Penjikent to Dushanbe

PENJIKENT

From Istaravshan I continued my journey in Tajikistan to the very far west of the country to Penjikent passing the Anzob pass, mountains so high and valleys so deep made it a scary ride, but the most scaring part was to cross the 5km long tunnel of death, the tunnel is not completely finished, the cause are the many construction problems during the years.
it’s dark inside like in every tunnel but with dark I mean really dark no light at all, only the lights from the cars in front of you or coming from the opposite direction, there are no lights on the side like in most tunnels, holes in the ground, flooded with water makes it even more hard to drive normally. It was a crazy experience. Because of the narrow tunnels and no ventilation system there is the danger to suffocate, when your car breaks down carbon monoxide poisoning can happen and it already brought deaths with it in the past.
Happy to made it out of this tunnel. It wasn’t really worth it to come to this part of Tadjikistan cause in Penjikent there is not much to see, I have been in one little museum where there were no other visitors but me and my Tajik guide who was with me the whole trip, the most interesting historical pieces found in this area are to be seen in the big national museum of Tadjikistan in the capital city Dushanbe.

Mosaic fresco's Penjikent

Mosaic fresco’s Penjikent

Approaching the "Tunnel of Death"

Approaching the “Tunnel of Death”

Inside the dark tunnel

Inside the dark tunnel

Penjikent

Penjikent

Somoni statue Penjikent

Somoni statue Penjikent

Statue of a local Tadjik women pilot of the USSR army who died in the 2nd World War

Statue of a local Tadjik women pilot of the USSR army who died in the 2nd World War

Dushanbe would be my next Tadjik city to visit and the end of my trip in this country, but before that, I visited the Iskanderkul Lake on my way to Dushanbe.
It’s a Lake surrounded by the Fann Mountains in a triangle shape and nowadays a natural reserve with water meadows and forests.
Iskander means Alexander and Kul means Lake in Tajik, referring to Alexander the Great, once the ruler of a big empire where Tadjikistan was part of.

Iskanderkul Reserve

Iskanderkul Reserve

Iskanderkul Lake

Iskanderkul Lake

Fann Mountains

Fann Mountains

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Dilovar Homestay near Iskanderkul

Dilovar Homestay near Iskanderkul in a Mountainous village

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Finally Dushanbe

Dushanbe is a big city and after a journey through the mountain areas it was nice to take a rest in a city and just chill. I went to the national museum of Tadjikistan, it was a saturday and very crowded with students and schoolchildren visiting the big museum with 3 levels. It was funny to see some Tajiks taking the escalators to another level, some have never been on an escalator and were scared to go first, it was a real adventure for some, cute to watch those Tadjiks having all the fun and time of their life for something this simple.
The museum is a must when you’re in Dushanbe.

Tadjikistan flag

Tadjikistan flag

The Presidential Palace

The Presidential Palace

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Monument with on top the Tadjikistan national emblem

Somoni monument

Somoni monument

Rudaki Monument

Rudaki Monument

"The National Museum of Tadjikistan"

“The National Museum of Tadjikistan”

Park with paddle boats just outside the National Musem

Park with paddle boats just outside the National Museum

 

Hissar

Some 15 km out of the city I visited the Hissar fortress which was being renovated to make it look better for tourists and also here there was a bus with students visiting the fortress just when I was about to leave.
Here I saw more locals visiting the sightseeing places then it was the case in Khujand, but I think it had a lot to do with it being a weekend here in Dushanbe.
Just like in Khujand there is a big statue of Ismael Somoni, only this one is in the centre of the City near the Rudaki park and the Presidential palace.

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Sangin Mosque seen from the Hissar fortress

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Locals visiting the place

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Khujand and Istaravshan

Khujand

I entered Tadjikistan from the north Oybek border crossing between Uzbekistan and Tadjikistan. My minivan with guide and driver picked me up and brought me to Khujand the 2nd largest city of the country after the capital Dushanbe.
First I visited the Sugd Historical Museum that covers the history of the region from the stone age to independence. There is a room with beautiful mosaic displaying the life of Alexandre The Great who conquered the city of Khujand.  Continue reading