REPUBLIC OF TAJIKISTAN, FROM CENTRAL ASIAN REPUBLICS
We know where the Republic of Tajikistan is geographically, but let’s remember it anyway; Neighboring Afghanistan and Pakistan in the south, China in the east, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in the north, with an area of 143,000 km2, a population of 10 million, its capital city Dushanbe, no access to the sea in Central Asia, mostly Hanafi and Sunni Muslim country. . The capital, Dushanbe, means Monday in the Tajik language and takes its name from the market held on Mondays at the confluence of the Varzob and Kofarnihon Rivers at the beginning of the last century. When he joined the Soviet Republics in 1929, he made great strides in cotton and silk production. Dushanbe, which started in 1992 and recovered rapidly despite the five-year civil war, is today an important center in Central Asia with its economic potential. 1 million of the country’s population live in Dushanbe, many structures built during the Soviet era have been preserved and most of them are still in use.
Tajiks, who are of Aryan ethnic origin and meaning “whites from the north”, speak Tajik, a dialect of Persian, since they have stayed within the borders of Iran for many years and are the only people in Central Asia who are not of Turkish descent and do not speak Turkish. Tajikistan are considered natural heirs and representatives of settled civilizations of ancient Persians, Sogdians and Samanids. For centuries, they have continued their traditional lives with the neighboring Turkish peoples under the umbrella of Islam. In the new process that started with the entry of Turkestan into Russian domination in the 19th century, Tajiks, like other communities, came under Soviet rule and identity.
Central Asia is surrounded by the Pamir Mountains, meaning “Foot of the Sun”. 93% of Tajikistan is mountainous and some of the population lives there. Indigenous communities of seven small ethnic groups called Pamiri, Badahsani or Mountain Tajiks live in the Pamir Mountains, each with a different language and traditional dress.
The Pamirs, who take their name from the Pamir Mountains, are gathered under the umbrella of Tajik, but are different from the Tajik people in terms of belief, language and culture, and they call themselves primarily after the valleys they live in such as İşkaşimi, Rusani, Shugni, Wahi, Yazgulami. The region where the Pamirs live as a minority in Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and partially in China, is the highest place generally known as the roof of the world. Located in the Pamirs, Fedchenko is the largest glacier in the world.
The country is administratively and territorially divided into four regions: the places directly subordinate to the central government, Dushanbe (formerly Leninobod), Sogdian province, Hatlon province, the mountainous Badakhshan Autonomous Administration.
Demographically, the population of Tajikistan is 79.9% Tajik, 15.3% Uzbek, 1.1% Russian, 1.1% Kyrgyz, 2.2% Turkmen, Tatar, Kyrgyz Korean and are ethnic communities.
It is possible to see the souls and footprints of masters such as İbn-i Sina, Firdevsi, Hafız, Saadi, Ömer Hayyam, Sadrettin Ayni, who are among the great writers, philosophers and scientists known in the history of the world.
We arrive in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, in the morning. The first thing that catches my attention are the wide, bright streets and neat buildings. We worked a lot before we came, to see what is the covid situation, will we have any problems, there are masked people in some places, but generally there is not much demand. We are walking around with double masks. When the Covid
epidemic started, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan closed their border gates for a long time, they did not accept those who came from abroad. The effect of this has also been seen, the number of cases is low for now. Tourism is one of the important incomes for a country, and when the situation got tough, they started to open their doors to tourists like all other countries. In Central Asian countries, there is sympathy for the Turks, they show interest.
The names of the days caught my attention, Sunday is the first day, the following days are the second day, the third day continues. Well; “yekşenbe” on Sunday, “dushanbe” on Monday, “sesenbe” on Tuesday, “carshanbe” on Wednesday, “pencsenbe” on Thursday, he continues. Those who play backgammon know that the rolls of dice are said in Persian, a similar situation.
Archaeological remains reflecting the centuries-old history of Tajikistan, traditional objects, oil paintings of 20th century painters, clothing items reflecting the social relations, culture and lifestyle of the Tajik people, ceramics, carpets, jewelery and various musical instruments are in Tajikistan National Museum of Fine Arts. There are items that reflect the past. The most interesting artifact is Nirvana Buddha. The largest Buddha statue in Central Asia at the age of 1600, the recumbent statue is 13 meters long. It was found by Soviet archaeologists during the Kurgan-Tepe excavation on the historical Silk Road in Southern Tajikistan.
Rudaki Park; Rudaki Park, which was built in the name of the founder of classical Persian literature, famous literati and poet Muhammed Rudaki, has become one of the iconic spots of the city, and is one of the spots frequently visited by the people of Dushanbe with its colorful flowers and walking paths. In the middle of the pool in the park, which is not just green, there is the statue of Rudaki, who gave its name to this place. Rudaki Park, one of the most beautiful parks in Dushanbe, is a place worth seeing with its regular promenades and unfading flowers.
We start to wander around Dushanbe, there is a big botanical garden and there are all kinds of trees in it. The main streets are neat and beautiful than expected. There are many castles in this region, which were built in order to fight together against the raids in the past. Castles are sheltered places where the people of the region can take shelter in case of danger, as well as for defense against attack. We are going to Hissar Castle, one of the most important of these castles.
