Dushanbe is the capital and largest city in Tajikistan and has a population of about 700,000 inhabitants. The city is located in the central west of the country at an elevation of about 700 meters above sea level and the name actually means Monday in Tajik, refering to its former important Monday markets at this location. In contrast to many other former Sovjet cities, Dushanbe is a relatively pleasant, welcoming and charming city and unlike most of the country it offers good hotels, restaurants and transportation services.
Navrus is the celebration of the Persian New Year, which takes place over three days between March 20 and 22 each year on the spring equinox. The event is a national public holiday and a very important festival. Celebrations are a community affair, with whole towns preparing special dishes, eaten only on this occasion, and taking part in street parties, concerts, and parades, as well as visiting with friends and family.
Victory Day is a national public holiday that takes place on May 9 each year. The festival, which has been observed in Tajikistan since 1946, commemorates the Soviet Union WWII defeat of Germany, and is usually characterized by fireworks and a military Parade. Each town has its own celebrations that often include greeting veterans and acknowledging their wartime achievements. The capital, Dushanbe, has the largest organized event, centered on Victory Park.
The Muslim event of Eid al-Fitr, also locally referred to as Idi Kurbon or Qurban Eid, takes place according to the Islamic lunar calendar, usually during September, to celebrate the end of the Ramadan holy month of fasting. Festivities usually center on communal prayer, feasting, and family visits. Fasting is forbidden for Muslims on this day. Children are given sweets in the early morning, and the average household receives visits from more than seventy people in a day. It is also a time for gratitude and giving to charity.
Tajikistan celebrates its 1991 independence from the Soviet Union on September 9 each year. Each town celebrates in its own fashion, usually with a festival that includes street parades, concerts, and fireworks. Independence Day is a nationally observed public holiday.
This Muslim celebration occurs 70 days after Ramadan on 10th day of the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. Also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, the event commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son in submission to God’s will. The four-day celebration features special prayer services and a family feast of fattened sheep (in reference to the lamb that was sacrificed in the place of Abraham’s son, also at God’s command).
Dushanbe has a typical continental climate, albeit with a bit more rain compared to other places in Central Asia. From October to May showers are possible and March and April are by far the wettest months of the year. June to September is hot and dry with average temperatures in the hottest month of July around 36º C during the day. Despite its location and elevation, even winters are mild with about 10 °C during the day and only the nights dropping slightly below zero.
Dushabe International airport receives almost all flights into the country, among which are those with the national airline is Tajik Air. Tajik Air has flights mainly throughout the Central Asian region and Russia. It also has flights from Munich via Istanbul to the capital. Other airlines serving Tajikistan are limited to airlines from the former Sovjet Union, except flights with China Airlines from Ürümqi.
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