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The Tajik Ethnic Group

Tajikistan is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. It borders Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east. Most of Tajikistans population belongs to the Tajik ethnic group, who share culture and history with the Iranian peoples and Uzbek people and speak the Tajik language.

Tajikistan International Airlines has weekly flights from Karachi, Delhi and Munich to Dushanbe. Aeroflot flies between Moscow and Dushanbe a few times a week. There are also irregular charter connections from Dushanbe to Aleppo and Abu Dhabi. Theres a railway route from Moscow through Kazakstan and Uzbekistan with a branch line from Tashkent to Dushanbe or Khojand. Daily buses connect Dushanbe with Tashkent and Samarkand.

Visas are not issued at the airport, nor at Tajikistans border crossings. Border controls are rare but there are frequent internal checkpoints, and if you intend moving outside Dushanbe you must have impeccable documents.

Tajikistan is a patchwork of self contained valleys and regional contrasts forged together by Soviet nation building and shared pride in a Persian cultural heritage that is claimed as the oldest and most influential in the Silk Road region.

The Yaghnobi people live in mountainous areas of northern Tajikistan. The estimated number of Yagnobians is now about 250,000. Forced migrations have decimated their numbers. They speak the Yaghnobi language, which has its roots in the Sogdian language.

Tajikistans economy was shattered by the 1992 to97 civil war, but is slowly recovering.

The border with Afghanistan is considered risky for travellers, as are the mined areas bordering Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Despite steady economic growth since the war ended, the per capita GDP is still lower than any of the other former Soviet republics. Tajikistans most important commodities are cotton and aluminium, the latter accounting for 45 percent of the countrys export production. The hydropower potential is also significant. Mineral resources are varied such as gold, silver, uranium, tungsten but limited in amount.

Tajikistans healthcare facilities are often very basic, especially in remote parts of the countries. Travellers should assess the risks and take appropriate precautions before and during their stay.

Lowland Tajikistan veers between extremely hot summers with July days of 42 and extremely chilly winters with an average minimum of 12 in January. From October through May, fierce snowstorms rage in the mountains and the temperature can drop to a demolishing -45, making getting around almost impossible. On the plains, strong dust storms can be expected from June through October.

Douglas Scott works for The Rental Car Hire Specialist. and is a free lance writer for The Tajikistan Rental Site