Hissar Castle; On a hilly location on the Great Silk Road, on an area of 86 hectares, it is one of the oldest and largest architectural monuments in Central Asia. Today, it is an urban settlement where crafts and commerce are experienced.
The castle, which was used as the residence of the governor of Bukhara for a long time and the base where the state troops were located, was started to be built in the 16th century and was completed in the 19th century. During the civil war that lasted from 1918 to 1933, the castle and its surroundings were severely damaged, it was accepted as a historical and cultural heritage in 2000, and the restoration work that started in 2002 was completed. The walls of Hissar Castle, which are one meter thick and made of fire bricks, have spaces for gun and artillery fire. At the entrance of the castle, which has a simple appearance in the traditional feudal military architectural style of the Emirate of Bukhara, a large gate protected by cylindrical watchtowers on both sides gave the castle an imposing atmosphere. Hissar Kale can be visited as an open-air museum today.
We arrive in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, in the morning. The first thing that catches my attention are the wide, bright streets and neat buildings. We worked a lot before we came, to see what is the covid situation, if we will have problems, there are masked people in some places, but generally there is not much demand. We are walking around with double masks.
When the Covid epidemic started, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan closed their border gates for a long time, they did not accept those who came from abroad. The effect of this has also been seen, the number of cases is low for now. Tourism is one of the important incomes for a country, and when the situation got tough, they started to open their doors to tourists like all other countries. In Central Asian countries, there is sympathy for the Turks, they show interest. The names of the days caught my attention, Sunday is the first day, the following days are the second day, the third day continues. Well; “yekşenbe” on Sunday, “dushanbe” on Monday, “sesenbe” on Tuesday, “carshanbe” on Wednesday, “pencsenbe” on Thursday, he continues. Those who play backgammon know that the rolls of dice are said in Persian, a similar situation. ** Archaeological remains reflecting the centuries-old history of Tajikistan, traditional objects, oil paintings by 20th century painters, clothing items reflecting the social relations, culture and lifestyle of the Tajik people, ceramics, carpets, jewelry and various There are items that reflect the past, such as musical instruments. The most interesting artifact is Nirvana Buddha. The largest Buddha statue in Central Asia at the age of 1600, the recumbent statue is 13 meters long. It was found by Soviet archaeologists during the Kurgan-Tepe excavation on the historical Silk Road in Southern Tajikistan. Rudaki Park; Rudaki Park, which was built in the name of the founder of classical Persian literature, famous literati and poet Muhammed Rudaki, has become one of the iconic spots of the city, and is one of the spots frequently visited by the people of Dushanbe with its colorful flowers and walking paths. In the middle of the pool in the park, which is not just green, there is the statue of Rudaki, who gave its name to this place. Rudaki Park, one of the most beautiful parks of Dushanbe, is a place worth seeing with its regular promenades and unfading flowers. We start to wander around Dushanbe, there is a big botanical garden and there are all kinds of trees in it. The main streets are neat and beautiful than expected. There are many castles in this region, which were built in order to fight together against the raids in the past. Castles are sheltered places where the people of the region can take shelter in case of danger, as well as for defense against attack. We are going to Hissar Castle, one of the most important of these castles. Hissar Castle; On a hilly location on the Great Silk Road, on an area of 86 hectares, it is one of the oldest and largest architectural monuments in Central Asia. Today, it is an urban settlement where crafts and commerce are experienced. The castle, which was used as the residence of the governor of Bukhara for a long time and the base where the state troops were located, started to be built in the 16th century and was completed in the 19th century. During the civil war that lasted from 1918 to 1933, the castle and its surroundings were severely damaged, it was accepted as a historical and cultural heritage in 2000, and the restoration work that started in 2002 was completed. The walls of Hissar Castle, which are one meter thick and made of fire bricks, have spaces for gun and artillery fire. At the entrance of the castle, which has a simple appearance in the traditional feudal military architectural style of the Emirate of Bukhara, a large gate protected by cylindrical watchtowers on both sides gave the castle an imposing atmosphere. Hissar Kale can be visited as an open-air museum today. more about
The 165-meter-long pole and 3×30-meter flag, which was erected to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its independence in 2011, can be seen from anywhere in the city, became the symbol of this place and entered the Guinness Book of Records.
The symbol of the country is the magnificent statue of Shah Ismail Samani, the founder and national hero of Tajikistan, at the beginning of Rudaki Street in the middle of the capital Dushanbe, in Meydan-i Dusti.
The name Samani is also the name of the 7495-meter peak located in the Pamir Mountains on the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border and in the northernmost arms of the Himalayas. İsmail Samani, who ascended the throne in 892, served as an emir, as well as his strongest period, until 907. Ismail Samani, who moved the capital of the state to Khorasan during his Emirate, died in the city of Bukhara in 907 and a magnificent tomb was built for him. The influence of İsmail Samani is seen even today, and the official currency of Tajikistan is named İsmail Samani, and there is the figure of İsmail Samani on the 100 banknote.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, with the declaration of independence in 1991, the name of the big square, which was formerly Lenin Square, was changed to Shah Ismail Samani Square. This is considered the zero (0) starting point of the country. In other words, this is the starting point of the distance measure to another city or place. You know, on the way from Ankara, Istanbul is 260, and it is not clear whether the next 260 km is Gebze or Silivri, everything is clear here, the distances start from where this statue is.
