Situated at the confluence of two rivers, Varzob (ورزاب) and Kofarniho, Dushanbe is the capital of Tajikistan. Although archaeological remnants dating to the 5th century BCE have been discovered in the area, there is little to suggest that Dushanbe was more than a small village until the early 20th century. In 1920, the last Emir of Bukhara briefly took refuge in Dushanbe (then called Dyushambe) after being overthrown by the Bolshevik revolution. He fled to Afghanistan after the Red Army conquered the area the next year.

Dushanbe, meaning “Monday” (دوشنبه) in Persian, was developed on the site of a Monday marketplace village, Dyushambe-Bozor (دوشنبه بازار). Its former name Dyushambe was a Russified version of the word. Following the Red Army victory in Central Asia the village was upgraded to town in 1925 and made the capital of the newly created Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Tajik ASSR). After the transformation of Tajik ASSR to Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic (Tajik SSR) in 1929, Dyushambe was renamed Stalinabad. As part of Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization initiative, the city was renamed Dushanbe in 1961.

The Soviets transformed the area into a centre for cotton and silk production, and relocated tens of thousands of people to the city from around the Soviet Union. The population also increased with thousands of ethnic Tajiks migrating to Tajikistan following the transfer of Bukhara and Samarkand to the Uzbek SSR. A peaceful and relatively prosperous city under Soviet rule, Dushanbe was home to a university and the Tajik Academy of Sciences.

The city was badly damaged as a result of the Civil War in Tajikistan (1992-1997) that sprang up in the nation shortly after its independence. However resurgences in the Tajik economy have transformed Dushanbe into a rapidly growing commercial, cultural and industrial centre. Many multi-story apartment and office buildings were constructed and the city was beautified during this period. Monuments and statues commemorating the city’s Perso-Aryan past were erected.