The culture of Tajik people goes back to antiquity. To date Tajiks have preserved the majority of traditions, customs which are still today integrated into the modern life style. If you are interested in history then Tajikistan has a lot to offer with its history dating back to the 1st century BC.
Perhaps the most interesting, from a sightseeing point of view is ancient Penjikent. Archeologists found residential and cult constructions, amazing monumental paintings, fine sculptures that date back to 7th and 8th centure AD. The architectural composition of this city according to scientists does not have an equal match among other cities of Asia.
Tajiks were known as artisans of ceramic craftsmanship. In the cities and in the valleys, men made ceramic dishes on a potter's wheel. In the mountainous areas the pottery wheels were not used – women molded jars by hand, building up rolls of ceramics one on top of each other. Until now some ancient types of craftsmanship have been preserved from one generation to another. Unique and colorful jars, cases, and decorated dishes are used as exhibits in the art salons of Dushanbe and are still the proof today of this ancient craftsmanship .
Entire neighborhoods of weavers, potters, coppersmiths, blacksmiths, carvers of tree and gancha (alabaster) existed in the cities. In some districts exclusive patterned paper and silk fabrics were produced. They were primarily woven by men and in upland villages women used to weave woolen and paper carpets on simple looms, while men made paper fabric or wool-weaving on primitive foot looms, which were used for making gowns and trousers. Tajiks carried through the century-old tradition unique decorative patterns of embroidery which are still popular today. Today’s masters decorate, as hundreds of years ago, skullcaps, women dresses and housewares sucha as wall embroidery – suzane, decorative covers – ruydjo and tablecloths – dastarkhan.
On the eve of the Arab invasion (at the beginning of the 7th century AD) the main religious groups were Zoroastrizm, Manichaeanism, Buddhism and Hinduism. However Islam slowly supplanted the other relgions. Many mosques were erected, among which the mausoleums of the 11th – 12th centuries perfectly preserved until today in Sayat, Mazare-Sharif, monuments of the Gissar valley and a mosque in Ura-Tyube from the 15th century.
It is said that the religion of the Tajiks defined their aspiration for understanding the world through science and literature. Arab invaders practically destroyed the original language of Tajiks – dari. Nevertheless it was in dari that the true masterpieces of Tajik classics were expressed: literature, songs and scientific books.
The period of prosperity of Tajik culture, development of science and literature fall during the Samanid dynasty’ reign. While the Samanid dynasty repulsed the influence of Bagdad and Damask in every possible way it cherished the realm of poets creating their works in Farsi. Favorable conditions were arranged in the court for development of science and culture. Talented personalities lived and worked in the court; an entire generation of great scientists, poets and state figures emerged. Among them was the founder of the classic Persian-Tajik literature Abu Abdullo Rudaki. Young Abdulla Ja’far ibn Muhammed or by other sources Abulkhasan enthusiastically studied, when in the evenings he sang songs. The delightful motifs and eloquence of the poet reached the Emir. Later, while living in the court Rudaki created his wonderful colorful odes- kasida, easy gazels and quatrain – rubai.
The prominent scientist and poet Abu-Ali ibn Sina (Avicenna, 980-1037) struggled against obscurantism, glorifying science and inquisitive mind. His ideas later were reflected in the work of the poet and philosopher Nosir-e Khusraw (1004-1088). In the poems like "Saodatnoma" ("Book of Happiness"), "Rushnoinoma" ("Book of Light") he glorified men’s labor, he advocated ideas about men’s merits and importance of science.
In the 13th century Saadi Shirazi created his famous life-works "Bustan" and "Gulistan". Another two centuries later Jami (1414-1492) defended the ideas of humanism in his seven poems “Haft Avrang” ("Seven Thrones") and in the collection of parables "Bahoriston" ("Spring garden").
Other great authors with a natural talent included Ahmad Donish, Abu-Rayhon Beruni, Al-Khorezmi, Imom Termezi, Farabi and Omar Khayam are added into the collection of the world scientists, mathematicians and writers. Many of them wrote their everlasting works in the period of Ismoili Somoni. In 1999 Tajiksitan grandly celebrated the 1100-anniversary of the Samanids state.
The modern cultural life of Tajikistan can not be imagined without the State Theatre of Opera and Ballet, the Tajik Drama Theatre, the Russian Drama Theatre, the Academy of Science, state universities, historical museums, and museums of visual arts. Nestled in the beautiful Gissar valley, the city of Dushanbe features monumental Soviet buildings and modern constructions. Diversify your trip by visiting the famous “Green Market” (market Shohmansur), CUM (trading centre), art gallery; drink refreshing tea in “Rohat” tea-house, walk by the green central boulevard, and enjoy resting at the Moscow square.