Dushanbe is the capital of Tajikistan.
For Westerners there are only a few ways to fly into Dushanbe. It is possible to transit Moscow - Domodedovo Airport, which has daily flights to Dushanbe, without a visa if you have no checked luggage, otherwise a transit visa is required (flight is on Domodedovo Airlines). There is also twice a week a flight from Istanbul - Atatürk on Turkish Airlines.
Very few streets in Dushanbe have names, so it's important to know landmarks and how to navigate with them. Every cab driver knows the airport, Somoni statue and opera-ballet, but beyond that, it's a toss-up. It's essential to know "straight ahead," "to the left" and "to the right" in Russian or Tajik.
- Massive Statue of Somoni (who the curency is named for) on Prospekt Aiani. Apparently the crown is 10 kilograms of tajik gold. Beware the police at the bottom who may ask for money.
- Victory Park Hike to the top for a seasonal tiki-themed beer garden offering views of the city. The truly brave can take the rickety gondola. Turn left off of Rudaki at the TSUM and pass the beer factory.
- Fort Hissar Barter with a taxi to drive you 10km out of town to this rebuilt 13th century fort and madrassa. It was destroyed by Soviet troops in their hunt for Enver Pasha. Entrance fees are 1 to 3 somoni.
You can visit the Museum of Antiquities on the main square. It's quite old fashioned, and include a number of exhibits that detail the country's history.
- Delhi Darbar The most well-known of three local Indian restaurants, this one serves up excellent butter chicken and spinach. Offers private "family rooms." On Rudaki near the Pedagogical Institute.
- Merve Happening, casual Turkish cafeteria is always packed with students and young locals. Have several choices in mind, as they never, ever have everything on the menu, no matter how basic. Also serves an authentic Turkish breakfast. On Rudaki next to Orima supermarket.
- Salsa Without question, the only Ecuadorian restaurant for hundreds of miles. It's a reasonable imitation of Latin cuisine and popular with Europeans. Just off the north end of Rudaki, near Starry Night (Svesdaya Noch) billiards.
- Tfilis One of two Georgian restaurants. Some of the best meat dishes in the city, and a substantial wine list. Behind the opera-ballet, across the park.
- Georgia Cafe The other Georgian restaurant located about a block north of the Opera Square on Rudaki Avenue. It has simple and tasty dishes, good cheap house wine and a nice friendly atmosphere. Be sure to either book or come early, because the seats go fast.
- La Grande Dame The only French Restaurant in town that serves good steaks and other food for a bit of a hefty price. Popular with consultants with hefty per diems, the place offers a good taste of the west for those missing their homes.
- Irish Pub Brand-new, well, Irish pub serves Guiness in a can and sort-of Irish charm. Go to the Gurminj museum, head south to the corner and turn left.