Country Listing

Tajikistan Table of Contents


Cultural Institutions

By the mid-1980s, more than 1,600 libraries were operating in Tajikistan. Of particular importance is the Firdavsi State Library, which houses a significant collection of Oriental manuscripts. In 1990 Tajikistan had twenty-seven museums, the fewest of any Soviet republic. Among the most notable are the Behzed Museum of History, Regional Studies, and Art, and the Ethnographic Museum of the Academy of Sciences, both in Dushanbe. There are also significant museums of history and regional studies in several of the republic's other cities. The republic had fourteen theaters in 1990. Only the three Baltic republics, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan--all with smaller populations--had fewer. The republic's film studio, since 1958 called Tadzhikfil'm, opened in Dushanbe in 1930. By the mid-1980s, it was producing seven or eight feature films and thirty documentaries per year for cinemas and television.

The Soviet era saw the introduction of opera and ballet to Tajikistan, as well as the organization of Tajik-style song and dance troupes. Dushanbe's opera and ballet theater was the first large public building in the city; its construction began in 1939. Dushanbe also has theaters devoted to Tajik and Russian drama, as well as a drama school. There are theaters for music, musical comedy, and drama in several other Tajik cities as well.

Films are shown in theaters in Tajikistan's cities and in villages on an irregular basis. In the last decade of Soviet rule and in the early 1990s, video and audio cassettes became increasingly popular sources of entertainment, as well as a means of disseminating information outside government control. The political turmoil and economic problems of Tajikistan in the 1990s took a severe toll on the country's cultural life and on the elite that fostered it.

Data as of March 1996