Goverment building in Dushanbe

Goverment building in Dushanbe


National Flag of Tadjikistan

National Flag of Tadjikistan

National Emblem of Tadjikistan

National Emblem of Tadjikistan

Sumalak navruz tajik

Sumalak – one of the national meals, rather known as a sweet also – prepared in early Spring season. It’s very popular in whole Central Asia, especially during Navruz celebrations.

Sumalak navruz tajik


Iskanderkul lake

Iskanderkul lake

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Nature of Tadjikistan

Penjikent excavations

Penjikent excavations

Nature of Tadjikistan

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Christianity in Kazakhstan

Bus station in Tadjikistan

Charki mosque (Dushanbe, Tajikistan)

Charki mosque (Dushanbe, Tajikistan)

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Science in Tadjikistan

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At Tadjik primary school

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Western tourists wearing Tadjik national dress

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Tadjik national musical instruments


Masters of silk and gold embroidery

Tadjik brides

Manty – one of the Tadjik national meals, famous and common in whole Central Asia

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Shashlyk – one of the Tadjik national meals, famous and common in whole Central Asia

Manti in a steam cooker

Tadjik woman is gathering cotton

Horse meat platter

Tadjik airlines

Train in Tadjikistan

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Public bus in Tadjikistan

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Baggage claim at Tadjik airport

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Sample of Tadjik national currency – Somoni

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Sample of Tadjik national currency – Somoni

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At local Tadjik shop – teapots

Administrative Structure:

Tajikistan consists of 4 provinces (viloyat) – Khatlon and Soghd, 1 autonomous province of Gorno-Badakhshan (GBAO) and the Region of Republican Subordination (formerly known as Karotegin province). Each region – province is divided into several districts, which in turn are subdivided into – village level self governing units (jamoat).
Dushanbe is the capital of Tajikistan. The population of Dushanbe is 679.4 thousand people. According to census data principle ethnicities being Tajik 79.9%, Uzbek 15.3%, Russian 1.1%, Kyrgyz 1.1%, other 2.6% (2000 census).Other major cities are Khujand (150,000) and Kulyab (82,000).

State and public system:

Republic Tajikistan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. September 9, 1991 became the Day of the Republic’s State Independence. Head of State: President Imamali S Rahmonov since 1992. Head of Government: Prime Minister Akil Akilov since 1999. According to the Constitution of Republic of Tajikistan (1994), the highest legislative and representative body of the country is the parliament of Republic of Tajikistan – Majlisi Oli, which consists of the upper chamber – Majlisi Milli and the lower chamber – Majlisi Namoyandagon. The deputies to Majlisi Oli are elected by national vote for the term of five years. The highest executive body of the republic is the Government of Tajikistan, headed by the head of state – president. President of Republic of Tajikistan is elected by national vote for the term of seven years, and not more than for two terms.
The following five political parties are registered and represented in the Majlisi Namoyandagon and Majlisi Milli: People’s Democratic Party, Communist Party, Islamic Renaissance Party, the Socialist Party and Democratic Party.
President Emomali Rakhmonov heads the executive branch of power and was first elected in 1994, and again re-elected in 1999 for a seven-year term. The president appoints and dismisses the Prime Minister and other heads of the government ministries, chairmen and deputies of the National Bank, judges of the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Prosecutor General, signs laws, formulates foreign policy and signs international treaties.
The constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Higher Economic Court and regional courts represent the judicial branch of power.


The National Flag represents a square banner with the three coloured stripes on it: the upper stripe is red and is as wide as the lower green one. The stripe in the middle is white and is one and a half wider that the other two. Half way from the flag post, the white stripe represents a styled crown in gold and a semi-circle of seven stars above it.
There are three colours on a flag of the Republic of Tajikistan: green, red and white. A green stripe are valleys, they are not enough in republic – 7 % of territory. Mountains occupy the rest of the territory. The white stripe is a colour of the main richness of republic – cotton and also the colour of snow and ice in high mountains. The red colour is a colour of unification of republic and brotherhood with other nations of the world.


The National Emblem of the Republic of Tajikistan is a representation of a styled crown and a semi-circle of seven stars above it, in the rays of sun rising from behind mountains covered with snow. The semi-circle is nimbed by a diadem consisting, on the right, of wheat spikes, and on the left, of cotton branches with opened bolls. Above, a three-colour band weaves the diadem; the lower part occupied by an open book on a holder.

