Tajikistan - General Information

State form: Republic of Tajikistan
Independence: September 9, 1991
National anthem: Surudi Milli
Capital: Dushanbe (about 0.6 million inhabitants)
Official language: Tajik, (also Russian, Uzbek)
Provinces: Dushanbe, Sughd, Chatlon, Mount Badakhshan, Republican Subordinate Region
Surface: 143 100 km²
Time zone: UTC+5
Highest point: Qullai Kommunizm 7 495 m
Residents: approx. 7.2 million inhabitants
Population density: approx. 50 million inhabitants/km²
Religion: Muslims (95%), Bahai, Christians
Currency: Somoni (TJS) 
Constitution: November 6 1994
National holiday: September 9
Telephone code: 00992
Economy: mineral resources (aluminum); agriculture (cotton)

Neighboring countries:
North: Kyrgyzstan
West and North: Uzbekistan
South: Afghanistan
East: China


USEFUL INFORMATION

Passport and visa:
A tourist visa can be obtained from the Consulate of Tajikistan in Vienna or through our agency. For this, you will need a passport valid for at least 6 months after your return, a recent photo, as well as the completed visa form. The cost is CHF 140 (for 1-week stay), including administrative costs.

Customs:
Foreign currencies must be reported and declared. The import and export of the local currency Somoni are strictly limited. Amounts over $ 500 must be declared upon arrival. The maximum amount to be imported is $ 5000. Technical or valuable items should also be reported and declared. The import and export regulations may be changed at any time without prior notice. In order to avoid any difficulties, you should be informed about the exact import and export regulations before departure at the Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan. It is also prohibited to import and export drugs, weapons, ammunition, poisons and explosives, printed material, photos and videos that contradict Islamic morality. Stones and precious metals can be exported with a document confirming their purchase from Tajik markets.

Money:
The official currency in Tajikistan is the Somoni (TJS). It was named after the founder of the first Tajik state, Ismail Somoni. Money should always be exchanged in the official exchange offices of hotels or banks and the receipts should be kept. Credit cards are accepted in the capital Dushanbe and in other major cities (VISA, Diners Club, and MasterCard). Travelers are advised to have US dollars or Russian rubles because these are generally accepted. Banking services are limited, but there are ATMs in the capital. Current exchange rate "http://www.oanda.com/lang/fr/"


Communication:
The cybercafés, mostly in the capital Dushanbe and Khujand, are equipped with wireless headsets and Skype software. Other cities, only have certain spots with access to the Internet. Otherwise, it is possible to buy IP cards (Internet phone) at telecommunication offices for international calls.

Climate:
The south-west of the country, which is characterized by plains, has a continental climate with extreme amplitudes from -12 °C in January to + 42 °C in July. Spring is quite mild, with heavy showers sometimes. In the mountainous regions (Pamir plateaus), winters are very harsh with temperature up to 45 °C or even 60 °C in the far east of the region. For visit to North and West, the months March to May and September to November are the most preferable, and the months of July and August are perfect for mountainous regions.

Traditions and customs:
The Tajiks carefully preserve their national customs, traditions, lifestyle, culture, clothing and eating habits. They still wear traditional clothing, especially in rural areas. Men wear embroidered dresses and caps, women wear colorful embroidered clothes with a pair of trousers and cover their head with a scarf. Many girls braid their hair. Tajik customs and traditions have ancient origins and are an integral part of people's everyday lives. One of the country's oldest and most important customs is the traditional New Year's celebration, Novrouz, which is celebrated in early spring. It symbolizes the beginning of the agricultural season. Craft has an important role in people's lives and is often passed down from generation to generation. A special place is reserved for wedding ceremonies that could not take place without the delivery of the dowry (bride price) to the girl's parents.

Cuisine:
"A good meal is a balm for the soul," says an old Tajik proverb. The basics of traditional Tajik dishes are lamb and vegetables. The Tajiks love spices and herbs. Among the local specialties are the ''nahud sambusa'', a kind of "samosa" dumpling stuffed with peas. Every meal is served with "nan", the traditional bread made without yeast. And of course "plov", the national dish of all Central Asian republics. You can also taste shashliks, a dish made of lamb or beef. Tajiks also love soups, cheese, and yogurts. The main drink is the tea, especially green tea. Another drink is "koumi", which is made from fermented mare's milk, with little alcohol and very sour.

Holidays:
January 1: New Year's Day
January 14: Orthodox New Year
March 8: Women's Day
March 21: New Year Zoroaster
May 1st: Labor Day
May 9: Victory Day
August 20: Farsi New Year
September 11: Independence Day
November 6: Constitution Day
November 9: National Reconciliation Day
December 31: Sheep Festival


Public transport:
By bus: The east of the country (beyond the Pamir Mountains) has been excluded as it is too dangerous. (You can travel to Samarkand via Panjakent or south to Termiz). There is only a single daily bus service to each of these destinations. It is not advisable to be near the Afghan border anyway. In the East, Komsomolabad is the most farther point that can be reached safely.
By train: Only the Dushanbe - Tashkent route operates. It takes about a day to get from one city to another.
Airplane: The national airline, Tajikistan Airlines (not a member of IATA), connects Dushanbe with many other Tajik cities: Garm, Kulob, Murghab (these are the main ones).
Taxis do not operate properly, because of the frequent lack of petrol.


Health:

There are no vaccinations required. However, you should be vaccinated against the following diseases: tetanus, polio, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and B, diphtheria.
From June to October, there is a risk of malaria in the south-west of the country, near the Afghan border, some areas of central (Dushanbe), eastern (Gorno-Badakhshan) and northern (Khujand) parts of the country. Travelers staying in these areas during the season will be advised to take "Nivaquine". It is advised to drink bottled water. Avoid raw dairy products and rinse the fruits! Do not approach stray dogs! Hospital services are inadequate. Bring a small first aid kit with you!


Security:

Although the country has been relatively stable, some areas such as the Karategin Valley (in the center of Garm) are not recommended for travelers. In general, you should avoid traveling at night. The road between Dushanbe and Khorugh, as well as the A372, which connects the country with Kyrgyzstan, should be avoided.


Shopping:

There is a lot of silk, souvenirs, jewelry and, above all, good fruits and vegetables. These can be bought in large bazaars. Shops have no fixed opening hours.
Useful phone numbers:
Firefighters: 01
Police: 02
Emergency Medical Service: 03
Information center: 09
Airport: (992 47) 449 42 29

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