Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, is situated 'in the centre of the Hissar valley more than 800m above sea level. Until 1961 it was called Stalina-bad. From the north and east it is surrounded by the foothills of the snowy Hissar range with peaks reaching 4,000m and higher, and from the south it borders the Kofarnihon River.
Situated in the largest agricultural oasis of the country, Dushanbe occupies the area along both banks of the Varzob River (called the Dushanbinka within the city), taking its waters from the snowfields and glaciers of the Hissar range, which are a part of the giant Pamir-Alai mountain system.
In the Upper Varzob river-basin there are around 120 glaciers of various sizes, which create a favourable microclimate in the mountainous valley near Dushanbe. Due to the proximity of the mountains, residents of the capital do not suffer so much from heat in the hottest season of the year because there is usually a gentle breeze. The Varzob River generously provides drinking water, irrigation for adjacent gardens and fields, and electricity for city residents. Varzob Valley is also a popular place for recreation in both summer and winter.
The city is very green with many trees including fruit trees, sycamores, maples, chestnuts as well as mulberry-trees, oaks, and walnuts besides vines and flower gardens.
Precipitation occurs mainly in the winter and spring and is highest in March and April. Snow does not usually settle and, if it does, it generally melts within a few days. In summer the area has a continental-tropical climate, with a predominance of hot and dry weather.
Autumn is considered by most to be the best season of the year since there is warm, dry weather and a rich harvest of fruit, vegetables, cotton, and other crops.
Present-day Dushanbe is a young capital, being only 80 years old. It cannot be compared in age, history, or monuments to ancient cities like Bukhara and Samar-qand. However, the real age of Dushanbe is a subject of scientific dispute due to the numerous finds of archaeologists, ethnographers, and historians made recently in present-day Dushanbe. These include a wedge-shaped copper axe dated 2nd millennium B.C., an elegant and splendidly-made gold and silver alloy earring, a bronze-gilded part of a harness in the middle of which there is the embossment of the head of the Greek god Dionysus, and a treasure of Sasanid silver coins, all of which provide evidence that this area was already populated and that a high-level of culture, craft, and town-planning existed here almost 2,500 years ago.