Colours of the National Emblem are as follows: the crown, the sun, the mountains, the spikes, the book and the holder are golden; cotton footstools and leaves are green; the band colours are red, white and green; the book cover is red.


January 1- New Year’s Day (according to Gregorian calendar)
March 8 – International Women’s Day
March 21- Navruz
May 1 – International Labour Day
May 9 – Victory Day
July 22 – Tajik language’s day
September 9 – Independence Day of the Republic of Tajikistan
November 6 – Constitution Day
November 9 – National Reconciliation Day
Date varies – Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan celebration, early October)
Date varies – Eid ul-Adha (70 days after Ramadan ends)

The spring festival of Navruz (‘New Days’) is by far the biggest holiday. It’s an Islamic adaptation of pre-Islamic vernal equinox or renewal celebrations and can include traditional games, music and drama festivals, street art and colourful fairs.
Important Muslim holy days, scheduled according to the lunar calendar, include Ramadan, the month of sunrise-to-sunset fasting; Eid-ul-Fitr, the celebrations marking the end of Ramadan; and Eid-ul-Azha, the feast of sacrifice, when those who can afford to, slaughter an animal and share it with relatives and the poor.


Rugged and mountainous Tajikistan sits at the heart of Central Asia with Kyrgyzstan to the north, Afghanistan to the south, China to the east and Uzbekistan to the west. The Republic of Tajikistan stretches as long as 700 km from west to east, and 350 km from the north to the south. Mountainous ridges of Tian Shan and Pamir are located in the east, where the highest peaks in the Central Asia may be found. The mountains occupy 93% of its territory, while almost the half of the country is located above 3,000m on the sea level.
Enormous resources of snow and ice are accumulated in the highlands of Tajikistan. The area of glaciers of the Pamir-Darvaz occupies nearly 6% of the territory of the republic. 9,139 glaciers contain 559 cubic km. of ice, among them the largest glacier of the middle latitudes in the world – the Fedchenko Glacier (71.2 km).
The rich river net of Tajikistan owes its existence to the many glacial sources. In general, the republic gives birth to about 600 rivers and temporary streams of the Amu-Darya – Syr-Darya basin – the largest in Central Asia. The biggest rivers of Tajikistan are the Amu-Darya, the Syr-Darya, the Vakhsh, the Pianj, and the Zerafshan.
There are over two thousand lakes in Tajikistan. Mostly, they are situated in the Pamir and the mountains of Central Tajikistan. The largest ones are Lake Karakul (380 sq. km) and Sarez (79.64 sq. km). In the mountains of the Zerafshan Ridge, there is a tectonic glacial-barrier lake – Iskanderkul that attracts many tourists by its picturesqueness.
Tajikistan is rich in different kinds of mineral waters. Various groups of mineral waters characterised by their specific components can be found here – carbonates, iodine-bromine, siliceous, radon. Over 200 springs have been registered on the territory of the republic. About 70 of them are located in the Pamir.
The nature of the country is famous for its diversity, sharp contrasts and existence of unique landscapes. Here, the sub-tropical heat of intra-mountainous valleys is neighbouring with the arctic cold of the highlands.
The flora of Tajikistan is unusually rich; only flowering plants have over five thousand species, which accounts for the exceptional diversity of vegetation.
Fauna are represented by two species of amphibia, 49 species of reptiles, 365 species of birds, 81 species of mammals, and 647 species of insects.


Tajikistan’s climate is in general continental, subtropical and semiarid. Temperature ranges between 20C (-4F) and 0C (32F) in January and from 0C (32F) to 30C (86F) in June, depending on altitude. There are four main climatic zones in Tajikistan:

1. Valleys and plateau with the elevation of up to 1,000 m have hot long summers with the average July temperature around 30C (86F), with the absolute maximum of 43C (109.4F) – 48C (118.4F). Summer draught is a usual thing.
The winter is short and mild. The average temperature is from -2,5C (27.5F) to 2.0C (35.6F). Precipitation is mostly characteristic for winter and especially spring, around 200 mm a year. The climate of these valleys is favourable for irrigation and sub-tropical plant growing, especially cotton.

