REPUBLIC OF TAJIKISTAN

Capital - Dushanbe
Location - the South-east of Central Asia
Territorу - 143.1 thsd. square kilometers
Population – 8 mln. persons - as of 1.09.2012
Currency - somoni, introduced in October, 2000

State borders - Length: 700 kilometers from west to east, 350 kilometers from north to south. In the west and north, Tajikistan has borders with Uzbekistan (910 kilometers) and Kyrgyzstan (630 kilometers); in the south - with Afghanistan (1030 kilometers and in the east - with China (430 kilometers). 
Climate - continental. January from +220C (Panj) to -610C (Lake Bulunkul), July from -80C (Lake Bulunkul) to +450C (Panj).

The geography of the Republic of Tajikistan is mountainous with heights above sea level varying between 300 and 7495 meters. Mountains belonging to the highest ranges of Central Asia make up 93% of the total area of the country. There is the Farghona valley in the north, while in the northwest and the central parts there are the Turkmenian, Zarafshon, Hisor and Oloy mountain ranges. The southeast boasts the impressive Pomir range (its highest mountain, the Somoni's Peak, with an altitude of 7495 meters, is one of the highest summits of the world); while the southwest has the Vakhsh, Hisor and other valleys.

History

Modern Tajiks regard the Samanid Empire as the first Tajik state. This monument in Dushanbe honors Amir Ismail Samani.

The territory of what is now Tajikistan has been inhabited continuously since 4000 B.C. It has been under the rule of various empires throughout history, for the longest period being part of the Persian Empire. It was originally called Neb for a short period of time, before being given the name Tajikistan.

After the Persian Empire was defeated by Alexander the Great, the region became the northern part of Hellenistic Greco-Bactrian Kingdom.

From the last quarter of 4th century BCE until the first quarter of the 2nd century BCE, it was part of the Bactrian Empire, from whom it was passed on to Scythian Tukharas and hence became part of Tukharistan. Contact with the Chinese Han Dynasty was made in the 2nd century BCE, when envoys were sent to the area of Bactria to explore regions west of China. Arabs brought Islam in the 7th century CE. The Samanid Empire supplanted the Arabs and enlarged the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara, which became the cultural centers of Tajiks (both of which are now in Uzbekistan). The Mongols would later take partial control of Central Asia, and later the land that today comprises Tajikistan became a part of the Emirate of Bukhara. A small community of Jews, displaced from the Middle East after the Babylonian captivity, migrated to the region and settled there after 600 BCE, though the majority of the recent Jewish population did not migrate to Tajikistan until the 20th century.

In the 19th century, the Russian Empire began to spread into Central Asia during the Great Game. Between 1864 and 1885 it gradually took control of the entire territory of Russian Turkestan from today's border with Kazakhstan in the north to the Caspian Sea in the west and the border with Afghanistan in the south. Tajikistan was eventually carved out of this territory, which historically had a large Tajik population. After the overthrow of Imperial Russia in 1917, guerrillas throughout Central Asia, known as basmachi, waged a war against Bolshevik armies in a futile attempt to maintain independence.

Another important period in the history of the Tajik nation began when it became a full, constituent republic within the USSR. In this period the Tajik Socialist Soviet Republic finally emerged into the map of the world. By the early 1930's, Tajikistan was on the way to becoming a modern republic with a growing industrial basis in the north and a burgeoning agricultural enterprise in the south.

Independence

After dissolution of USSR, Tajikistan declared its sovereignty in August 1990 and proclaimed its independence on September 9, 1991. The nation almost immediately fell into a civil war that involved various factions fighting one another; these factions were often distinguished by clan loyalties. The estimated dead numbered over 120,000. Around 1.2 million people were refugees inside and outside of the country.

Emomalii Rahmon came to power in 1992.

In 1997 there was signed Peace Agreement between the Government and United Tajik Opposition that was implemented till 2000. After this period Tajikistan entered the path towards developed democracy, free market economy and prosperity.