The newly wedded Tajik brides and grooms come to the Shah Ismail Samani statue after the wedding and take a photo as a sign of respect. Although potential brides-to-be were among us (!), there was no result, but we still followed the rules and had a picture taken.
We are in Sadrettin Ayni, one of the important streets of Dushanbe. Very nice shops, shopping malls, Turkish restaurants, the street is lively, we hear deeply enjoyable music. When we head towards the place where the sound comes from, Sadrettin Ayni Opera and Ballet Center, which has the same name as the street, appeared before us. We glided a little, upstairs, final rehearsal for tonight’s concert. We sat down, the wonderful opera show for nearly an hour, oh it sounded so good to our ears. Between us, I did not expect such a performance here, it was extremely successful, it felt good, we enjoyed it very much.
The first Tajik ballet “Two Roses” was exhibited in 1941 in the cultural center named after Sadrettin Ayni, the national poet and one of the most important intellectuals of Tajikistan. Famous ballerina Melike Sabirova, who introduced Tajikistan ballet to the world, and world-famous Tajik dancer Melike Kalenderova are performing here. The building was designed by Bilibin and opened in 1939. The Opera and Ballet Theater is truly worth seeing with its architecture and interior decorations.
Nowruz Palace; among the important places. We are walking around a majestic building, which is reached by wide stairs on both sides, with a lady who guides us with her traditional clothes. One of Dushanbe’s favorite places, there are many meeting rooms where high-level meetings are held, and artistically decorated halls decorated with magnificent wood, marble and gold leaf coating on plaster. Wood inlay work, marble carving and relief work are worth seeing. Of course, although it is traditionally exaggerated, it has its dazzling sides.
Today, it is the place where all kinds of international, national, official and big company meetings are held. In addition, if you give the money, events such as weddings and engagements can be held, in our opinion, prices are at a very reasonable level, keep in mind. The group known as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which made agreements on international trade and economic cooperation established in 1996, and which is a member of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, also holds its meetings here. We walk around all the rooms, a lot of effort, a lot of handwork, a very beautiful place, Nevruz Palace, it is worth seeing.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Central Asian Republics began to reveal their identity. According to the agreement between these states, they will be able to take a common stance in the control and management of Russia in an attack against someone.
Ismaili Cultural Centre; We are going to Ismaili Cultural Center, which is the architectural wonder of Aga Khan, which I have been waiting for. In fact, this is a center in the form of a mosque and a complex belonging to the Ismaili sect, one of the sub-branches of Shiism. You have to come here by informing in advance and making an appointment, you cannot enter. It is a structure that is architecturally different, but beautiful and well-maintained, where every stone and every image has meaning. We are traveling with a volunteer guide, it is big, extremely well-kept and clean. This is a modern complex consisting of four sections: youth, education, social and worship center. For the building, which was built in accordance with the traditional architecture, the brick was supplied from Samarkand, the marble from Tajikistan, the wood from Malaysia and Sweden, and the glass from Italy, but the structure reflects the traditional culture of Tajikistan, Bukhara and Samarkand.
According to belief, the four elements that describe the holiness of nature, air, earth, water and fire, are symbolized at the four corners of a square. It is possible to see intertwined square shapes symbolizing these four elements on the ceilings of the building and in many places. We get information about meeting rooms, training places, administrative departments, all parties. All the work is carried out by the volunteers of the Ismaili sect. In the mosque section called the community house, women can pray in the same environment even if they enter through a separate door. Apparently, there is no oppression, oppression or ignoring behavior towards women as in other Islamic sects. To some deep religious questions, the university student guide said, “This is beyond me, I have to ask the religious authorities.” It can also show maturity.
There are five great faith towers in the building, which reminiscent of the Ismaili faith. The Shah Tower is dedicated to the Prophet Muhammad, while the others are dedicated to the Prophet’s daughter Fatma and her son-in-law Ali and their sons Hasan and Hussein. Families who come to the mosque with their spouses and children can leave their children in the playground here while they pray. The Ismaili Community generally exhibits secular and modern behavior, religious education is not accepted for those under the age of 18, and they can make their religious choices only after they come of age. The congregation house is reached through the corridor with two turns, meaning that all greed, anger and envy are left here, and enter with pure and clean thoughts. When asked if it is possible to visit during worship, they do not take kindly to this. The official says that prayers are offered twice a day, and working is also worship. The property of the Ismailia sect, which is headquartered in Europe and has enormous wealth with the donation of a certain amount of income by the believers, is managed by Aga Khan, who lives in Europe.
So what is the Ismaili sect and who is Aga Khan?
Aga Khan is the title given to the leader of the “Ismailiye” sect, one of the most extreme belief systems in Islam. The leaders of the Ismaili sect began to use the title “Aga Khan” from the end of the 19th century. Hasan Ali Shah, the 46th imam of the sect, became “First Aga Khan” in 1887, and his son Ali Shah became “Second Aga Khan”; His son, the “Third Aga Khan” Sultan Mohammed, made the concept of “Aga Khan” famous all over the world with his political activities and private life. The marriage of Ismailia leaders with the title of Agha Khan to beautiful European and American women and their divorce by paying large alimony have always been covered in the world press.
