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Pictures of our 2nd Central Asia trip 2016 to Tajikistan
– Part 1 – From Uzbekistan border to Dushanbe May 31st, to June 18th, 2016
 
before:
Uzbekistan from Turkmenistan border in Dashoguz to Tajikistan border near Oybeck May 10th to 31st, 2016
Turkmenistan from Iran border at Bajgiran to Uzbekistan border near Khiva May 6th to 10th, 2016
Iran from the ferry port Bandar Abbas to Turkmenistan border near Ashgabat April 11th to May 6th, 2016
United Arab Emirates from Saudi Arabia border to Sharjah and the ferry to Iran January 12th to April 10th, 2016
Saudi Arabia from the ferry port Jeddah in transit to United Arab Emirates border January 9th to 12th, 2016
Sudan – from Ethiopia border to Suakin and the ferry to Saudi Arabia December 9th, 2015 to January 8th, 2016
afterwards:
Tajikistan Part 2 from Dushanbe to the Kyrgyzstan border June 19th to 27th, 2016
Kyrgyzstan from Tajikistan border in Pamir to Kazakhstan border at Karkara June 27th to August 9th, 2016
Kazakhstan –  from Kyrgyzstan to Russia border – August 9th to 21st, 2016
Russia Part 2a – from Tretyakovo at Kazakhstan border via Lake Teletskoye to Gorno Altaysk Aug. 21st to Sept. 26th, 2016
Russia Part 2b from Gorno Altaysk to the Mongolia border and back to the Ukraine border at Krupets Sept. 26th to Nov. 11th, 2016
 
Tajikistan Map
 
 
               Map of Central Asia
 
latest picture: June 17, 2016
  • click a picture to see details

 
 
 
 
 
 