President

The President of the Republic of Tajikistan is the head of the state and the Chairman of the Government (the highest executive body in the country). He is also a Commander-in Chief of the all Armed Forces. The President is elected for a term of seven years by the citizens of Tajikistan on the basis of direct voting rights by secret ballot and can be reelected only once. Current President of the Republic of Tajikistan is Emomali Rahmonov. Mr. Rahmonov is a recipient of a numerous honors including 2000 World Peace Corps academy Gold Medal Award.

Executive body of the Republic of Tajikistan

The Government of the country consists of the President - the head of the Government, the Prime Minister, the First Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, ministers and various committees and agencies. Current Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan is Okil Okilov.

Tajik Parliament - Majlisi Oli

(Supreme Assembly)

Majlisi Oli consists of the upper chamber - Majlisi Milli (National Assembly) and the lower chamber - Majlisi Namoyandagon (Assembly of Representatives).

Deputies of Majlisi Namoyandagon and members of Majlisi Milli are elected for five-year terms.

Majlisi Namoyandagonconsists of 63 seats . Deputies are elected by popular vote inmixed parallel system consisting of two-rounds majoritarian and list proportional system.

Majlisi Milli has 34 seats and its members are indirectly elected. 25 of them are elected by local deputies and 8 are appointed by the President. One seat is reserved for the former President of Tajikistan (according to legislation every former President of Tajikistan can become a member of Majlisi Milli).

Judicial branch

The legal system of Tajikistan is based on the civil law system and the judicial power is exercised by the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Higher Economic Court, military courts, municipal and regional courts as well as regional economic courts.

The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body and conducts supervision over civil, criminal, and administrative cases. The Supreme Court is a court of first instance, second instance, and supervision.

The responsibility of the Constitutional Court is to protect the Constitution and the rights and freedoms of citizens.

The Supreme Court has the authority to refer a case to the Constitutional Court to confirm the constitutionality of a law.

Political Parties

Currently eight registered Political Parties are functioning in Tajikistan.

They are People-Democratic Party, Communist Party, Islamic Revival Party, Social-Democratic Party, Democratic Party, Socialist Party, Party of Economic Reform and Agrarian Party.

However, only three Political Parties - People-Democratic Party, Communist Party, and Islamic Revival Party are represented in the Parliament today.

People-Democratic Party of Tajikistan has the majority in current Parliament.

Being in the path towards development and prosperity Tajikistan possesses a range of particularities in its politics. For instance, Tajikistan is the only country in Central Asia where establishment of political party based on religious ideology is permitted by the Constitution.

Administrative divisions

Tajikistan consists of 4 administrative divisions. These are the provinces (viloyat) of Sughd and Khatlon, the autonomous province of Gorno-Badakhshan (abbreviated as GBAO), and the Region of Republican Subordination (NTJ – Ноҳияҳои тобеи ҷумҳурӣ in Tajik). Each region is divided into several districts, (TajikНоҳияnohiya or raion), which in turn are subdivided into jamoats (village-level self-governing units) and then villages (qyshloqs). As of 2006, there were 58 districts and 367 jamoats in Tajikistan


Transport

In the period of independence economic infrastructure, including transport, one of the major determining factors in economic enhancement continued to develop in the Republic of Tajikistan, along with improved living standards and reducing poverty in the country. The development of the transport sector will contribute to the support of both domestic and foreign trade, which is one of the main tasks of economic relations, entrepreneurship and international transit. In turn, the main task of the leadership and the government since the early years of independence was the transformation of Tajikistan to a transit country in the concept of the Silk Road Project. "Strategy of Tajikistan's overcoming the communication impasse" was contained in annual address of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan to the Majlisi Oli - the Parliament of the republic in 2010. The strategy includes two main areas:
The first - the creation of an integrated transport network in the country and its connection with international transport roads. Second - accession of the Republic of Tajikistan to the international conventions and agreements on transport relationships. Analyses show that an increase in public investment by loans under the program of development of transport communications (average annual growth from 2005 to 2011 is 14,5%) is the growth of direct investment from the budget taking into account the growth in gross domestic product. The strategy of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan is the transport deadlock construction and rehabilitation of some road sections, for example, highway Kulob-Khorog - Kulma - Karokurum (Shohon-Zigar and Shkev-Zigar), Dushanbe - Kurgan-Tube - Kulob and opening of new tunnels Ozodi and Istiklol, road Dushanbe - Chanoқ, Vahdat - Chirgatol - Saritosh (the border of Kyrgyzstan) and the completion of the tunnel Shahriston. It should be noted that the railroad Kurgan-Tube - Kulob, a number of international highways, tunnels and bridges have been internationally commissioned, and therefore Tajikistan has become one of the corridors of regional importance, linked with neighboring countries in four directions. Only in the last ten years, beginning from 2000, with the assistance of foreign loans and grants have been completed or are nearing completion of more than 20 small and large projects. In the end, delivered or prepared to surrender more than 1,580 km of highway, which has national significance, 20 bridges with total length of 7,704 meters and 21 km. of avalanche-resistant tunnels and roads. For these projects through loans and grants investments totaling $ 947 million have been directed and to date 11 properties amounting 757 million USD preparing to surrender.