The third and most famous Aga Khan paid 620 million euros in alimony to his divorced wife in France. Aga Khan, whose real name is Kerim al-Huseyni, is the fourth person to hold this title. One-eighth of the income of 20 million Ismailis scattered all over the world is deposited in the bank accounts of the Aga Khan family in accordance with the sectarian rules, and this money is turned into profitable investments.
Born in Geneva, Switzerland, known as Aga Khan, his mother is Barbara Yarde, a British model. Aga Khan’s real name is Kerim El-Hussein Shah and he graduated from Harvard University by studying Islamic History and is currently the 49th leader of the Ismailia sect. In 1957, his grandfather III. When Muhammed Shah Aga Khan died, the title of “Aga Khan”, which was not given to him because his father, Prince Ali Shah, married the artist Rita Haywoth, was given to Kerim El-Hussein Shah and he took office.
Aga Khan is one of the richest royal families in the world with a fortune of approximately 12 billion dollars. He owns large companies, very valuable real estate, and hundreds of very valuable horses. They married the British model Sarah in 1969, they divorced in 1995 after 26 years of marriage. They had three children, one of whom was a girl. He married German princess and pop singer Gabriel in 1998, divorced again in 2011 and had a son from this marriage.
Even though the members of Ismailia are generally within the borders of India, Pakistan and Tajikistan, they are trying to spread this sect with the students they trained in schools they opened in many parts of the world.
The members of the Ismaili order, who tried to maintain their beliefs by hiding themselves for centuries, began to be recognized during the Fatimids, who seized power in Egypt in the 10th century. Despite the extremism in belief, they gave importance to art and one of the most well-known names in this regard is Hasan Sabah, who lived in the 12th century. Due to the fact that they drugged and guided their followers, whom they used in political assassinations, with the poppy they gave, the Ismaili sect began to be called “Hashashis” over time, and this term gradually began to be used in the sense of “assassins”.
Since 1977, the “Aga Khan Award for Architecture”, one of the biggest awards in the world, is given every three years to contemporary architectural structures that successfully represent the Islamic culture.
The beginning of the Ismaili sect is Hz. It is one of the events that started with the battle of who will be the caliph and the imam after the death of Muhammad. I think it is not appropriate to comment on the subject, as it does not keep the chronological order like other sects and most of them are based on narration.
We saw that there were large jars in some of the history and culture museums we visited. In the statement, it was stated that the bones of those who were from the Zoroastrian religion in the past were put after they died and they were properly preserved as a respect for the deceased. Since the subject has come here, let’s see what Zoroastrianism is, very briefly.
Zoroastrianism; It is the world’s oldest monotheistic revelation religion, which was the religion of the 3 great Persian Empires from the 6th century BC to the 7th century AD, in which dualism, that is, the concepts of mind and soul were separate from the body, and the first examples of eschatological belief in the end of the world. Those who believe in this religion are called Zoroastrians, and they believe that the body will be resurrected after death and will appear before the God Ahura Mazda and be questioned there. Zoroastrianism, which was common in Iran in the past, weakened with the spread of Islam. The sacred text of this religion is the Avesta and was originally written in the Avestan language. The literal meaning of Ahura Mazda is “master of wisdom, master of reason”. Zoroastrian Espantaman is considered the prophet of this religion.
Equality between men and women is one of the most important values in the Zoroastrian belief, and it has been seen that monogamy increases and polygamy decreases in regions where this belief is common. It is a belief system that advises people to rally to the side of goodness. It is based on values such as being generous to the poor, not being lazy, being productive, smiling and being hospitable. Killing and harming all animals, especially cats and dogs, is considered a sin. As stated in the Avesta; Song and poetry also have an important place in Zoroastrianism. Fire is considered sacred, symbolizing enlightenment and God Ahura Mazda, so fire must be respected. The clergy also wear gloves and cover their mouths with a handkerchief to prevent the fire from getting dirty during worship and rituals.
Traditionally, Zoroastrians believe that the earth should not be spoiled or polluted by human remains, so the bodies of the dead are not buried in the ground, but are left in open-topped towers or cliffs called “Towers of Silence”. The corpses, which are left unprotected against vultures, other animals and natural factors, decompose over time or become food for animals, and the remaining bones are collected and kept in special rooms called “Naus” in ceramic cube-shaped containers called “Ossuary”. It means the grave of that person.
Water, earth, air and fire are considered natural elements and are considered sacred. These elements, which are accepted as nature, should not be polluted, their worship by looking at fire, light or the sun was brought by Zoroaster Espantaman. Goodness wins in the struggle of good and evil, it separates darkness and light by showing the truth and justice, all kinds of evil and darkness will disappear, and peace and brotherhood will prevail in the world. The god Ahura Mazda is considered to represent light and enlightenment.
