“Once this shop was one of the most beautiful buildings in the city,” says Nematullo Mirsaidov as he gazes up at an old department store now dwarfed by new towers. He has been struck by how much Dushanbe has changed since he started visiting from the northern city of Khujand more than a decade ago, but sees change as a positive. “Dushanbe’s architecture has changed significantly,” he adds. “Its residents should be proud.” Dushanbe was a village of only a few thousand people when it was made capital in 1924 but it has grown rapidly since then and continues to do so at speed. The city’s territory is expected to triple in size and its population to grow from around 800,000 to more than 1.2 million by 2030 according to the new strategic urban development plan recently adopted by the Tajik authorities. The city is growing outwards and upwards. Once known as Stalinabad (or “city of Stalin”), Dushanbe’s Soviet-era buildings are being demolished and replaced by multistorey apartment blocks and skyscrapers. Parks are being renovated, roads expanded, and new supermarkets taking over from traditional bazaars. Just weeks ago the famous Shahmansur market, popularly known as the “green bazaar”, was closed… Read full this story
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