Tourism

Geographically, Tajikistan is generally subdivided into five natural and geographic zones: Northern Tajikistan, Southwestern Tajikistan, Central Tajikistan, the Western Pamirs, and the Eastern Pamirs. These zones differ from each other in climatic conditions, relief, geological structure, vegetation, animal world, and anthropogenic load. The climate of Tajikistan is continental, characterized by considerable seasonal and daily fluctuations of temperature, humidity and other meteorological elements. The annual average sunshine varies from 2,000 to 3,160 hours. The Pamir Mountainsconsidered the hub of Asia, known locally as Bomi Dunyo (the Roof of the World), are the range from which several of Asia's highest mountain ranges radiate, including the Karakorum and Himalayas to the south, the Hindu Kush to the west and the Tien Shen to the north, straddling the border of neighbouring Kyrgyzstan and China. Described as the Roof of the World, these mountains form one of the most unexplored regions on earth, which have attracted climbers and hunters from the former Soviet Union for years. Here, in a network of high, wide valleys amid mountain peaks in excess of 23,000ft, is prime hiking territory, populated by wildlife including Marco Polo sheep, rare snow leopards, wild boar, ibex and brown bears, amid deep valleys, swift-running streams and unspoilt mountain meadows.
The Fan Mountains
are famous for their fantastic lakes and peaks and are perfect for trekking, horse trekking or rock climbing. Little known and rarely visited, these mountains form part of the Pamir Range tucked away in northwest Tajikistan. This beautiful wilderness renowned for its high summer pasture is a haven for the amateur botanist and ornithologist and offers spectacular vistas of flower-strewn meadows, turquoise lakes and Snowmelt Rivers with a backdrop of 5000m peaks. Like many remote areas in Central Asia with a tradition of warm hospitality, your journey here will likely be punctuated with pressing invitations from local nomads and herders.
The Muzkol Range
- these mountains are considered totally unclimbed with a number of 4.000m and 5.000 m unnamed peaks of varying difficulty. Climbing should be adventurous without being extreme, and there will be opportunity to enjoy some
trekking in stark but beautiful surroundings. There is also the possibility of encountering wildlife such as Marco Polo sheep, wild camels and snow leopards.
Lake Sarez, in the heart of the Pamirs, was formed in 1911 when the side of a mountain was dislodged by an earthquake and fell into the path of a mountain river.
Iskandarkul Lake
 -Established in 1969. Area 30.0 thousand ha. Elevations range from 2,000 to 3,500 m. The following animals are represented here: loach, muddier, green toad, water snake, Himalayan rock agama, geckos, Central Asian viper, Levantine viper, wood pigeon, blue hill pigeon, rock pigeon, and other. The lake is known as the lake of Alexander Macedon) with alpine meadows, forests, crystal clear water of the lake and rivers, pure mountainous. On a hiking tour tourists will have to spend nights in a tent camp or cottages, which are available at Iskandarkul Lake.

