In the 19th century, Tajikistan and what are today the other Central Asian republics would have been familiar to educated audiences in Europe and the USA: explorers’ accounts were published in the newspapers, and and returning traveller could expect a large and enthusiastic audience at the Royal Geographical Society or Royal Central Asia Society. 70 years behind the Iron Curtain changed that, and the natural and manmade treasures of Tajikistan were largely forgotten. It is now time to rediscover them.
Tajikistan is the smallest of all the Central Asian ‘Stans, but it was a trading hub for millennia, and the ethnic, cultural and linguistic make-up of the country is quite distinct from those around it: Tajikistan owes much of its identify to ties with Persia rather than to Turkic tribes. The name TajikiSTAN is derived from the Persian word for “place of” or “where one stands”, and we like to think that it has everything you could want in a country, from epic landscapes and ancient traditions, to colourful festivals and extraordinary wildlife. Visitors coming here frequently fall unexpectedly in love with the places that they visit and the experiences that they share, and occasionally with a special someone too.
Climates in Tajikistan range from continental and subtropical to semiarid, depending on your location, and in the high altitude areas, temperatures can be particularly extreme, dropping well below freezing in winter in the lofty mountains. However cold the climate, though, you will be welcomed warmly wherever you go, and the time you spend with a Tajik family whilst on a Paramount Journey adventure will be forever ingrained on your mind. Sitting at home now, imagine the flavour of freshly cooked unleavened bread, with homemade wild berry jam. Smell the open fire and the fragrant scent of dinner cooking, and listen out to the wind whistling through the trees on the mountainside, beckoning you to Tajikistan.
The Soviet period was but a blip on Tajikistan’s past, and though its abandoned infrastructure – physical reminders of the country’s turbulent past, is curious to explore – Tajikistan is very much a country that understands what has gone before but is looking forwards to the future. We are on the cusp of change, perhaps more radical change that at any other time in our history, but encourage you to visit us whilst we’re in our current state, to explore the parts of the country that are so far untouched by modernisation and globalisation. Tajikistan does not want to live in its past, but rather to develop organically, finding our own way forwards that enables us to make the most of our natural environment and traditions, and to enjoy and share them throughout the 21st century and beyond.