Visit Guide to Khatlon

A welcoming and varied province in the south of Tajikistan, Khatlon region borders the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region to the east, and Afghanistan to the south. Its administrative centre is the 7th century city of Bokhtar.

Tajikistan’s national carrier Somon Air offers flights to Dushanbe International Airport from Jeddah (JED), Istanbul (IST), Trabzon (TZX) and Dubai (DXB). Turkish Airlines flies to Dushanbe from Istanbul (IST). Flydubai offers year-round flights from Dubai (DXB). Azerbaijan International Airlines offers seasonal flights from Baku (GYD). Jazeera Airways also provides seasonal flights from Kuwait City (KWI).

Buses travel to Bokhtar from Dushanbe every day. The journey of approximately 100km takes around two hours.

The Khatlon region has a unique cultural and historical heritage, making it a popular destination for visitors to Tajikistan. Its location only a couple of hours’ drive from the Tajik capital Dushanbe makes it a good place to take short trips into the countryside, where there is a variety of attractive landscapes, and a plethora of Central Asian flora and fauna to observe.

Handcrafts are another of the Khatlon region’s calling cards. Inhabitants of Khatlon region have been engaged in crafts such as carving, jewelry, ceramics, embroidery and stone processing for centuries. This makes the villages of Khatlon an ideal place to learn about Tajikistan’s Silk Road past.

In the Middle Ages, the Khatlon region of modern-day Tajikistan was part of the Bukhara Khanate. A large number of maktabs (elementary schools) and madrasahs (higher educational institutions) functioned here. Between the 17th and 19th centuries the town of Kulob was known as a town of poets, a tradition that is evident to this day.

Khatlon is the most densely populated and largest region in Tajikistan, which has preserved much of its culture from its history as part of the empires of Bactria, the Greek-Bactrian Kingdom, the Kushan Kingdom and Tokharistan. There are thousands of monuments from these times dotted around the region, of which the most famous is the Khulbuk Fortress. The town of Kulob is one of Tajikistan’s oldest cities.

The main annual cultural event in Khatlon region is Nowruz, the celebration of Persian New Year each spring. Nowruz is observed in every village and household, but particularly in the larger towns of Bokhtar and Kulob.

Khatlon is considered the hottest place in Tajikistan. Summer in the plains is very hot and dry; the air temperature in some places can reach +50ºC.

The main economic activities in Khatlon region include livestock breeding and other forms of agriculture. In the mountainous areas cotton, grapes and vegetables are grown.