We went out of our subject, we continue on our way;
Early in the morning we head north to Khodjent, the second largest city in Tajikistan. Our way is long, we started to climb through the Fan Mountains, the air started to get colder and then it got colder, the heaters were turned on in the car, and then it started to snow. Between the snow-covered mountains, we continued to climb up and down between the cliffs on one side and the steep and steep rocky roads on the other. We are at 4000 meters, even the tops of the mountains are covered with snow, the temperature is between -20 and -40 in winter, where life is difficult. The journey that starts with a short-sleeved shirt continues through the mountains with the sweater and coat that we wear in layers. After a short break, we came to Istravshan, one of the most beautiful cities of Tajikistan. Getting to know the environment tours, keep going. Mug-Tepa, one of the old settlements of this place and known to have been founded by the Kirs, is also an important center. Life here takes place at the top of the mountains. 19th century madrasa, shrine visits and Namazgoh Mosque. The imam welcomed us, and when he learned that we were both Turkish and Muslim, he began to tell all the history from centuries ago, then said goodbye to us by praying for good luck.
It rained, luckily the roads were fine, it got dark, we came to the city of Khodjent, formerly known as Leninobod.
the city of Khodjent; Khodjent settlement, known as Leninobod, Ursaten and Khudzhand in the past, was first established by Alexander the Great of Macedonia in 329 BC and has been at the intersection of roads on the Silk Road for centuries. In the 8th century, it was first invaded by the Arabs, then the Samanids, then the Karamanids, and in the 13th century it was invaded by the Mongols. After 1866, a large part of Central Asia fell into the hands of the Russians. In 1924, first Uzbekistan, and in 1929 Tajikistan was connected to the USSR.
Seyhun and Ceyhun Rivers are very important in Central Asia.
Seyhun River is one of the longest rivers in Central Asia and is formed by the confluence of Narin Derya and Black Derya Rivers, which originate from the Tian Shan Mountains in the east. Seyhun is known as Siri Derya, which means calm, flowing and regionally secret, hidden river. Another river flowing in the same direction has been identified right under the bed of Syr Darya, and this has caused different meanings to be attributed to this place.
Ceyhun rises from its source at an altitude of 4950 m at the intersection of Pamir and Hindukuş Mountains in Afghanistan, proceeds westward under the name of Aksu or Penç River, and flows actively unlike Seyhun by being fed by other rivers. Regionally, Ceyhun River is also known as Amut Derya. The places between these two rivers, known as Transoxiana, are the most fertile lands of Central Asia. Khodjent is in the region of Tajikistan’s most fertile lands.
The Karakum Dam Basin is the important water basin of the region, and the archaeological artifacts found during the excavations can be seen in the museum today. It has become a green, relaxing and calming place.
Arbob Palace; In the city of Khujand, the Arbob Palace is one of the palaces that has an important place in the history of Tajikistan. As a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, internal conflicts begin in Tajikistan, which entered the struggle for an independent state within its own borders. As a result of these conflicts, which lasted until 1994, there were great conflicts between those who wanted a religious state and sharia rule and those who were pro-republican. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers and Tajik civilians die as a result of conflicts that are in the size of a civil war, and many are forced to flee to other places, especially Afghanistan. In 1994, Imam Ali Rahman gathered the deputies of both sides and the notables of the society at the Arbob Palace. As a result of the controversial meeting that lasted for 16 days, an agreement was reached and Imam Ali Rahman was unanimously elected as the head of government for the state to be established.
Imam Ali Rahman has been serving as the president since 1994, that is, he has been the president for 27 years. All of her 8 children, 6 girls and 2 boys, are at the top level in the state administration and in ministerial positions. When he dies, his eldest son, Rustem Imam Ali, who is the governor of Dushanbe today, will be the heir. In other words, family state administration is in the Imam Ali family. It means that in the presidential system, the person does not go, and then his son or a member of the family becomes the president. Presidency is such a system, and we understood it very clearly.
Arbob Palace is a beautiful, well-kept place with many halls where most of the state meetings are held today. It is possible to see a brief summary of Tajikistan’s history here.
Arbob Palace of Culture was built in St. It was built as one of the winter gardens of St. Petersburg Peterhof and is one of the buildings that can be considered ambitious even for that period. Another important issue is that volunteers from all walks of society, known as “Hashar”, worked in the construction of the palace. During the Soviet period, many buildings were built in this way by employing people under the name of volunteers (!).
Khojen Fortress; It is one of the important places where many wars and conflicts took place in the past years. A part of the castle, which was built on a large area, is used as a museum today. This is one of the castles built to protect the settlement from attacks and looters. The most striking thing in the museum, which tells the history of Khojen, is that the Persian culture, which has influenced this place in the past years, is still effective. The people of Tajikistan speak the Persian dialect, which is the Iranian language, and they were also influenced by the Iranian culture and music.
It was the city’s major stronghold for over 2500 years and expanded with the city. Known to have been built in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, there are deep water ditches around the castle with thick fortification walls. During the heyday of the Great Silk Road, Khojen Castle was rebuilt and the city walls were repaired. During his time, Khojen Fortress was considered one of the strongest defended fortresses in Central Asia.