001  Emil adds Tajikistan to our country ribbon.
It is May 31st, 2016, when we cross into our
186th country Tajikistan at the Uzbek border
post of Oybek (Chanak). Tajikistan is bordering
Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and China
002  In Khujand, the second biggest city
(metro 750'000 people), the Tajikistan flag
is waving in the wind under a blue sky. During
Soviet times the city was named Leninabad
003  President Emomali Rahmonov’s portrait
is greeting at ”every corner“, here at the big
square at the Panchshanbe Bazaar in Khujand.
He is President of the Republic of Tajikistan
since November 16th, 1994
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
004  A striking contrast to the lively bazaar
is the dome of the Sheikh Massal ad-Din
complex (Sheikh Muslihiddin mausoleum)
at the Panchshanbe Square in Khujand
005  The impressive Sheikh Massal ad-Din
Complex at Panchshanbe Square in Khujand
with its mausoleum in the middle, flanked by
two mosques with up to 69 ft. [21m] high
brick minarets
006  In front of the pink-white painted
market hall on Panchshanbe Square in
Khujand small vendors and rentals of
children electric cars are making business
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
007  Cherries, apricots, apples and
nectarines are waiting for buyers in
front of the market hall in Khujand
008  The Panchshanbe Bazaar in the elegant
hall in Khujand, built in 1964, is said to be
one of the biggest and best-stocked
markets in Central Asia
009  It is peak season for water and
honey melons. They are for sale in great
quantities and are sold like hot cakes in
the current heat wave of 97°F [36°C]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
010  Early practice only makes the master
(general): The boy is sitting proudly and fully
concentrated on his electric tank and drives on
Panchshanbe Square, navigated by his father …..
011  ….. the sweet little girl in her
“normal car“ is also moving around
and seems to fully enjoy it too
012  Also the ice cream seller is
not missing at Panchshanbe Square
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
013  The “Eternal Flame” and a memorial
“in honor” of the Soviets in a small park
along Lenin Street in Khujand
014  Liliana looks small in front of the
imposing statue of Kamal Khujandi,
a poet of the 14th century
015  Busts of the “Stars of Khujand”
line the way in the same-named park
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
016  10th-century Citadel in Khujand: It once
was 3ľ miles [6km] long with 7 gates. The main
section remains occupied by the army, but houses
museums and is still a popular place for recreation
017  The young mother is carrying proudly
her young festively dressed child in her arm
018  The rear of two peacock figures in
the small park near the citadel is filled with
flower pots. They are a popular photo
spot for families with small children
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
019  The 72 ft. [22m] tall statue of Lenin,
 moved in 1974 from Moscow to Leninabad
(today Khujand), was transferred in 2011
from its stand north of the Syr Darya river to
its “retirement spot“ in an urban quarter that
lies 0.7 miles [1.1km] more westerly
020  A group of women make a lunch
break near the Lenin statue in Khujand.
One of them makes us a sign to join
021  An interesting wall relief made of
mosaics depicts historic (?) scenes at
an intersection north of Khujand
(near Khamirabot)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What would the world be without blooming plants? Eye-catching flowers in Khujand
022
023  Firewheel (Gaillardia), actually native
to northern Mexico and Southern USA
024
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
025  The self-display of the Tajik President is
omnipresent. Here he poses in the middle of
nicely costumed students along Lenin Street in
Khujand, today called Ismoili Somoni Avenue
026  Gate to Istaravashan, 42 miles [68 km]
southwest of Khujand along the road to
Dushanbe. Each city in Tajikistan greets
with such an imposing structure
027  Tajikistan’s landscape is wild and
shaped by deep canyons – here between
Shakhristan and Buragen along M34 highway
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
028  From the 17’234 ft. [5’253m] long
Shakhristan-Pass-Tunnel the road is winding
from an altitude of 9’022 ft. [2’750m] down
to the narrow Zerafshan valley, where in
Ayni, about 4’600 ft. [1’400m] lower,
the road junction to the capital Dushanbe
and to Samarkand/Uzbekistan lies
029  An overturned truck blocks
half of the Shakhristan mountain road.
Knowing the reckless driving,
it’s not surprising
030  Between Ayni and Penjikent – 56 miles
[90km] – the road drops from the altitude of
about 4’500 ft. [<1’400m] into the Zerafshan
gorge to about 3’100 ft. [±950m]. The new tar
road runs through a very scenic landscape
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
031  Between Ayni and Penjikent, Emil is
taking a picture of the typical village
Urmitan, embedded in a harsh mountain
region. It gives the impression of an oasis
032  “What a lively jam!“ On the Ayni-
Penjikent route herdsmen are leading
their sheep to the next pasture
033  “Photo!“ shouts the young herdsman
and poses joyfully for the picture
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
034  It turns green only along the river.
Mountain scenery between Ayni and
Penjikent – in the background the
Turkestan mountain range
035  It doesn’t turn in the wind but due to
water: A water wheel at a village channel.
In many places there is no running water.
People have to carry it home single-handed or
with their donkeys. Here before Novichornok,
on the road to 7 Lakes (Haft-Kul)
036  Isolated from the rest of the world:
A remote hamlet nestling on a stony slope
of the Fan Mountains, reachable only
by foot or donkey
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
037  The ‘aha’ experiences on the partly
difficult 23 miles [37km] from Penjikent to
Haft-Kul – the ‘7 Lakes’ – follow at every turn.
Here it’s the passage through a narrow canyon
shortly before reaching the first lake ‘Mijon’ …..
038  ….. once it is the attractive
scenery of an alpine river …..
039  ….. another time it’s a steep
spectacular mountain climb
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
040  This is the first and most beautiful
of the chain of 7 turquoise glinting ponds
along the western end of the Fan mountain
range. They extend for more than
