Tajikistan, officially the Republic of Tajikistan is a mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia with an estimated population of 8 million people and an area of 143,100 km2 . Tajikistan is the smallest nation in Central Asia by area. It is covered by mountains of the Pamir range, and more than fifty percent of the country is over 3,000 meters above sea level. The only major areas of lower land are in the north (part of the Fergana Valley), and in the southern Kofarnihon and Vakhsh river valleys, which form the Amu Darya. Dushanbe is located on the southern slopes above the Kofarnihon valley.
The territory that now constitutes Tajikistan was previously home to several ancient cultures, including the city of Sarazm of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, and was later home to kingdoms ruled by people of different faiths and cultures, including the Oxus civilization, Andronovo culture, Buddhism, Nestorian Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism and Islam. The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Achaemenid Empire, Sasanian Empire, Hephthalite Empire, Samanid Empire, Mongol Empire, Timurid dynasty, the Russian Empire, and subsequently the Soviet Union, upon whose dissolution in 1991 Tajikistan became an independent nation. A civil war was fought almost immediately after independence, lasting from 1992 to 1997. Since the end of the war, newly established political stability and foreign aid have allowed the country’s economy to grow.
The tourism industry in Tajikistan is continuing to develop, primarily in the Pamir and Fann mountain regions, which attract sightseers, climbers, and hikers. Local agencies provide all-inclusive driving tours along the Pamir Highway, Wakhan Valley, and the Zarafshan Valley, hiking expeditions in the Fann Mountains and Pamir region (with guides, porters, and mules), climbing, skiing, hang gliding, paragliding, and whitewater rafting. About 2% of the country’s area is covered by lakes.