Tajikistan is a country located in the rugged mountains of Central Asia near Afghanistan and Kyrgystan. The vast majority of Tajikistan's citizens are Persian-speaking Tajiks who share a great deal in common with the cultures and histories of the people of both Afghanistan and Iran.
In recent history, Tajikistan has been recovering from a violent civil war that rocked the country from 1992 to 1997. Thankfully, the country has been politically stable for more than a decade, and a number of important industries are beginning to flourish in the region. Commodities like aluminum and cotton play an important role in the economy of Tajikistan, and public projects involving hydropower and coal mining promise to bring greater stability to the nation in the future. However, Tajikistan remains one of the poorest nations in Central Asia, with roughly a fifth of nation's citizens surviving on about $1.25 a day.
The largest city in Tajiskistan is Dushanbe, which is also the nation's capital. Dushanbe has a population of some 675,000 people and is split into four distinct districts: Abuali Ibn Sina, Firdavsi, Ismail Somoni and Shokhmansur. The climate in Dushanbe is fairly humid for this region and has an annual rainfall of around 20 inches. Dushanbe is named after the Tajik word for Monday due to the fact that the city was built upon the site of an ancient Monday marketplace. Dushanbe rests at the convergence of two important rivers in Tajikistan, Kofarnihon and Varzob. There are a number of impressive monuments in Dushanbe that reflect the rich Persian history of Tajikistan, such as the monument to Ismoil Somoni. While many parts of Dushanbe reflect the healthy new economy of the region, there are still many signs of the destruction that the city experienced during the recent civil war.
In addition to cultural sights, many people travel to Tajikistan to enjoy the recreational opportunities that country's mountains have to offer. The three most impressive peaks in Tajikistan include Peak Korzhenevskaya, Peak Somoni and Peak Lenin, all of which are located amongst the Pamirs of Tajikistan. Mountaineers trek the same ancient cross roads in these mountains that were used by people in the silk trade for thousands of years. As a result, there are cultural artifacts of a wide range of societies along these mountains, including statues from Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu and Christian cultures. This region was once a part of the Soviet Union, and there is a famous statue of Lenin that remains towering over the city of Khujand to this day.
While the mountains of Tajikistan include some of the most stunning vistas in the world, the land in this region can be quite rugged, and visitors are advised to seek the use of an experienced tour guide when exploring the mountains. Other activities to enjoy in Tajikistan include rock climbing, camel riding and photography. While the weather in Tajikistan is relatively mild, most guides recommend visiting the country during the spring or fall in order to take advantage of the most popular outdoor activities.
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