2. Zones above 1,000-2,300 meters have a moderate climate with less hot summers and colder winters. Precipitation is more than 400 mm.

3. Highlands above 2,300 metres are characterised by a highly continental climate. A long and cold winter turns into a short and cool summer. The average July temperature at the Anzob Pass is 9.7C (49.46F), at Fedchenko Glacier – 3.6C (25.52F), and in January -12.1C (10.22F) and -17.1C (1.22F) correspondingly. The amount of precipitation varies in a wide range: 379 mm at the Anzob Pass and 1,186 mm at Fedchenko Glacier.

4. Eastern Pamirs climate is especially severe. The average July temperature in Murghab is 13.5C (56.3F), and in January -17.6C (0.32F), with the absolute minimum of -47C (-52.6F).

The lowest temperature was registered at Lake Bulunkul: -63C (-81.4F). There is not much precipitation there – in Murghab, the annual level is 71 mm, with its maximum in May.

When to Go:

Spring & autumn are the best time to visit the country. In spring the hillsides are alive with blossom, before the scorching heat of summer. In autumn, the bazaars are loaded with melons, watermelons, grapes and other fruit.
Trekking in the mountains can be done from June up to the end of September. Visit in winter if you intend to go skiing.


Tajikistan is the main zone of flow formation in the Aral Sea basin. The majority of ecological problems appear with respect to water resources use. In the result of the natural calamities such as mudflows, floods, waterlogging, salinisation, pollution degradation processes took place in all the components of the environment. Hydro-works, roads, riverbanks are being destroyed, forests and individual species of fauna are disappearing, quality of the environment is deteriorating, fish catch is reducing. Purification of waste waters has become a great problem in Tajikistan. In the republic 65% of the population uses tap water for domestic and drinking needs and some 35% uses water from rivers, canals, wells, i.e. water which doesn’t correspond to the epidemiological standards. From the total number of rural population only 51% are provided with tap water, 34% of water supply lines fail to meet sanitary norms and this causes the outbreaks of typhoid fever, hepatitis, dysentery and other infectious illnesses.
The main problem in the system of farming is land erosion. At present, the areas of agricultural lands liable to water erosion represent a considerable part of the territory (36% of irrigated lands in Tajikistan).
The problem of air pollution has become tangible. In Dushanbe, Tursun-Zade, Yavan, Khujand, Kurgan-Tyube concentration of polluting substances exceeds considerably the maximum permissible level.
The process of forest degradation is of a special concern. In the last years the development of new territories, appearance of new villages and lack of fuel led to destructive deforestation.


In the year 2000 the population of Tajikistan was 6.1 million; the growth rate was 1.8 percent and population density is made up of 42.6 persons per square kilometre. In the year of 2008, population is estimated at 7,200,000.
The largest ethnic group in Tajikistan is the Tajiks (79.9%). The Tajiks are descendants of ethnic Iranians who were the traditional sedentary people of Central Asia. The next largest group in Tajikistan is the Uzbeks (15.2%). There are also the Pamiris, also known as Badakhshanis, who reside in the Kuhistoni Badakhshon province (the Pamiris number in the ten thousands).
The minorities such as the Russians (1,1%) and the Bukharian Jews (only 2,000 people) have decreased in recent years because of the repatriation to their historical homeland.
26% of the population is urban and 74% is rural.


Tajikistan is a multi-lingual nation. The country’s official language is Tajik, which refers to the South-western group of the Iranian languages. The Russian language is still widely used and understood, especially in Dushanbe. The republic’s third language is Uzbek, spoken by the quarter of the population who are the ethnic Uzbek, especially in the Soghd Province and in the south-western part of the country.
To the east there are several Iranian based languages, named the Pamir languages, which are different from the Tajik language. Examples of the Pamir languages spoken in Tajikistan are Shughni, Roshani, Vakhi, Iskhashimi, Sarikoli, Baratangi, Kufi, Yazgulemi, and Oroshori. In addition there is a community that speaks Yaghnobi, descendants of the ancient Sogdian language, as well as small population of Pashto and Arabic speakers.


