I liked geography puzzles when I was a small boy, and here I grow up and the biggest puzzle ever shows up! The Tajik borders were drawn by Stalin for various reasons, the ethnic composition, economic considerations (access to agricultural land, irrigation water) and are naturally also a function of the neigbouring countries outside former USSR.
The borders used to be between the states within the USSR, and now they have become international and in my simple understanding, extremely impractical. If you want to take the train from Dushanbe to Khojand, you need to travel through Uzbekistan and skim Turkmenistan, before re-entering Tajikistan, and at least Uzbekistan seems fairly hostile to Tajikistan (and v.v. perhaps..). You really have to look at a map to grasp the full picture of the complexities.
I promised to write something about the weather, and the best time to travel.
Tajikistan is located on quite a high altitude, nearly half of the country over 3000 m above sea level. In addition, it is surrounded by high mountain ranges, just keep in mind that some peaks are well above 7000 m.
Thus, summers can be hot and humid, winters mild (west) or crispy and cold(east, Pamirs).
I found average temperatures somewhere in the www depth, but unfortunately did not made a note on the website. But, excel addicted as I am, and influenced by a very special person, who also shows average temperatures, I threw the data in xls and made a screenshot.
This all is only vague, as it does not take into consideration that the weather is very much influenced by the vicinity of mountains and of the plains in the east.
It should be more the temperature curve of Dushanbe.
Fondest memory: Try to avoid mid summer, months July and August. I was in Dushanbe end of July, and it was bloody hot (around easily 35 °C in the shade), and Dushanbe is quite humid, compared to the Pamirs and Uzbekistan, where I was before.
In the Pamirs, I was very much astonished to have bloody hot temperatures also in Khorog, which is located on 2200 m after all. The more we progressed on the Pamir highway, the “better”, lower (for me) temperatures got, at least some wind, which does not give you the feeling that the sun wants to barbecue you.
Maybe the best time of year is June or September for both parts, western Tajikistan and the Pamirs.
Favorite thing: See The Fan Mountains. This group of people are not the usual Tadjiks. They speak a different dialogue and look a bit different, but have been there so long they do not know their true identity. We saw other villages like this as well, each different from each other and from the Tadjiks. Over the centuries many persecuted groups hid in these inaccesable mountains, so different ethnic and language groups are scattered between the Tajiks. These people are the true ancient Persians, living as if it were Ancient Times!
Camp in the mountains, talk to the local people and see the museum in Penjikent. The embroidered wall hanging in the picture is a type of Suzannah. One of the mothers in the family made it for her daughters on the Millenium. I was able to buy it from them.They really needed the money! It is my favorite purchase on a trip. The bottom in Tadjik cyrillic reads, drink the very best red wine, it will color your cheeks like a spring flower, and the men will pick you!
Fondest memory: Seeing the ancient Zoroastrian temples, and the will of the people.
Not only the political, but the climatic, too!
To find lots of background info on climate and environment in Tajikistan, tap into www.meteo.tj
Prospekt Ismoili Somoni 26/1, Dushanbe, 734026, Tajikistan
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str. Lev Tolstoy 9, Dushanbe, 734003, Tajikistan
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22 Shotemur Ulitsa, Dushanbe, 734001, Tajikistan
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo