Home WorldCentral AsiaTajikistan Travel Guide: 48 Hours in Dushanbe, Tajikstan 

Travel Guide: 48 Hours in Dushanbe, Tajikstan 

What is there to see and do in Dushanbe, Tajikstan?

by Sophie Ibbotson
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Many travellers arrive in Dushanbe, the capital and gateway of Tajikistan, and dash off for an adventure, perhaps hiking in the Fann Mountains or driving along the famously dramatic Pamir Highway. Yet this vibrant city along the Varzob (Dushanbinka) River in the Gissar valley, in the southwest of the republic offers plenty to see in just 48 hours. 

Here are our recommendations of what to see and do in two days in Dushanbe.

Stroll along Rudaki Avenue

Rokhat Tea House c. Michael Turtle

Rokhat Tea House c. Michael Turtle

Rudaki Avenue is the backbone of Dushanbe and one of the city’s most attractive streets. Mostly tree-lined and shady, it is here that you will find many of Dushanbe’s Soviet-era buildings, some of which are decorated with beautiful mosaics.

Look out in particular for the red and white parliament building and the iconic Rokhat Teahouse, which is a good spot to stop for a cuppa whilst you admire the intricately painted interior.  

Discover the past

Tajikistan has a long and rich history, and the best place to learn about it is in the National Museum of Antiquities on Academics Rajabov Street. It’s an attractive neo-classical building with galleries spread across two floors. Ask at the ticket desk for an English speaking guide as not all of the exhibits are labelled. The highlights of the museum’s collections are the vivid Sogdian wall paintings excavated from Ancient Penjikent (a UNESCO World Heritage Site in western Tajikistan) and also the huge sculpture of a sleeping buddha from the Ajina Tepa monastery.

Take a walk in a park

Rudaki Park and Palace of Nations

Dushanbe is a remarkably green city, with lots of public parks. Rudaki Park is right in the centre, and is named after Tajikistan’s national poet. He is commemorated with a large statue in the park.

Other pleasant spaces for a walk include the neighbouring Flag Pole Park, which is beside the Presidential Palace; and also the Botanical Garden and Ayni Park, both of which are in the northern part of Dushanbe. The parks tend to be busiest at dusk when families come out to enjoy themselves after school and work, making the most of the cooler temperatures.

See Dushanbe from a distance 

Dushanbe has grown very rapidly since Tajikistan’s independence in 1991, but this isn’t always noticeable from street level. To see the extent of the city, and appreciate it without the traffic, head up to Zafar Restaurant, which has an elevated location in Victory Park. The wrap-around outdoor terrace is understandably popular as the sun goes down, and it is a great location for a cold beer and a plate of shashlik. On a clear night, the twinkling stars above compete with the city lights below for your attention.

Spend an evening at the theatre

In Europe, an evening at the opera or ballet is a luxury. In Dushanbe, high culture is much more affordable, and even students can watch performances at the Ayni Opera and Ballet Theatre, as tickets cost about the same as going to the cinema. The national dance companies and orchestras are impressive, and it is sometimes possible to see productions touring from abroad. The attractive neo-classical opera house dates from the early 1940s, and forthcoming productions are advertised outside. Pop into the box office to book tickets.

Where to stay

The best located 5* hotel in Dushanbe is the Serena Hotel on Rudaki Avenue, which is a few minutes walk away from the Ayni Opera and Ballet Theatre. It is an attractive modern property with well-trained staff, a lot of Tajik influences in its decor, and a wonderful swimming pool for hot summer days. For a conveniently located budget option, choose Rokhat Hotel, which is just around the corner in a colourfully painted, Soviet era building.  

Getting to Dushanbe 

The best way to reach Dushanbe is to fly with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul, or Uzbekistan Airways via Tashkent. If you are planning a multi-country trip in Central Asia, you can also cross the land border from Uzbekistan. The airport is very close to the city centre and most hotels will provide a transfer for free.

British passport holders require an e-visa to visit Tajikistan. EU and US nationals can enter visa-free for up to 30 days.


More information: Tajikistan’s official tourism website is www.traveltajikistan.tj/en. For more detailed travel information, buy Bradt Travel Guides’ Tajikistan.


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