I'm in Khujand in northern Tajikistan today. Arrived at 04.40 this morning. 160 passengers competing for 4 immigration desks. The local concept of queuing involves full body contact: you push up against the guy in front of you until he moves. The crowd parts when women or children arrive and they are allowed passage to the front of the queue.
Khujand is one of Central Asia's oldest cities and celebrated its 2500th birthday in 1986. The Russian Empire took over in 1866 and the Soviets assumed control in 1918. They renamed the city 'Leninabad' in 1935. The Tajiks reverted promptly to Khujand when the USSR collapsed in the early 1990s. There was a huge aluminium statue of Lenin in the city when I first visited in 2002. I'm told it's been relocated to a spot along the river. The theatre (in blip) was renamed too, to Kamol Khujandi Theatre, in honour of one of the city's most famous sons, the Tajik poet who lived in the 14th century. Tajikistan's become a lot more Tajuk.
- Huawei WAS-LX2