Animals and Plants
What is growing in Tajikistan?
Tajikistan is covered by mountains and there is relatively little rain. The mountains are often bare and above the tree line only bushes and grasses grow anyway. Maple, walnut, almond and pistachio trees also grow at low altitudes between 600 and 3000 meters.
The Tugai is typical of river valleys and floodplains. This is the name given to a certain landscape on floodplain in Central Asia. Gallery forests, reeds or bushes grow there. The Euphrates poplar is often found here. Olive willows and tamarisks also grow here. The transition to the dry steppe or semi-desert is often very sharp. Juniper trees are also found in the steppe. There are also many endemic plants.
Which animals live in Tajikistan?
Since Tajikistan is largely covered by mountains, animals from the mountains in particular live here. In the dry areas it is mainly rodents such as the yellow ground squill and reptiles such as snakes and lizards that feel at home there. Mammals come in 84 species. However, half of these are on the list of threatened species. They include the snow leopard and the Marco Polo sheep. Other mammals are gazelles, wild boars, ibexes, bukhara deer, reed cats and brown bears. With around 360 species, birds are far more common than mammals.
Tajikistan is grappling with major environmental problems. Some of the causes still lie in the Soviet era. Back then, large amounts of fertilizer were used, which now pollute the soil. It is too salty and also burdened by the use of weed killers or insecticides.
The cultivation of cotton required artificial irrigation, but this drained water elsewhere and led to dehydration there.
Industry is also a major burden on nature, especially the aluminum factories that blow toxins into the air.
Aluminum from Tajikistan
Tajikistan has many natural resources, but many of them are difficult to extract. The main export good is aluminum. The raw material for this, the bauxite, has to be imported because there is no bauxite in Tajikistan. The Soviet Union chose Tajikistan as the location for the factory in 1975 because electricity could be generated here from hydropower. Since then, the largest aluminum factory in Central Asia and one of the largest in the world has been located in Tursunsoda in the west of the country. The sale of aluminum brings the country more than half of all export income and a fifth for all economic output.
Cotton from Tajikistan
Agriculture can only be practiced on 7 percent of the land area in Tajikistan. Yet 43 out of 100 people work in agriculture. After all, it also generates 28 percent of the total economic output. Nevertheless, the country has to buy (import) more than half of the food it needs from other countries.
Cotton is grown for export. It makes up the largest share in the fields. In addition, wheat, rice, grapes, grapefruit, apricots, cabbage and other vegetables and fruits are grown. Cattle are also kept, especially cattle, sheep and goats.
A poor country
Tajikistan is the poorest of the Central Asian countries. Bad infrastructure, corruption, drug trafficking, the inland location and the inaccessible and inhospitable mountain landscape are reasons for this. The civil war between 1992 and 1997 also left traces that are only slowly being removed. Around a third of the population lives in poverty. Many Tajiks work abroad, especially in Russia, because of the lack of jobs in the country. They send money home to support their relatives there.
Tajikistan has a lot in common with the other Central Asian countries. For example, people in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan like to eat plov and flatbread. Most of all, tea is drunk, not only at home, but also in teahouses. You shop in the bazaar.
However, Tajikistan differs from these countries in that it is a Persian-speaking country. On the other hand, there are similarities with Afghanistan or Iran, although it is not a neighboring country. What is typical of Tajikistan?
Nouruz is the spring or New Year festival in the Persian cultural area. It is celebrated on March 20th or 21st every year. Day and night last the same length on this day. Certain dishes are traditionally prepared at Nouruz. You clean the house, visit your relatives and play field games. According to an old custom, you jump over or dance around a fire.
Buzkaschi is an equestrian game. It is played in Afghanistan, but also in Tajikistan and other countries in Central Asia. A dead goat has to be picked up at a gallop by a rider and placed at a specific destination. The other riders try to prevent the rider with the goat from reaching the finish.
Sleep and eat on the Taptschan
Traditionally, houses in Tajikistan are made of adobe bricks and have a flat roof. There is only access to the house via a single gate. It is surrounded by a wall and built around an inner courtyard. A wooden platform serves as a place to sleep and eat in summer. For more information about Tajikistan and Asia, please visit commit4fitness.
This platform is called Taptschan. To sleep you put mats on them, to eat the tablecloth called Dastarchan. Taptschane can also be found in public places, for example in front of restaurants or at excursion destinations.
Living in Tajikistan
Traditionally built houses can still be found in Tajikistan today. More modern apartment buildings and larger blocks or skyscrapers can also be found, especially in cities. However, their condition is often deplorable. There is no money for necessary repairs and renovations. Not only does the plaster flake off.
Shopping in Tajikistan – in the bazaar
The Tajiks prefer to shop at the market. It’s called a bazaar here and is located in a market hall. Bazaars usually have a tall gate as an entrance. Fruit, vegetables, herbs and meat are sold fresh here. But there are also supermarkets in the cities. Payment is made with the somoni. It is divided into 100 dirams.
Out and about in Tajikistan
Even if it looks like the donkey is the most important means of transport – of course there are also cars and trains in Tajikistan. However, roads and rails were mainly built and laid out during the times of the Soviet Union. With the end of the period began to decline. The donkey is often the safer choice, especially in the rugged mountains.