the representative of Tsar Dynasty (son or brother of Bukhara Ruler) was in reign. 
On the basis of revealed and reconstructed architectural monuments in 1978, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Tajikistan has organized a Hissar historical and cultural preserve. Materials are kept in the fund of Institute of History at Academy of Sciences, Republic of Tajikistan and Hissar historical and cultural preserve. 
                 Hisor Historic and Cultural Reserve, is situated not far from the capital city, is a fascinating archaeological complex, which dates back to the XVth century. A number of mosques, a caravanserai, a mausoleum and a madrase have all been excavated and are on display. 
Houlbuk town IX- XII centuries is located in Kurbon Shahid village of Vosse region. It consists of citadel, palace of ruler and the town. The total area is 70 ha. The palaces of ruler, separate halls are fully excavated. The particular value present the exit portal- gates of Houlbuk, ganch-chasing thread, which decorated the walls of the palace, in which geometrical and flora ornament is blend with Kufic inscription and figures of lions.
Buddhist monastery Adjina-Teppa V-VIII centuries is located 12 km east of Kurgan-Tube. The fortress is in the form of a rectangular, with two parts, including the monastery and the temple. In the temple yard a large cruciform mortar was located. The building of monastery was erected from the raw brick and blocks. Arches, cupolas and etc. covered the building. The wall of the temple and halls were decorated by the numerous sculptures of Buddha and bodhisattvas, among which there was 12 m statue of Buddha laying in Nirvana. The walls of the corridor were covered by the miniature paintings, reflecting the sermon of Buddha, surrounded by people and scene of gifters. 
             Buddhist monastery Vrang, IV-VI-VII centuries. Located on the rock on the left bank of the Vrang Darya River over the Vrang village. It has two-stepped mortar, (the third is not saved). At present on the top of mortar there is quadrangular house, which functions as ostana (worship of stone); yard, surrounded by the wall with corner tower. Inside, the premises for servants and monks are located. Arch premises are cut on the slopes and terrace on the opposite bank The monastery is built on Vakhin or Great Buddhist route, which passed via ancient Vakhan after opening Great Silk Route from east to west.
      Tajikistan is the richest country in reserves of fresh water resources. Almost half of water resources of the Central Asian region are formed in high-altitude rivers, lakes and glaciers of the country. The Republic of Tajikistan ranks eighth in the world on reserves of hydropower resources. Particularly, the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of the republic is very rich in lakes, which have the most varying origins. The largest of them are Karakul, Zorkul, Rangkul, Shorkul, Bulunkul as well as Lake Sarez, which was formed as a result of earthquake in 1911. In general, in the Pamir, in the altitude range of 3200 up to 5000 meters are concentrated 1450 lakes and 220 rivers or 83% of the total area of lakes surface in Tajikistan. The largest lake in the Pamir is a unique salty Lake of Karakul located at an altitude of 3,914 meters above the sea level. Its maximum depth is 236 meters. It is believed that it was formed during the boulder-period and the bottom of the lake, as well as some of its banks is covered with permafrost for miles.