The castle was besieged by Genghis Khan in the 13th century, the army under the command of Timur Malik could not resist as a result of the clashes and surrendered. As a result, the castle was completely destroyed and the city surrendered. The Siege of Khogen was recorded as one of the biggest events in the history of Tajikistan. In 1999, Khojen Castle was restored and started to be used as the Museum of History, Archeology and Fortification.
Thursday Market; We are going to the Thursday market, one of the biggest markets in Dushanbe. You can find all kinds of vegetables, fruits, clothing and goods in the permanent market place, which is located in a large, closed area. In the open air, there are daily vegetables, fruits and some clothing items produced by the villagers themselves. This is not a place where foreigners and tourists come often, so all eyes are on us. We finished the day with a little shopping and some photo shoots. This is also the main square of Khodjen, and as such, the largest mosque, Sheikh Muhitdin Mosque, is also here. A new Friday mosque, with a capacity of 3000 people, is being built right next to the mosque known as the central mosque. It seems to have a lot of customers, we said good luck.
Even though they are decorated as an exaggeration, there are very nice restaurants. There is an understanding that the bigger the better.
It’s okay today, the weather is starting to get colder.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the restructuring of the Central Asian countries and the determination of the borders were not easy. During the Lenin period, problems began to arise in the determination of borders in the Central Asian republics, as in all republics affiliated to the Soviet Union. This was a practice that was made consciously since the time of Lenin and called the “Great Game”. The places, regions and/or cities where each nation had its own national, cultural and religious values were deliberately left within the borders of the other nation. During the Soviet period, this could not be objected to much due to the repression regime, and it could not even be a topic. At that time, there were no clear borders in the countries, although it was subject to permission, people could generally go wherever they wanted within the Soviet Republics. When some national and religious values were left within the borders of another country after the collapse of the Soviet Union, border tensions began to arise between countries. In other words, the village where the national hero of a country was born in the region close to the border, places that can be considered sacred in terms of religion, regions with high political or economic value, places with abundant water resources were deliberately left within the borders of the other country. In this case, each country wanted to see places with its own political, economic, historical and religious values within its borders. Although it seems that there is no problem for now, especially between the Turkish Republic, with a little manipulation, conflicts that can lead to war can be created.
19th century England, which was the founder of the Great Game in the beginning, has been the leading actor of many colonial and occupation events in history. Why did England feel the need to establish such a game together with Russia in this region? India is a country with many religious and ethnic groups. Britain does not want India, which is completely under its control, to be divided and to experience internal turmoil. For this reason, he does not want problems to be experienced in countries with border neighbors, where India can be affected politically and socially. In other words, the social events that would affect India would also disturb England in terms of interests. At that time, it was desired to create potential problems that could affect the society at any time in these countries and to keep these problems alive. For this reason, the script of the big play was written by England and Russia, rehearsals were made, and the play could be staged in a short time when necessary. This was also useful for Russia to control its subordinate republics. This method is still applied to underdeveloped and developing countries with slightly different versions.
In the recent past, Uzbekistan, which has very limited water resources, and Tajikistan, which has abundant water resources, wanted to build a dam on the rivers feeding Uzbekistan, and tensions arose between the two countries.
Similar situation; Nakhchivan is the province of the Azerbaijan State, but it is within the territory of Armenia. To enter Nakhchivan, you will either pass through Armenia, which they do not allow today due to political problems, or you will come to Turkey via Iran and leave from Iğdır. In other words, although the Nakhchivan province was attached to Azerbaijan, it was left within the Armenian lands. Or the easiest way is by plane over Armenian airspace, which depends on Armenia’s airspace clearance. Therefore, the potential problem between Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan and Armenia can be scratched and bled at any moment.
It is not connected with here, but the loom is the same, Gaza, which is Palestinian land, is also within the borders of Israel and is surrounded by Israeli land. There are many such examples, in these countries, potential conflict can occur at any time with a little manipulation. Here is what is desired, such as keeping the pin alive on a bomb
Tajikistan has a long border with Afghanistan. Before coming here, the uncertainty about how the new administration of Afghanistan was affected by the Taliban and the level of refugee influx caused concern. The five countries, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, although they are independent republics, are under the political and economic control and control of the elder brother Russia. In other words, the main policy in the region is determined by Russia.
There is a deep-rooted cultural unity between Tajiks and Afghans, especially in the border regions, there are kinship relations due to marriages from the past, and those living on both sides of the border speak the same language, live similar traditions and cultures. In other words, there is a historical bond between Tajiks and Afghans. For this reason, Tajikistan announced that it would accept one hundred thousand Afghan refugees when the Taliban events started, but the agreement could not be realized because Russia did not accept this. During the Taliban events, Russia built a serious military build-up in the region and took control of the Afghan border. In negotiations on behalf of this region, Russia always sits at the head of the table and is the decision maker. In fact, all autonomous and semi-autonomous states in the territory of the former Soviet Union are still under the influence of Russia politically and economically.
Many Tajiks we spoke to say they have cultural and kinship relations with Afghans. They do not support or approve of the Taliban administration. We heard from many people saying, “If the Taliban is Muslim, I am not that Muslim”. In Tajikistan, you cannot see a woman with a burqa, a veil or a black chador, a bigot with a turban, a robe, or a beard, you cannot see a mosque without a congregation on every corner, the state does not allow such behavior and bigotry. There is a similar situation in all Central Asian Republics. Women work here and, as in many Islamic countries, they do not run away from men with the thought that if I touch them or look at them, my ablution will be invalidated. Therefore, bigotry and bigotry did not occur in Central Asian Muslim countries.