For majority of population of Tajikistan (over 98%) Islam is not just a religion but a way of life, since many of routine actions and ceremonies in life of the people (marriage, funeral, circumcision, even slaughtering livestock) have a religious tone. Amongst the Muslims of Tajikistan there are two primary sects: Hanafi Sunnis and Ismaili Shiites. The Hanafi Sunnis are the largest Muslim group in Tajikistan while the Ismaili Shiites, who are based in the Pamir Mountains, International Ismaili Organisations, such as the Aga Khan Foundation, have provided a great deal of aid for the Ismailis in the poverty stricken Kuhistoni Badakhshon province. Except For Islam, several other confessions function in Tajikistan. Among them are the Orthodox Christian, Lutheran, Korean, a Judaist Synagogue, the Baptist and Krishna praying houses, etc. As a rule, all religious organisations provide their congregation with necessary moral or material assistance.


Tajikistan’s healthcare infrastructure has been badly damaged by the civil war. Things are slowly improving, but travellers should assess the risks and take appropriate precautions before and during their stay. This is even more important for those who plan to travel outside the major cities.
Travellers are advised to take antibiotics and any prescription medicines, contact lens solutions and a first-aid kit containing basic medicines and water treatment tablets.


Secondary school education is compulsory in Tajikistan. The completion rate is above 90%. The average number of enrolled for all levels (age between 6-23) is 62.1%. Estimated adult literacy rate is 99.5%. Tajikistan’s education system has suffered greatly since independence, especially due to the civil war, more than 20% of the schools were destroyed.
In total, today in the Republic there are 30 higher educational institutions among them 18 universities, which provide training of specialists for all branches of national economy.


Situated at the crossroad of eastern civilisations Tajikistan has an ancient culture. The first settlement on the territory of modern Tajikistan dates back to the end of upper Palaeolithic period (15-20 thousand years ago). The remarkable culture of Pamir’s Saks left for us some examples of the unique jewellery and pottery. The Kushan period was time when art and architecture were flourishing. The buildings were decorated with pillars of the capitals, friezes, and sculptures.
The Tajik-Persian poetry, prose, manuscript, miniature has developed during the centuries.
Renaissance culture started during the Samanid period (9th-10th centuries). That was the time of the great scientists, philosophers, and poets. Scientists-mathematicians of the Samanid age Muhammad Buzjani, Muhammad Siji, Abu Jaffar Hozini, Ibn Sina, Aburaihan Beruni contributed to the development of the theory of numbers, the solving of problems in geometry, astronomy as well as chemistry and physics.
That was time of brilliant flourishment of literature. Genius poet Ferdowsi is the farther of the Tajik literature. He improved Farsi language using it for the first time in secular poetry and he was also the author of the famous heroic epic Shahnameh (Book of Kings). Also contributing to the treasury of classic Tajik poetry and literature were famous poets such as Omar Khayyam (the author of Rubaiyat) and Rudaki who was the court poet in Bukhara at the time of the Samanids.
During the period between the 12th and 15th century there appeared poems of Alisher Navoi, Amir Dekhlavi, Kamol Khujandi and Jami.
Three writers dominated the first generation of Soviet Tajik literature. Sadriddin Aini, a Jadidist writer and educator, who turned communist, began as a poet but wrote primarily prose in the Soviet era. His works include three major novels dealing with social issues in the region and memoirs that depicted life in the Bukhara Khanate. Aini became the first president of Tajikistan’s Academy of Sciences. Abdulkosim Lahuti was an Iranian poet who immigrated to the Soviet Union for political reasons and eventually settled in Tajikistan. He wrote both lyric poetry and “socialist realist” verse. Another poet, Mirzo Tursunzoda, collected Tajik oral literature, wrote poetry of his own about social change in Tajikistan, and published various works on popular political themes of the moment. Since the generation that included those three writers, Tajikistan has produced numerous poets, novelists, short story writers, and playwrights.

The Tajik musical culture is very rich and varied. The main musical instruments are setar, dutar, tanbur and bandj. All of them you can see on display of the Museum of musical instruments in Dushanbe.