Around 200 sources of mineral and thermal waters are functioning in Tajikistan's territory, on the basis of which a sanitaria and health resort sectors of tourism are developed. The most famous of them "Bakhoriston" resort, "Yavroz", "Kaltuch", "Garm-Chashma", "Khoja Obi Garm" resort, "Shaambary" , "Obi Garm", "Zumrad", "Havatag" sanatoria. Tajikistan's sanatoriums and resorts provide services for treatment of such diseases as cardiovascular system, respiratory system, musculoskeletal system, urinary system, gynecological diseases, gastrointestinal tract, liver and biliary tract, as well as skin diseases. In hotcarbonated spring resorts as "Garmchashma", "Bashor" and "Shahdara", travertine - limestone deposits of extruded shapes are formed. They are particularly beautiful on Garmchashma spring, located within 35 km from Khorog city. Garmchashma spring is located at a height of 2325 m above the sea level and is visible from afar due to the extraordinary white travertine. Travertine is a long shaft, descending to a river by laced terraces. Stalactites, as if grown together are hanging on its slopes, giving an impression of solidified cascades and stone bowls. Natural baths are formed on ledges with water of different temperature (up to 62 * C). Man-made unique monument of nature in the Pamirs is the Pamir Botanical Garden, located at an altitude of 2320m above the sea level near the city of Khorog. Against a background of barren slopes, this garden is a real green miracle, where more than 20,000 plants from all the continents are collected. he rare and unusual specimens of plants, asAmur velvet, cork tree, black Austrian pine and a unique collection of roses with the purest colours and incomparable smell are among them. Fan Mountains are particularly popular among the tourists and mountaineers, which are located between Zerafshan and Hissar ranges from Kshtutdari to Fandaria. Today, Fan Mountains are the most accessible for tourists among the all high mountains of the country. In these mountains, mirror blue-green water - Lake Iskanderkul is located, which is the largest lake of Fan Mountains, located in the north of Tajikistan. It is widely spread out at an altitude of 2200 meters. Here, tourists can watch the stars twinkle and mist rising from the lake surface.

On the shore of a lake, within 160 km from Dushanbe, a tourist base "Iskanderkul" is located. This road is crossed by tourists in cars through the amazing gorges of Fandarya, Yagnob and Iskanderdarya. The mountains around seem to be multi-coloured, as they are dominated by bluish, red and purple hues. Iskandardarya gorges are sometimes named as ravines of colored rocks and the forces of wind have turned them into fanciful walls and castles.

A lot of interesting expects travellers in the south of Tajikistan. One of the oldest cities of Central Asia, Kulyab celebrated its 2700 anniversary in 2006, that became a milestone for the country. In forest thicknesses close to Baljuvan district, Tajik archaeologists have unearthed stone tools, the most ancient one found in Central Asia - their age is 850,000 years. There is also a unique open parking of Neanderthals in Dangara district, in the cave area Ogizkichik with the centres, near which 15,000 charred shells of turtles were found.

A great interest for foreign tourists represents an attraction of beautiful surroundings of the ancient Hutalya, today Kulyab. Particularly attractive is the mountain of Hoja Mumin, a unique natural monument, which entirely consists of pure salt of different colours, pale yellow and grey, bluish green and pink. Stocks of salt of Hoja Mumin mountain can provide the whole mankind for many hundreds years. Another miracle of Hoja Mumin is its caves, which are renowned for their musicality. It turns out that wonderful sounds are generated by the wind, as if fingering through the keys, the long and thin glass icicles- stalactites, hanging at the entrance to the cave. A unique historical and architectural monument is a mausoleum of prominent philosopher and religious figure of the IV century Mir Said Ali Hamadoni in Kulyab, where many followers honouring his Sufi teachings perform a religious pilgrimage.

A competitive tourist complex is formed in Tajikistan and more than 75 tourist enterprises are operating.

In order to promote international tourism in the country, the Government made a decision to simplify the visa procedure. At present, documents for entry to the country are issued within three days. The decisions adopted by the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan by declaring Varzob, Baljuvan and Romit regions as zones of sanatorium treatment, tourism and recreation, contributes to the gradual revival of tourism industry. More than 65% of sanatorium and resort, tourist sectors are restored in the country, and about 35 private tourist recreation areas are constructed, creating real conditions for the organization of international tourism, employment and investment in the given infrastructure. In order to see and to feel the color and exoticism of Asia, it is essential to visit Tajikistan, to see its rich and diverse markets with an abundance of fruits and vegetables, to wander in the shadowy historic streets of old cities, to sit in the tea houses covered with delicate patterns, to drink flavored green tea, to chat with people and learn their traditions, culture and life, as well as to learn the kindness, greatness and wisdom of its people.