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First steps into Central Asia
February 2010

tajikistan Flag Dushanbe: National Museum of Antiquities - Official buildings Flag tajikistan

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Building of Tajikistans Ministry of culture in Dushanbe

The highlight of Dushanbe is probably the Museum of National Antiquities.

Genarally, I don't take pictures in museums, I prefer to buy a postcard or a book. But this time I took a couple of pics (without flash of course!) and here they are.

The Museum of National Antiquities of Tajikistan is located on a big and beautiful building off Rudaki Boulevard. Guess what? Yes, I was the only guest visiting the museum at that time!

Ayni Opera and Ballet Theatre - Dushanbe

After paying a small entrance fee (around 2€, probably a foreigners rate), a girl followed me to lit and shut down the light of the rooms.
She was not a guide, but she was very friendly and she spoke some English so I could ask her about the exhibits.

Most captions are only in Tajik, but there are also a few descriptions in English.
I can read the Cyrillic Alphabet (tough, any don’t speak any language written this way) so I had no trouble in reading the town, the civilization and the Century to which the exhibited pieces belong.

Lahuti Drama Theatre in Dushanbe

There are some amazing treasures housed inside this museum.

There are Bactrian relics, a partial reconstruction of the Temple of Ox, Neolithic wares (including a skeleton found on a grave, which doesn’t rest in peace anymore), Greek artefacts from Alexander The Great, ancient Islamic objects ...

Well, it’s a region full of history and this museum can drive you crazy.

Museum of National Antiquities of Tajikistan in Dushanbe I wondered, Tajikistan (as well as most a great part of Central Asia) is a mountainous land, and even in ancient times it wasn’t easy to reach.
Nevertheless, this territory has been disputed, invaded, conquered and envied by some of the greatest powers in history.

Still today Tajikistan remains a remote country, but it’s amazing how many stories it can tell.
decapitated Shiva and Parvati at the Museum of National Antiquities of Tajikistan in Dushanbe

The two pieces that I preferred at Dushanbe’s Museum of Antiquities were the two that reminded me that I was in Asia (As I told you, Dushanbe looks more like an developing European city than an Asian capital).

There is a mighty statue of Indian god Shiva with his wife Parvati found in Penjakent.
Unfortunately it was decapitated by muslim conquerors, as you cannot represent faces (idols) in their faith.

Ajina-Teppa Buddha at the Museum of National Antiquities of Tajikistan

The other masterpiece displayed at the museum can be considered a survivor.
It was found in Ajina-Teppa, one of the most important ancient Buddhist centres of Central Asia.

The Ajina-Teppa laying Buddha in Nirvana is currently the largest Buddha statue in all of central Asia, since the bloody talibans destroyed the Bamiyan sculptures in Afghanistan.

To be honest I felt great when entering this room, and I greeted Buddha as if I had just entered a Buddhist Temple.


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