Falling in love with the people in Tajikistan

Nurek Lake, Tajikistan

Last summer a tragedy happened in Tajikistan, the landlocked republic north of Afghanistan and west of China. Four international visitors were run over by a car while they were cycling in what turned out to be a terrorist attack.

This was the first incident of independent Tajikistan since they split from the Soviet Union but, because this countries are usually disregarded in the West, suddenly the idea of it being a dangerous destination has spread through the media, to the despair of the welcoming local people.

Our friend Justas has recently been there, and wrote the following publication that proves that a few criminals cannot and should not change the feeling around a whole country.

Hitch-hiking Tajikistan is an adventure in itself! In the Southern province of Khatlon now, Afghan border is just nearby. It’s desert dry, blue skies, sunny and hot. People are amazingly friendly and welcoming.

Passed the spot where four western cyclists were attacked and killed a month ago. The locals are angry and sad about what happened. It’s terrorist infiltration and not a Tajik way, they say!

Everyone wants to talk, to drink tea, to help. Taxi guys take you for free. Even local police gives you rides or they find someone else going your way.

Southern Tajikistan is also the region where the beard growing ban is enforced the most. But people just smile and I just smile back.

Walked some small village along the way. Suddenly a little girl comes out chasing me with a big round hot bread in her hands, just out of the oven. Gives it to me, smiles and runs away again.

The Tajik day of Independence is on the 9th of September, so apparently even the president himself is on his way to Pamirs this weekend.

Love this country and its people.

Justas is a friend of World Wide Travellers and one of the greatest travellers we know.

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