The history of theatrical art also originates from the epoch of antiquity. Depiction of performers in masks in ancient mural paintings is the proof of it. Nowadays, there are 5 theatres in Dushanbe: Tajik Drama Theatre, Opera and Ballet Theatre, Russian Drama Theatre, Youth theatre and the Puppet Theatre. Since medieval time Tajik puppet folk theatre was famous, it was named zocha-bozi and even Omar Hayam was writing about it in the 11th century.
There are 27 museums in Tajikistan and the most interesting and famous among them is the Museum of History, Local Lore and Fine Arts in Dushanbe.


Tajik people since olden days side by side with farming and cattle-breeding were occupied with different handicrafts such as: pottery, jewellery, arms, blacksmith’s work, carpentry, weaving etc. The Tajikistan Folk applied arts are rich and diverse. The applied arts of Tajikistan embrace a wide range of materials used and methods of ornamentation. These include ceramics, metal chasing and embossing, knife-making, stone carving, ganch (stucco) and woodcarving, jewellery making, silk and gold embroidery, silk weaving, wood-turning and papier-mache work.


A great number of traditions and customs accompany the Tajik family life. Chillashini period of wife’s pregnancy, Hair cutting the first hair cut of children, Toyi-Khatna the boy’s circumcision and lots of other customs which are connected with Islam (Ruza, Namoz, Kurban-holiday, Ramazan-holiday and so on). Weddings are considered to be the most important event in one’s life. Preparations for this special occasion begin from the birth. Tajiks are very friendly and hospitable people. Their customs and ceremonies are passed from generation to generation. Good example of that such celebrations as Navruz (New Year, the beginning of agricultural works), Mehrgon (harvest day), holiday of tulips (Sayri Lola), different kinds of meeting at hashar (voluntary mutual aid in harvesting and house building, circumcision parties, funeral ceremonies, digging channels). The Tajiks traditionally have respect for older people.


Light-coloured cotton garments are best for summer travel. A hat is a necessary accessory. Heat and dust make thick-soled walking shoes a better choice. In colder weather, bring warm boots and woollen layers. For mountain trekking prepare well for intense cold, strong winds and heavy snows.

There are no special clothing requirements for visiting Islamic religious site except that you should take care to cover most parts of your body including arms and legs.


Traditional Tajik meals start with sweet dishes such as halwa, shakarob and tea and then progress to soups and before finishing with plov.
Plov is the staple food for everyday and celebrations too. It consists of chunks of fried mutton with onions, thinly shredded yellow turnip or carrot and rice steamed in a large iron pot.
Shashlyk, known also as shish-kabob, is skewered chunks of mutton barbecued over charcoal served with sliced raw onions and non (rounds of unleavened bread).
Samsa (meat pies) is a pastry pie stuffed with meat and onion or pumpkin, potato, cabbage, mushrooms or nuts backed in tandyr. Tandyr is a traditional cylindrical clay oven, heated with coal. Skill is needed when placing the raw samsas or non-on the inside wall of the oven.
Lepioshka round unleavened bread is also backed in tandyr.

Chiburekki deep-fried dough cakes.

Manty are large dumplings stuffed with finely chopped meat, seasoned with various spices and a large amount of onion, and then steamed in a special pot.
Shurpa is a meat and vegetable soup.
Lagman is a thick noodle soup with thinly sliced fried meat and vegetables.
Chickpea samsas or porridge are common, as well as soups made from beans, milk and herbs.
Tuhum barak is tasty egg-filled ravioli coated with sesame seed oil.
Chakka is curd mixed with herbs, and delicious with flat bread.
Tushbera is steamed dumplings, served plain or with vinegar or butter.
During summer and autumn there is a wide variety of fruits: grapes, pomegranates, apricots – which are also dried and used during other times of the year – and dwarfing them all, the mountains of honey melons and watermelons.


Tajikistan’s economy has been seriously weakened by the civil war, but is now making a slow recovery. Tajikistan’s economy is built on agriculture. Cotton, which is the major cash crop accounting for about two thirds of the gross production value of the agriculture sector, takes up 35 percent of the cultivated area. Besides cotton and grains Tajikistan also produces fruits and vegetables and is involved in horticulture. Apricots, pears, apples, plums, quinces, cherries, pomegranates, figs, and nuts are produced. Various international programs are under way to develop the agriculture sector in Tajikistan, Including a World Bank project designed to help farmers respond to market demands and grow products accordingly.
The mineral resources of Tajikistan contain almost all elements of the Mendeleyev table and are a unique storage of wealth. By this moment, over 400 deposits of mineral resources and ores have been found, explored and prepared for development in Tajikistan. The Bolshoi Konimansur – the world’s second large deposit of silver is situated in the north of Tajikistan. The resources of antimony in Tajikistan are the largest in CIS.
Industry is limited to a large aluminium plant, hydropower facilities, and small factories specialising in light industry and food processing. The nation’s major economic assets include vast water resources; the hydropower potential in the country is significant. One of the biggest hydropower stations was built in the river Vakhsh – the Nurek hydropower station. Its dam is the highest in the world – over 300 meters.