12 miles [20km] towards the south …..
041  ….. the second lake ‘Gushor’
is separated from the third lake
‘Novin’ only by a small
ribbon of land …..
042  ….. the fifth lake ‘Haft-Kul’
is also sandwiched into the
dramatic mountain scenery
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
043  Camping joy at the 4th lake ‘Kurdak’.
We share the beautiful spot with some
fishermen who, however, leave in the
evening with empty hands
044  The mountain slopes around the
Seven Lakes are flowering, adding to the
charm of this magnificent mountain region
045  Alpine idyll pur: The fast flowing
mountain river rushes past our rough
camping spot at the 7 Lakes. Tajikistan
counts 1‘000 rivers and 2‘000 lakes
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tajik people love to have taken their photos, giving us thus the opportunity to a brief encounter
046
047
048
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
049  The stately trees that line the river are
‘ablaze’ by the warm evening light (on the
way back between the 7 Lakes and Sujina)
050  Scattered settlements nestle on the
slopes of the Fan mountain range between
the 7 Lakes and Penjikent
051  A reddish shimmering eroded mountain
wall northeast of Chorbog raises vertically from
the plain and contrasts wonderfully with the green
of the valley (between 7 Lakes and Penjikent)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
052  Near Gusar, east of Penjikent, the
Zerafshan river flows in different pathways
through the river bed before reuniting again
053  The bush with the delicate pink blossoms
is another example of nature’s beauty
054  At Dardar, west of Ayni, the
Zerafshan river is meandering in narrow
bends through the canyon
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
055  Between Ayni and Sarvoda – on the
main Dushanbe highway – the good tarmac
road runs through a narrow gorge flanked by
steep mountains, leaving just enough space
for the road and the river
056  Steep and partly washed-out switch-
backs lead near Rabot from the Dushanbe
highway to Iskander-Kul (-lake) on
7’200 ft. [2’195m] altitude …..
057  ….. view to the blue silverish river
that is meandering through the narrow
canyon deep below
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
058  Simply beautiful: The color palette
of the mountains rising into a deep blue sky
could possibly not be more splendid. Our
LandCruiser on its descent to Iskander-
Kul, the lake in the Zerafshan range
059  On our descent to Iskander-Kul
we enjoy another beautiful view into
the great canyon scenery
060  The opal-blue mountain lake Iskander-
Kul comes into view. Along with the blue-
silverish shining river, the reddish mountains
and the luminous yellow bushes it is a most
stunning picture
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
061  Only a short hike from Iskander-Kul,
the river carrying big quantities of water
from the melting of snow, rumbles down
a rift to the valley …..
062  ….. Peculiar plants and huge
boulders shape the alpine landscape
around the waterfall …..
063  ….. Emil is relaxing on a
boulder and enjoys the view
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Different flowers in shining yellow. With their intensive luminosity they always convey a feeling of sun even if it is not shining
064
065
066
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
067  Liliana at our lunch table on the shore
of Iskander-Kul. We enjoy our spot at the
official forest campsite with view to the
mountains reflecting in the calm waters
of the mountain lake …..
068  ….. more to the right (southwest),
there is another almost perfect reflection
of the Fan Mountains …..
069  ….. another reflecting picture: We
cannot get enough of the spectacular view
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
070  Halfway around Iskander-Kul
snow capped mountain peaks mirror
from the southeast in the lake
071  Carpets of pink flowers line
the shore of Iskander-Kul at an
altitude of 7’200 ft. [2’195m]
072  View across Iskander-Kul lake with
the tree-lined shore and the access road to
the President’s Datcha (vacation house)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
073  Working day for Emil at Iskander-Kul.
He changes spark plugs and the distributor
points. For that he has to sit uncomfortably
under the hood as everything – though a
lot of space – is not so easy to access
074  Last moment with our German-
Dutch neighbors Anna and Reinier at the
Iskander-Kul forest campsite. They are
with their Volkswagen Bus T3 on a
4 months trip through Central Asia
075  A remembrance photo of the
two of us with Iskander-Kul in the
background when we (have to) leave
this mountain region after three
wonderful camping days for Dushanbe
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
076  A gasp of relief: Our overheating
LandCruiser that stops over and over again,
crossed the 16’535 ft. [5’040m] long, unlit
and unventilated Anzob tunnel, also called
“death tunnel“ without any breakdown
077  At the southern end of the Anzob
tunnel, we are greeted not only by fresh
air but also by lush green mountain slopes
and snow capped mountain peaks …..
078  ….. the stunning mountain
scenery continues to delight us for
quite some time as we roll downhill
towards the capital Dushanbe
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
079  Panorama at the southern Anzob
tunnel descent: Below the river is meandering
down the valley, from the other side of the
valley greets the spring like mountain scenery
080  From Anzob tunnel, our LandCruiser
rolls from the coolness of the high mountain
region (8’700 ft.) [2’650m] to the heat
of the plain (2’316 ft.) [706m]
081  Emil feasting: We have soup, boiled
beef, roasted cutlets on a spit, salad, bread
and two one 1˝-liter bottles of beer. For
two it costs Somoni 150, about US$19.10
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
082  Discussion regarding the overheating
problem of our LandCruiser in a workshop
in Dushanbe, used also by diplomats. But
they cannot help us because they never
had this model …..
083  ….. in the compound of the “Hello“
Guesthouse in Dushanbe, Emil removes the
winch and puts it on the roof rack hoping to
reduce the overheating problem (more air
for the radiator) …..
084  ….. as last hope we visit Tajikistan’s
Toyota distributor in Dushanbe, unfortunately
with the same result as at the first workshop.
What now? On June 18th, 2016, we decide as
a “hit or miss” to take off to the Pamir Highway
 