Kara-Kul Lake- in the north of the Pamirs, formed by a meteor 10 million years ago, is 3915m above sea level and hence too high for any aquatic life.
Tajik National Park
-is the largest nature protection area in Central Asia, with a wide spectrum of mountain and high-mountain ecosystems. Established in 2002, the park contains 2.6 mills. ha and includes numerous species of flora and fauna, including Marco Polo mountain sheep and ibex and snow leopard. It also contains a number of glaciers, encompasses rather big mid-mountain and high-mountain territories, which conclude 14 types of ecosystems and numerous natural monuments as well.

"Beshai palangon" Nature Reserve -spectacular woodlands inhabited by Bukhoro Deer, pheasant, hyena, riparian and foxes. Established in 1938. The nature reserve (49, 9 thousand ha) is located on the south of Tajikistan.Prevailing landscape is flat delta terrace of Vakhsh River 7 km wide. It includes 10 lakes and bogs with predominance of tugai forests as well as deserted and foothill ecosystems of southern Tajikistan and agro-ecosystems.

Romit Reserve -established in 1959, 16,2 thousand ha. It is situated on the southern slopes of Hisor mountain ridge, within the Romit gorge. Split rocky landscape with an elevation from 1200 to 3200 meters above sea level characterizes its territory. Forested area is less 3 thousand ha. Flora of reservation includes few rare and endangered species of plants while fauna is very diverse.
Dashtijum Reserve -
established in 1983, area - 19,7 thousand ha, situated on southern slopes of Khazratishoh mountain ridge. An original rocky landscape with an elevation from 850 to 2400 meters above sea level characterizes its territory. Forested area is about 3 thousand ha. Flora includes few rare and endangered species: Fissidens karataviensis, Ostrowskia magnifica, Iris darwasica, etc. The largest population of Tajik Markhur Capra falconry inhabits here. Other fauna includes: Himalayan rock agama Stelio himalayanus, geckos and snake-eyed skinks Ablepharus, among many others.

Sari-hоsor Nature Park -established in 1959, since 1979 the area has been extended to 196 thousand ha. Since, in view of development of the South-Tajik territorial cattle-breeding complex the Sari-hosor protected area exists only conditionally. Average elevation 1400 - 4000 meters above sea level. Primary goal of protected area - conservation of mid-mountain and high-mountain ecosystems, especially broad-leaved forests.

Zorkul. Established in 2002. Area 80 thousand ha. Elevations range from 4,100 to 4,200 m. Primary goal of the protected area is conservation of habitats of rare and endangered species of birds such as bar-headed mountain goose Anser indicus, brown-headed gull Larus brunnicephalus, Himalayan snow cock Tetraogallus himalayensis, Tibetan snow cock Tetraogallus tibetanus. Besides, few rare and endangered mammals are protected: argali Ovis ammon polii, snow leopard Uncia, etc.

Shirkent Natural-Historical Park -Established in 1991, area - 31, 9 thousand ha. Average elevation 800 - 4500 meters above sea level. Geological basis of its territory consists of Paleozoic sedimentary-metamorphic and igneous rocks as well as Carbon granitites and other rocks. On the territory of the park more than 30 regular watercourses have been registered and 8 types of ecosystems have been identified. Shirkent Park is characterized by the series of 40 unique historical-geological monuments, including geomorphologic, lithologic, paleontology, tectonic, hydrologic, glacial and historical monuments. Most important objects are the three different age places of dinosaur's footprints, totally more than 400 footprints. The monuments of human history include more 50 archaeological objects and some monuments of ethnography with unique natural-recreational resources. The park provides conditions for organizing tourism-related activities among which mountaineering tours.

Peak Somoni and Mount Garmoare to the northwest and west respectively of Lake Kara-Kul. At well over 7000m these two peaks tower over Tajikistan and the neighbouring Republic of Kyrgyzstan to the north. Helicopter flights are available for those who wish to climb.

Yashil-Kul,or Green Lake (3734m). From the end-of-the-world Tajik settlement of Bulunkul it's a short drive or one-hour walk to Yashil-Kul. It's a turquoise lake framed by ochre desert, a couple of sandy beaches and warm springs on the southern side. A dam is being built at the west end of the lake. Trekking routes to Sarez Lake start nearby.