Transportation in Tajikistan is poorly developed.
Air: Tajikistan International Airlines has weekly flights from Karachi, Delhi and Munich to Dushanbe. Within the CIS, it flies to Moscow, Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Almaty and Bishkek. Aeroflot flies between Moscow and Dushanbe a few times a week. There are also irregular charter connections from Dushanbe to Aleppo and Abu Dhabi.
There are internal connections from Dushanbe to Khojand (twice per day), Penjikent (from June to October only) and to Khorog (subject to weather conditions).
Rail: There are only three railway lines in Tajikistan: one leading south from Dushanbe through Kurgan-Tyube and Shaartuz to the Uzbek-Afghan border at Termez; one that leads due south from Dushanbe, through Kurgan-Tyube to Tugul on the Afghan border; and one in the northern region which runs from Samarkand, through Khojand to the Ferghana Valley.
Road: There is a fairly good road network in Tajikistan, though some parts may be seasonally unreachable. During the winter (October to March), three of the four main roads from the capital and the Southwest of the country (east to Khorog via Khalaikum, Northeast to Osh via the Garm valley, and north to Khojand via the Anzob Pass and Ayni) are all closed by snow. The only way of reaching these areas is through Uzbekistan. The road between Osh (in Kyrgyzstan) and Khorog is kept open all year round and traverses one of the most beautiful and unspoilt regions in the world, the Pamir Mountains.
Urban transport: Public transport is bus, trolleybus and taxi.


Internet, digital communication, telephone and telegraph system is developed. Mobile phones are widely used.

Custom rules:

All the travellers are obliged to fill in the Customs Declaration Form duplicate upon entering Tajikistan. All currencies and other valuable items such as jewellery, cameras and computers being imported into the country must be declared in this form.
The Customs Declaration Form must be surrendered at the time of departure. This allows an easy export of all imported items.
It is essential to produce encashment certificates for all currencies cashed within Tajikistan in access of US$ 2,000.00 (two thousand).

Export – import regulations:

Duty Free:

Reasonable quantities of goods for personal use may be imported into Tajikistan by persons of 18 years of age or older without incurring customs duty; however, a 10% import duty is charged on certain items.

Prohibited imports:

Firearms, ammunition and drugs. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Prohibited exports:

Items more than 100 years old and those of special cultural importance require special permission for export. When buying items that may be more than 100 years old, ask for a certificate stating the age of the item. The export of local currency is prohibited and the export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on arrival.


Tajikistan currency is called Somoni. Currency code: TJS. One Tajik Somoni = 100 diram. Notes are in denominations of Somoni 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1. Dirams, also issued as notes, are in denominations of diram 50, 20, 5 and 1.

Currency exchange:

The preferred hard currency is the US Dollar. All tourists are obliged to pay for hotels, hotel services and transport in hard currency. All bills are normally settled in cash. There are currency exchange desks in most hotels and many shops.

Currency restrictions:

The import of foreign currency is unlimited, but should be declared on arrival. The export of foreign currency is permitted up to the amount declared on arrival. The import and export of local currency is prohibited.
Banking hours: 0800-1700 Monday to Friday.

Credit cards:

Not accepted

Travellers cheques:

Limited acceptance.


Shortages are the norm in Tajikistan. Bazaars are almost the only place where you can find local handicrafts. Tajikistan is famous with bright coloured cross-stitch embroidery, traditional jewellery and pottery.
In Dushanbe there are one famous souvenir shop on the corner of Prospect Rudaki and the art gallery on the Ismail Somoni Street, which exhibits and sells the work of local artists.
Shopping hours: Mon-Sat 0900 -1700