Tajikistan is probably one of the least known countries in the world, so you’re definitely forgiven for not being able to immediately picture its shape and whereabouts in your mind. Some would even argue that it’s the least known of the ‘Stans’, a region which is already relatively unknown to much of the world.
Where is Tajikistan?
So where is Tajikistan? Tajikistan is in Central Asia and was part of the former Soviet Union. Despite its location next to China, the Tajiks are actually most closely related to Persians from Iran, and historically used Persian Arabic script to write in.
Tajikistan borders Afghanistan to the South, China to the East, Kyrgyzstan to the North and Uzbekistan to the West and North-West.
Tajikistan is the second most southern country in Central Asia.
With an area of 143,100 km 2 , Tajikistan is the 94 th largest country in the world, slightly ahead of Greece and just behind Nepal.
Regions of Tajikistan
Tajikistan being quite small has very little division. There are two regions called Sugdh and Khatlon. On top of that there is one area poetically called “Districts of Republican Subordination”, one autonomous region called Gorno Badakhshan (GBAO) and then there’s the Capital of the country, Dushanbe. The current divisions have existed since 1955.
The region of Sugdh is in the north of the country and borders Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The Capital is Khujand and is arguably the second most important city in Tajikistan.
The region of Khatlon is in the south and borders Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. Bokhtar is the capital of this region.
The central part of the country is called the Districts of Republic Subordination, of which the Capital Dushanbe is right in the middle, but is not actually part of the region.
Finally there is the large sparsely populated and mountainous Autonomous Region of Gorno Badakhshan. This region borders Afghanistan in the south, China in the east and Kyrgyzstan in the North. The largest city is Khorugh which only has roughly 30,000 people.
Dushanbe was previously known as Stalinabad and its name literally means Monday in Persian. Dushanbe Airport is the most common way in and out of Tajikistan, likewise Dushanbe is right in the centre of the country and where most Tajik adventures start or end, so you’ll almost certainly visit the city. Although the population is only around 550,000 the city is still a respectable size and certainly has most modern conveniences. There are public buses, but the best way to see the city is definitely by car.
Border crossings in Tajikistan
It is possible to cross by land into and out of Tajikistan, so long as of course you have a visa, e-visa or are eligible for visa on arrival. There are several border crossings with Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Kyrgyzstan and one border crossing with China.