Continuation to the next Tajikistan page: Tajikistan Part 2 June 19th to 27th, 2016,  from Dushanbe to the Kyrgyzstan border
The African trip 2013-16:
CapeVerde: Santiago/Praia part 1 – November18th to December 13th, 2013
CapeVerde: Fogo – Dezember13th to 23rd, 2013
CapeVerde: Brava – December 23rd to 26th, 2013
Cape Verde: Santiago/Praia part 2 – December 26th, 2013 to February 28th, 2014
Cape Verde: Săo Nicolau – February 28th to March 13th, 2014
Cape Verde: Săo Vicente/Mindelo part 1 – March 13th to 20th, 2014
Cape Verde: Santo Antăo/Eastern side part 1 – March 20th to April 7th, 2014
Cape Verde: Santo Antăo/Western side part 2April 7th to 10th, 2014
Cape Verde: Săo Vicente/Mindelo part 2April 10th to 29th, 2014
Namibia Part 1 from Walvis Bay to Windhoek
Angola Part 1 September 26th to October 4th, 2014
Angola Part 2 October 4th to 22nd, 2014
Namibia Part 2 from Windhoek to the Angolan border, back again and on to South Africa
South Africa Part 1 from Namibia border to Capetown January 22nd to February 23rd, 2015
3rd Major Repair of our LandCruiser FJ60 - 1982  (due to two broken sideshafts)
South Africa Part 2 from Capetown to Tsitsikamma National Park February 24th to March 13th, 2015
South Africa Part 3 from Addo National Park to the Lesotho border March 13th to April 7th, 2015
Lesotho April 7th to 15th, 2015
South Africa Part 4 from the Lesotho to the Swaziland border April 15th to 23rd, 2015
Swaziland April 23rd to 28th, 2015
South Africa Part 5 from the Swaziland to the Botswana border  April 28th to May 15th, 2015
Botswana
Zimbabwe
Mozambique
Malawi
Armed Robbery in Malawi on July 31st/August 1st, 2015
Tanzania
Kenya
Ethiopia Part 1 – from Kenya to Djibouti October 25th to November 18th, 2015
Djibouti October 18th to 27th, 2015
Ethiopia Part 2   from Djibouti to Sudan November 27th to December 9th, 2015
Sudan December 9th, 2015 to January 8th, 2016