Today we are going to Penjikent. We will go on mountainous roads with cliffs on one side, it seems like it will be a little exciting. We started the climb, we are at 3,000 meters, and we descend through the Turkmenistan Mountain Range and the Fan Mountains, winding down to the city of Ayni. It’s seriously cold. Then we were able to come to Penjikent by following the Zerefshan Valley and Zerefshan Creek through the Zerefshan Mountains.
Penjikent, as its name suggests, is one of the important places in Tajikistan, which is the center of five regions. This is also the birthplace of Rudaki, one of the well-known poets of Iranian literature. First, we go to Pencikken museum to see what happened in the past and what is the historical situation. We were well informed about the 5000-year-old Sarsani history, the civilizations lived in these lands, the wars.
Ancient Penjikent; While it was a small town in the Sogdiana region in the pre-Islamic period, it grew to become a settlement and trade center in the 5th century. It was ruled by rulers known as the Panch rulers. Despite the struggle of their last ruler, Divastic, the city fell under Arab Umayyad rule in 722. There are Arabs in the past of this place, when they started to come here in 650 years to spread Islam, they wanted to invade the fertile lands and made great massacres, pillages, tortures and reigned here. In this period, as a result of the massacres and looting of the Arabs, migration started, the population decreased significantly and the city, which started to be abandoned, was not rebuilt.
Penjikent was rebuilt in a different place after the wars and great destructions.
We are going to the ancient area where Old Penjikent is. Archaeological studies were carried out from time to time, and the unearthed ones were not well preserved, so it looks like a large area full of ruins.
Many valuable scientists, poets, masters of philosophy and literature, such as Firdevsi, Ebu Reyhan El Biruni, Ömer Hayyam, İbn-i Sina, Nasr-ı Hüsrev, who lived in these lands and appear in many places in cultural centers, tombs, all grew up here. Let’s see who is one of these sages, Ömer Khayyam, who we often encounter today, famous for his rubais.
Omar Khayyam; I think it would be wrong to come this far and feel his footsteps and spirit and not talk about Ömer Khayyam. In fact, when Omar Khayyam is mentioned, many of us think of quatrains (rubais) referring to “love, wine, entertainment”. However, he was a scientist as well as his poetry that has not been forgotten for 9 centuries. Ömer Hayyam or Gıyaseddin Eb’ul Feth Ömer İbni İbrahim El-Khayyam, who was born in 1048 in the province of Nishapur, which is today in Iran, within the borders of Tajikistan during his lifetime, is a poet, philosopher, mathematician and astronomer. He is one of the most important people who lived during the Great Seljuk Empire. Khayyam, who received education on Islam from famous teachers in major madrasas during his lifetime, is also an important place for the history of world science. He is one of the world’s leading scientists in mathematics and astronomy, who prepared the Celali Calendar, which is much more precise than the Gregorian and Hijri Calendars used today. Ömer Hayyam, who is considered to be a scholar-philosopher belonging to the Avicenna school, was also interested in algebra, geometry, astronomy, physics and medicine, was engaged in music, and also wrote his rubais that immortalized his name. More than a thousand rubaisi has been recorded.
Khayyam used a very easy to understand, fluent and clear language while writing his rubais. He was realistic in his poems. By the way, let’s see what he said to remember;
after not clean
You became Haji teacher, how much money!
Cardigan, rosary, hide, prayer rug are beautiful;
But does God bleed for them?
It is best to do good to friend and foe;
Those who love good cannot do evil.
If you do evil to your friend, your enemy becomes:
If your enemy is your friend, if you do good.
He used to express what he experienced and observed. According to him, the most infallible measure was reason and common sense. Man could only reach the truth through reason. In his poems, he slandered the injustices and absurdities of his time in a subtle and cynical language. He chose the subject of his stanzas from themes such as love, wine, the world, human life and the joy of living. He looked at the flow of human life with a cynical and philosophical eye.
According to the great poet, what is real is “what is lived”, there is no second world beyond the world. As long as a person lives, the most infallible criterion is “truth”, not faith, but reason and common sense. Man exists with his mind, the most infallible guide is the mind, and he can only reach the truth through reason.
Although the rubais were translated into Turkish by many different translators, the translation that made the rubais popular with the Turkish people was made by Sabahattin Eyüboğlu.
He died on December 4, 1131, in Nishapur, Iran, at the age of 83.
