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There are lots of things to do around the town of Shahrituz
© AlexelA / Shutterstock

Town of Shahrituz

A charming town near Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve, Shahrituz has plenty of sights to explore.

For many travellers, the town of Shahrituz will be a convenient base to explore Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve. About three hours' drive south of Dushanbe, it has some of the closest accommodation and visitor facilities to the park.

Shahrituz can be more than just a stopover, though, with enough things to see to justify exploring for a day or two. Amongst the wide tree-lined streets in the centre of town are a number of historical buildings, statues, and parks where you can get a sense of local Tajik life and taste some of the regional food.

On the outskirts of Shahrituz, visit the Mausoleum of Khoja Mashkhad, an intricately built heritage site that was once part of a 10th century madrassah. On the way there, you'll pass by the remains of the Chodscha Sarbos Mausoleum, which is from a similar era but has not been as well preserved.

The intricate brick work inside Mausoleum of Khoja Mashkhad – © AlexelA / Shutterstock
The intricate brick work inside Mausoleum of Khoja Mashkhad – © AlexelA / Shutterstock

About 10 kilometres southwest of the town, Utapur Fort was built in the 17th century and you can still see some of its thick brick walls on top of a hill as you approach. Walking through the site, there's remarkable detail on the interior walls with carved decorations. Another similar historical sight in the region is Fortress Kalai Mir, north of Shahrituz in the town of Qabodiyon. The shape of some of the towers and walls are still visible, giving a general sense of how the fortification expanded over the centuries until it was finally destroyed in the 1920s.

If you're visiting Shahrituz during the warmer months, you may also want to make a stop at Chiluchor Chashma, a natural oasis where there are clear and cool swimming pools. It's a popular recreational spot for locals but is also a pilgrimage destination, as it's said to hold healing powers.