Special Sub-Topic: What's the Plan, Stan? Tajikistan, That Is
|The flag of Tajikistan has three colors; red, green, and white. White represents many things. Now think carefully; which of these is not represented by the white stripe on Tajikistan's flag?|
Islam. The white stripe on the Tajikistan flag is 50% larger than both the green and red stripes. The red represents the nation's unity, and is also a symbol of the sun and victory. The green stripe represents Tajikistan's Islamic background as well as the nation's generosity. Finally, the larger white bar in the middle represents purity, cotton, snow, and the unity of the people.
|Smack dab in the middle of Tajikistan's flag is a crown surrounded by seven stars. The stars have what symbolic meaning?|
Seven represents perfection. There is a Tajik legend about heaven. It states that heaven is comprised of seven beautiful orchids. The orchids are separated by seven mountains, and each mountain has a radiant star on top. As the Islamic religion states that seven is the "perfect" number in many instances, seven "perfect" stars were chosen to place on the flag, to symbolize the perfect Islamic heaven.
|Tajikistan is a mostly mountainous country. There are two main mountain ranges in Tajikistan. The southern, and possibly more well known, mountains are the Pamir Mountains. But which of these mountain ranges is located in the northern and central parts of Tajikistan?|
Alay Mountains. The Alay Mountains are an extension of the Tien Shan mountain range, which also dips slightly into Tajikistan. Both the Pamir Mountains and the Alay Mountains of Tajikistan are part of what is known as the Pamir-Alay Mountain system.
|Located high in the Pamir mountains is Tajikistan's largest lake. The Lake is called Qaraqul, but it is known by which other colorful name?|
Black Lake. Qaraqul (more commonly called Karakul or Black Lake) is Tajikistan's largest lake, and is only 32 miles in diameter. The lake lies in an impact crater created millions of years ago. The lake has no outlet; no flow of water goes anywhere. Water loss is only through evaporation.
|The country of Tajikistan is divided into four administrative divisions, called provinces. Which of the provinces contains the country's capital, Dushanbe?|
Raiony Respublikanskogo Podchineniya. Dushanbe, the country's capital, is found within the Region of Republican Subordination, which is known as RRP. This is the abbreviation for the Russian name of the province: Raiony Respublikanskogo Podchineniya. The other three regions are Sughd, Khatlon, and Gorno-Badakhshan (abbreviated as GBAO).
These provinces are further divided into 58 districts and 367 jamoats. The jamoats are further divided into qyshloqs (villages).
|Tajikistan's highest peak is named after one of the great leaders of the empire that once ruled over the land. By what name is the peak known?|
Ismoil Somoni Peak. Ismoil Somoni (or Ismail Samani) ruled over the Samanid Dynasty from 892 to his death in 907. The Ismoil Somoni Peak, the highest in Tajikistan, stands at 24,590 feet (7,495 meters). Samani is an important figure in Tajikistan; there is also a large statue of him in Dushanbe.
|Tajikistan is a poor country, and is the only country in the world where a certain disease is on the increase. In fact, in 2009, zero cases were confirmed, and in 2010, 458 confirmed cases were diagnosed in Tajikistan. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was known for having this disease. Which is it?|
Polio. Most people in Tajikistan, since the country is so poor, do not have access to proper health care. Therefore, some diseases such as polio are actually on the rise. While polio is getting closer and closer to eradication (only two diseases, smallpox and rinderpest, had been eradicated by 2011), it still increased significantly in Tajikistan in 2010.
There were 976 cases of polio worldwide in 2010.
|I must admit, I was a bit surprised when I saw that one of Dushanbe's sister cities is in my home state of Colorado!
Which of these is a sister city of Dushanbe, Tajikistan?|
Boulder. Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, is Tajik for "Monday". More specifically, it means "second day after Saturday" (du means "two" and shanbe means "Saturday"). It is located on the confluence of the Varzob and Kofarnihon Rivers. The entire city of Dushanbe is sprinkled with monuments and statues depicting its Persian history.
Boulder, Colorado is the 11th largest city in Colorado. It is the home of Colorado's largest university, the University of Colorado. The city is also known for hosting one of the largest road races in the world, known as the Bolder Boulder, held every year on Memorial Day since 1979. The race has over 50,000 racers jog, run, or propel wheelchairs 10 kilometers to the finish line.
Other sister cities of Dushanbe include Minsk and Tehran.
|Islam is the predominant religion in Tajikistan, but which form of Islam is the most widely practiced?|
Sunni. Islam is by far the most prevalent religion practiced in Tajikistan. In fact, it is practiced by roughly 98% of the population. 95% of the population practices Sunni Islam, and only 3% practice Shia Islam. The remaining 2% of the religious population is scattered across many other minority religions, including Catholicism and Buddhism.
|Tajikistan is an extremely poor country; however, the literacy rate is estimated to be a very high 99.5%. What is the reason why so much of the population of Tajikistan is able to read and write?|
They have a system of free education. Tajikistan has a population of well over seven million, and most of the population are very poor. However, they maintain an old Soviet system of free education. This allows even the poorest of children to be able to learn the basics; reading and writing. However, girls do not usually complete their primary education due to being below the poverty line, and also because there is a strong gender bias in the country. However, they learn enough to be considered literate; therefore, Tajikistan has an extremely high literacy rate. In fact, in 2011, on a list of countries with the highest literacy rate, Tajikistan ranked 12th!
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