Tajikistan is a land of mountains and Alpine valleys, and the greatest attraction for tourists in this land is nature.
The lofty mountains, with the ‘roof the world’, the high plateau of the Pamirs, are ideal for mountain climbers, trekkers, skiers. Perhaps the most famous of the animals to be found in the mountains is the large horned ovis polis or mountain sheep of Marco Polo or snow leopard (irbis), but other animals also are found. Lakes and rivers are not only picturesque but abound in fish while kayaks and rafts provide exciting trips down fast flowing streams.
The ancient remains are not as spectacular as elsewhere but several unique archeological sites beckon those interested in archaeology.
In northern Tajikistan, the Islamic remains of the city of Khojent are attractive while the well excavated pre-Islamic city of Penjikent on the upper Zerafshan River with a local museum is worth a visit. The wall paintings and other works of art found here attest to a flourishing culture of the Sogdians in the remote past.
In the south one finds many Buddhist remains for this was ancient Bactria where the Greeks founded a Graeco-Bactrian state, and where later under the Kushans Buddhism flourished. The remains of a Hellenic temple at the site of Takhti-Sangin on the Amudarya River have yielded remarkable gold objects and statuettes reminiscent of ancient Greece.
The site of Islamic Khuttal near the present town of Kulyab had beautifully carved stuccos and other objects of material culture, some of which are in a local museum while the rest are in the museum of Dushanbe. Those intrigued with the distant past may explore caves where prehistoric stone tools have been found.
Nurek, the hydro-electric dam site is located in a lovely valley. The 70 km. drive from Dushanbe, over fairly good roads, allows time for sight-seeing and a picnic to which you should take all you need as nothing can be purchase on site.
Other similar drives up the Varzob River will take you to the Anzob Pass (3 372 m) where the scenery is spectacular. The pass is located about 80 km North from Dushanbe and you need an entire day.
The ancient town of Gissar, about 25 km East from Dushanbe has several haphazardly restored Islamic seminaries (madrasas), a walled city now in ruins, and a mysterious and much venerated saint’s tomb. A passable restaurant sits amid a park with enormous plane trees, some of which have storage rooms underneath.
In particular, trekking& hiking has developed basically in the vicinity of Dushanbe and nearby areas (Varzob, Karatag, Shirkent and Romit Gorges) and so-called Kuhistan (under these by the name is meant which covers Turkestan, Zeravshan and Gissar Ridges).
In west Kuhistan are located the Fan Mountains (Payron, Marguzor, Alautdin, Iskanderkul Lakes), where tens routes were maintained, some stationary tourist bases and camps were created in Varzob Gorge, Iskanderkul, Marguzor, Alautdin Lakes, on a bank of artificial Kayrakkum Reservoir near Khojent (formerly Leninabad).
'Cultural' tourism is more suitable for Northern and Southern Tajikistan (Sogdiyskaya and Khatlonskaya Oblasts), where the tourists got acquainted with archeological monuments, museums and other local sights.
Climbing is practiced in the Fan Mountains, and also in area of a highest formerly Soviet Union peak - Communizm Peak (7, 495 m, now renamed Ismoil Samani).
The large popularity of the local inhabitants the resorts on thermal sources (‘Garmchashma’, ‘Jelandy’, ‘Khojaobigarm’, ‘Obigarm’, ‘Shaambary’, ‘Zumrad’ ) used.
Whether embarking on a cultural visit to Tajikistan or trekking, climbing or ecotours in the remote and unspoiled Pamirs, visitors will find much to enjoy.