Continue on our way:
Seven Lakes; We are going to the seven lakes, which symbolize the number seven on the flag, from the important places of natural wonders in Tajikistan. Since the roads are bad and narrow, we will go up to 2 thousand meters by vehicles. The cold began to bite lightly as he climbed up. We reached the first lake. The characteristic of the lakes is that each lake is naturally connected to each other by underground and aboveground channels. The top lake, Lake Hazorshashme, is fed by snow, rain, groundwater and mainly the Shing River. The water accumulating here feeds the next lake after a certain level. Thus, each lake, after creating its natural conditions and basin in its own environment, goes down by feeding other lakes. However, the water of each lake is noticeably different in color due to the different bacteria and living things that occur under the conditions. Starting from the first one at the bottom, we go up to the fourth lake. It is not that easy, looking at the narrow roads and the wonderful views around, climbing by taking pictures. When we came to the fourth lake, we did not understand how the time passed so quickly, we had already passed half the day. Great lunch that we did not expect in such a place, view, fresh air. Alcohol is not very common in Tajikistan, so it is not possible to find it except in some places. Anyway, pleasant food, conversation is okay. Keep going, we’re climbing, small settlements around, their local clothes are worth seeing. It is the sixth lake after the fifth lake. Although it was difficult, we were able to get up here by car, then we have to climb the steep rocky mountain for 1.5 hours to the seventh lake, it’s like a difficult track, we decided not to push our luck, we took the turn.
I think you are wondering about the names of the lakes. Respectively,
- Lake Mijgon,
- Guzhor Lake,
- Hushyor Lake,
- Lake Nofi,
- Lake Khurdak,
- Margusor Lake,
- Hazorshashme Lake.
Under the pretext that it would be late, no one actually dared to go there. We are going down the same road. As the altitude begins to decrease in the light of the evening sun, the colors of the lakes begin to change noticeably and take on different beauties. It was not difficult, it is one of the places to be careful but must see when it comes to these places.
Sarasm Civilization; Tajikistan has hosted many civilizations in the past. One of the important civilizations here is the Sarasm Civilization. A lot of materials were found in the excavations, we go to the ruins where they are found and where the excavations are still going on.
The Sarasm Civilization, which means the place where the land begins, is considered to be the first settled civilization seen in Central Asia between 5,000 BC and 4,000 BC. The historical artifacts found during the excavations in the archaeological site, which was declared a protected area, are exhibited in the museum. It has been understood that some of the people living in Sarazm, the oldest settlement in Central Asia, are nomadic, and some of them are engaged in animal husbandry and agriculture on large plains.
Here we are on the land where this civilization lived in the past and we learn what they did and how they lived.
The history of Central Asia is not taught much in us, so the history of these places is a subject that we do not fully understand. Actually, it is not easy to understand. Over the centuries, religious and political sovereignty has changed a lot, and there have been constant wars between each other’s sons, grandsons, son-in-laws, relatives or those from other geographies. 17 different states have been established in the last 260 years, the longest reign is like 60-80 years. Every newcomer has destroyed the old ones. It is a geography that has experienced constant wars and destructions until recently.
If we summarize all this briefly, what is Tajikistan:
Many civilizations have lived in these lands since 4000 BC, and many cultures have survived in the region. Bactria-Margiyana and Andronovo, the first known civilizations, lived in these lands in the early ages. States such as the Achaemenid Empire, the Sassanid Empire, the Ephthalites, the Kushanis, the Samanids and the Mongol Empire ruled over these lands. The country was later captured by the Russian Empire. After the establishment of the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 20th century, Tajikistan continued its existence under the Soviet Socialist Republic. Tajikistan, which declared its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, experienced a civil war between 1992-1997. After the end of the civil war, the country’s economy started to grow with the established political stability and foreign aid.
The country has been ruled by President Imam Ali Rahman as one man since 1994. An administration in the form of a monarchy, that is, authoritarian leadership, as such, democracy and human rights issues were suspended, and personal administration, political pressure and corruption came to the fore.
Criminal crimes such as theft, extortion and murder are not very common in the country. All the family and relatives of Imam Ali Rahman, who has been the chairman for 27 years, are also in the state administration. His eldest son, Rustam Imam Ali, is the longtime governor of Dushanbe and will be the head of state after his father. Of course, there are elections in Tajikistan, of course, the same president wins the election with over 90% of the votes in each election!
Dushanbe cuisine has been influenced by Russian, Afghan and Uzbek cuisine all over Tajikistan. “Plov”, meaning pilaf, is considered the national dish of Tajikistan. Dried fruits, nuts and halva are the products they use most. “Plov” is a traditional dish prepared with pieces of mutton, carrots, turnips and rice.
There are three different colors on the Tajikistan flag. White represents the snow on the mountains, cleanliness, red represents the struggle in the past in history, heroism, green represents the color of Islam and nature. In addition, the 7 stars on the flag represent the Seven Lakes, which is the important place of Tajikistan and is an important number in Islam. The crown in the middle of the stars symbolizes that each Tajik is a crowned and valuable person.
Why are all Muslim countries in the world underdeveloped, in poverty and desperation? Why do all kinds of corruption, bribery and subversion take place in these countries? Why do people in these countries consent to injustice, oppression and their fate? Why are these considered ordinary affairs in Muslim countries? Need to think!
Life in Tajikistan is not easy, the large class differences seen in every underdeveloped country are clearly seen here. New models and expensive cars, stores selling expensive brands, big and wide streets. However, if you go a little behind, you encounter a very different world. The minimum wage is around $125, and the salary of teachers and civil servants is just above that. The way to live should be the “my officer knows his job” method.
The land of hospitable, cordial, friendly people.
Tajikistan, the land of unexpected beauty.