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Location - Central Asia; Capital - Dushanbe; Population - 9 million; Currency - Somoni

Tajikistan and Uzbekistan recently reopened their border near Samarkand, and it was a straightforward crossing between the two countries and on to Penjikent for a quick day visit - September 2018.


tajikistannote1I love weird denominations like a 3 Somoni note








tajikistan1At the border is a photo of Tajik president Emomali Rahmon shaking hands with Uzbek president Shavkat Mirziyoyev - Sarazm


tajikistan7I headed straight for Old Penjikent courtesy of a very friendly bus driver, who drove me all the way from the border to the museum and then invited me to visit his family. Pity I didn't get a photo of him! Instead I got a picture of these guys farming their land next to the museum - Penjikent


tajikistan5What I think is an original fresco from Old Penjikent (most are copies, with most of the originals being in Dushanbe and St Petersburg) - Penjikent















tajikistan11Old Penjikent was a Sogdian trading city on the Silk Road and grew to prominence in the 5th century AD - Penjikent














tajikistan13Old Penjikent is sometimes referred to as the 'Pompeii of Central Asia' but unfortunately not much is left, save for a few mounds and bits of rubble - Penjikent


tajikistan9The best thing about the site is the view of the modern-day city occupying the Zarafshan Valley below - Penjikent


tajikistan10Penjikent stretches to the Zarafshan River and Zarafshan mountain range (part of the Pamirs)














tajikistan15Drying out mud bricks on the route back to Penjikent















tajikistan16..while this household is drying out manure, presumably for use as fuel - Penjikent


tajikistan19The entrance to the bazaar on the main road through Penjikent


tajikistan17Locals wandering through the sprawling bazaar - Penjikent
















tajikistan20A cheap place to eat with a view is the building overlooking the market - Penjikent















tajikistan22Many of the locals in Penjikent are ethnic Uzbeks. Stalin deliberately split ethnic groups into different republics across Central Asia to create minorities, diluting nationalism and power. But read this for a different explanation - Penjikent


tajikistan26Across the road from the bazaar is the Olim Dodkhokh Mosque and Madrasah - Penjikent


tajikistan27 Inside the grounds of the Olim Dodkhokh Mosque and Madrasah - Penjikent















tajikistan29Pictures of President Emomali Rahmon are everywhere - Penjikent















tajikistan30Passing a government building emblazoned with the Tajik flag and the president - Penjikent














tajikistan34A great place for a meal and a green tea/beer is Dilkusho, close to the Zarafshan River - Penjikent


tajikistan33The restaurant has several tapchans to relax on, perfect on a warm day. More generosity came my way when the owner wouldn't accept payment for my zelenyi chai (green tea) and was given a lift back to the town centre by a passing employer. I then went in search of a Tajik beer at an off-licence manned by a schoolgirl in uniform.. - Penjikent


tajikistan44 A statue of Ismoil Somoni, 10th century ruler of the Samanid dynasty, and the man the currency is named after - Penjikent














tajikistan40The 'People's Poet of Tajikistan', Loik Sherali stands outside the Tourist Information Centre - Penjikent















tajikistan41Also near the tourist info centre is Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov aka Lenin, leader of Russia and the Soviet Union following the 1917 Russian Revolution - Penjikent


tajikistan43It's Mr President again - Penjikent


tajikistan46Just one more - Penjikent















tajikistan47Time to get a shared taxi back to the Uzbek border and return to Samarkand - Penjikent
















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