While hiking Durumdara Valley in the Pamir Mountains we were invited to sheperds summer shelter. They lived very poor, eating generally things they produce from milk. We spent one night at their place sleeping in one room with whole family. They were very hospitable treating us with all the best they had. Our hosts hardly knew few words in Russian language but we managed with comunicating :) I had a chance to help them in a farm work - we were herding a flock together.
Sheperds spend only summer time in the mountains with their sheeps, cows, donkeys and goats. It is a very hard work, every member of the family (children too) is involved in it. During the rest of the year sheperds families live in villages and children attend school.
If you are open to other people....you may be invited for a wedding:)
We had a great chance to participate in whole wedding ceremony - unforgettable experience!
After a visit in a local sauna, in borrowed traditional dresses, at 2 PM we went for a wedding. All ceremonies took part alternately in bride and groom's houses, so as a special guests we travelled with them - our hosts wanted to show us all the customs.
On a wedding table there were many traditional dishes. The main one was 'plov' - each region in central Asia has its own way of preparing this dish - we eate the Pamirian one. Alkohol was reserved only for men.
Dancing in Tajikistan looks completely different than in i.e. Europe! People slightly move their bodies without moving hips - the most important are hands. We tried to do this but.....after the ceremony our friends told us it was too sexy ;)
The bride all the time had hidden face and seated back to the groom showing, according to tradition, that she offended for being carried away from her family home.
The wedding ceremony finished around 1 AM - quite early ;)
We did one-week trekking in Durumdara and Nimos Valleys. I chose this place by accident, just moving my finger on a map:) We wanted to acclimatise before the next trekking.
It was great idea! During the week we met only sheperds and no turists at all!
We arrived in village Sejd, coming by taxi from Khorugh.
Down on the Uzbek-Afghan-Tajik border meet are some facinating green valleys surrounded by desert ridges and mountains. It is a land of extremes, searing hot during summers, biting cold during winter. The end of summer-early autumn would be the time to visit when the produce is ripe on the stem and fruits brought to the market, skies are clear and the temperature is - right - temperate.... The areas around Garavuti and Shaartuz were indeed very nice.
Much of the irrigated land here is taken up by cotton, a crop that does nobody any good here given the disasterously low price on cotton and the high input of pesticides, feritlizer and water. Cotton production in general in Tajikistan is really draining the country, but after 50 years of it i presume it's a habit that you cannot wean the nation off.
Before going to Tajikistan we were nearly tempted to hire a car to get in and get out. Thankfully we decided to travel the way we normally do and did it all independantly and had no problems.
When leaving Northern Tajikistan to enter the Uzbek Fergana Valley you might meet the guys in the photo, they are the Tajik border guards. So much for the rule of no cameras at borders. They asked for me to take their photos and then I posed individually with 6 of them with their camera.
The Uzbek border guards on the other side we a lot quieter but they were all friendly.
If you are travelling from Tashkent to Khojand you will pass through this border post. It is very desolate and can be a bit nervous for some. As soon as you exit the passport stamping room you are surrounded by taxi drivers wanting $50 to take you to Tashkent. We refused and started walking (look at the picture and you will see we weren't in a strong bargaining position). In the end we got the price down to $15 for both of us.
Russian Sign, seeing as the country was still under Soviiet rule when I last visited its not suprising to see this I think its telling us that the area is a national park
Prospekt Ismoili Somoni 26/1, Dushanbe, 734026, Tajikistan
Good for: Couples
str. Lev Tolstoy 9, Dushanbe, 734003, Tajikistan
Good for: Couples
22 Shotemur Ulitsa, Dushanbe, 734001, Tajikistan
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Good for: Solo