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tiistai 22. joulukuuta 2015

Tajikistan, Cool Facts #86

<= 85. Belarus                                                                                                           87. Kyrgyztan =>

1. Dushanbe Flagpole

Between the years 2011-2014 Tajikistan had the world's highest flagpole. The flagpole was erected for the 20th anniversary of Tajikistan's independence. The 3,5 million dollar flagpole succeeded the Baku Flagpole as the world's tallest flagpole with a height of 165 meters.

The flag itself was 1800 square meters big and weighed 350 kg. In 2014 the Jeddah Flagpole in Saudi Arabia displaced the Dushanbe Flagpole as the tallest flagpole in the world with a height of 170 meters.

Tajiks have Persian roots, which can be in the green-white-red stripes of their flag. It's told that the word Tajik comes from the word "tajvar" crowned, so the golden crown symbolizes that fact. The number seven is the number of perfection and luck and that's why the amount of the stars is seven.

Dushanbe Flagpole

2. Tajik people

Unlike the Uzbeks, Turkmens, Kazakhs and Kirghiz the Tajiks belong to the Iranian people and not Turkic like the people in the other Central Asian countries. The Tajik language is a variety of the modern Persian. As a difference to the Iranians, Tajiks are Sunna Muslims instead of Shia.

The interesting fact is that there are large Tajik population groups in the neighboring countries, because the borders of the Soviet states didn't follow the natural borders of the different ethnic groups.

For example in Afghanistan there are between 9-12 million Tajikistanis, which means that there are more Tajikistanis in Afghanistan than in Tajikistan itself with its 6,8 million strong population.

3. Pamir and Altai Mountains

One of the world's highest mountain ranges Pamir and Altai cross Tajikistan. Hundreds of canyons split the mountains and on the bottom of them there are flowing rivers, which merge into river valleys, where the majority of the population lives.

Almost half of the Central Asian waters flow from the mountains of Tajikistan, so the water is definitely the country's most important resource. Tajikistani mountain ranges got the name the "Roof of the World" already in the Victorian times.

Pamir Mountains
Roof of the World in Tajikistan

4. Water Disputes with Uzbekistan 

Tajikistan built the world's second highest dam, Nurek, in 1972 and the constructions of an even bigger dam, Roguna, were started in the Soviet era already. The development of hydropower in Tajikistan is a threat to Uzbekistan.

The cotton production in Uzbekistan is highly dependent on its water supply and this is the cause of the dispute. Uzbekistan feels that the dams built in Tajikistan might threaten Uzbekistan's access to water supplies.

Nurek Dam, 304m

5. Afghan Heroin 

One of the hardest problem in Tajikistan is the connection to the Afghan drug production. About 33% of the GDP consists of drug trafficking. The multi-billion dollar smuggling business of heroin from Afghanistan to Russia has brought wealth to the poor country. 

Drug route through Tajikistan


330 BC Tajik areas belonged to Persia until Alexander the Great destroyed and conquered it
0-200 The Persian Sassanid Empire ruled Tajikistan
700s The Arab conquerors spread Islam to the area
1200s The Mongols conquer Tajik areas
1300s Timur Lenk aka Tamerlane created the Timurid Dynasty
1500s The Khanate of Bukhara started ruling Tajikistani areas
1700s Afghan Pashtuns expands their Empire to the Tajik areas
1868 The Bukhara Empire became a Russian protectorate
1918 Tajikistani areas in the north are occupied the Russian bolsheviks and attached to the Turkestan Soviet republic and a few years later the southern areas are attached as well when the resistance in Bukhara was suppressed
1924 Tajikistan was an autonomic part of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic
1929 Tajikistan became a separate Soviet Republic
1930s The Basmachi movement awoke again as the population resisted collectivization of farms
1970s Anti Russian Islamic demonstrations in Dushanbe protesting the Soviet Union intervention in Afghanistan
1985 As the opposition was allowed to operate, Islamic parties started arising
1990 Muslim nationalistic demonstrations against the conservative government
1991 Tajikistan becomes independent and Rahmon Nabijev becomes the first president
1992 The five years lasting civil war begins caused by the clan disputes, Emomali Rahmonov rises into the leader of Tajikistan
1994 Rahmonov becomes the president of Tajikistan
1997 Peace Treaty in the civil war mediated by Russia and Iran
2003 Change in constitution to allow Rahmonov participate the next two following presidential elections
2006 Rahmonov won the presidential elections overwhelmingly


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