Country: Republic of Tajikistan
Population: 7,211,884 (July 2008 est.)
Ethnic groups: Tajik 79.9%, Uzbek 15.3%, Russian 1.1%, Kyrgyz 1.1%, other 2.6% (2000 census)
Language: Tajik, Russian
Area: 143,100 sq km
Major religion: Islam
Main exports: Aluminum, electricity, cotton, fruits, vegetable oil, textiles
International dialing code: +992
Tajikistan is a patchwork of self-contained valleys and regional contrasts forged together by Soviet nation-building and shared pride in a Persian cultural heritage that is claimed as the oldest and most influential in the Silk Road region
The Tajiks come from an ancient stock – the inhabitants of the Pamir Mountains claim to be the only pure descendants of the Aryan tribes who invaded India over 4,000 years ago. Tajikistan’s inaccessibility has protected it from most invaders, although Alexander the Great founded a city on the site of modern-day Khojand, calling it Alexandria Eskate (Alexandria the Furthest).
93% of Tajikistan’s is covered by mountains. Its mountainous terrain is suited to the adventurous trekker, while the ancient Silk Road routes, incorporating some of the country’s most stunning landscapes, offer a glimpse into a more prosperous era.
Tajikistan was established as a sovereign state in 1991, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Tajikistan is bordered by Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to the north, Afghanistan to the south and China to the east.