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Introduction

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Tajikistan (/tɑːˈkɪstɑːn/ (About this soundlisten), /tə-, tæ-/; Tajik: Тоҷикистон [tɔdʒikisˈtɔn]), officially the Republic of Tajikistan (Tajik: Ҷумҳурии Тоҷикистон, Jumhurii Tojikiston), is a mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia with an area of 143,100 km2 (55,300 sq mi) and an estimated population of 9,275,828 people. It is bordered by Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east. The traditional homelands of the Tajik people include present-day Tajikistan as well as parts of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

The territory that now constitutes Tajikistan was previously home to several ancient cultures, including the city of Sarazm of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, and was later home to kingdoms ruled by people of different faiths and cultures, including the Oxus civilisation, Andronovo culture, Buddhism, Nestorian Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism and Islam. The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Achaemenid Empire, Sasanian Empire, Hephthalite Empire, Samanid Empire, Mongol Empire, Timurid dynasty, the Khanate of Bukhara, the Russian Empire, and subsequently the Soviet Union. Within the Soviet Union, the country's modern borders were drawn when it was part of Uzbekistan as an autonomous republic before becoming a full-fledged Soviet republic in 1929.

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Tajik dastarkhan meal.jpg
Pictured left: A Tajik meal: the centerpiece is plov, garnished with strips of mutton fat.

Tajik cuisine, the traditional cuisine of Tajikistan, has much in common with Russian Iranian, Afghan and Uzbek cuisines. Plov ([палав, palav] error: {{lang-xx}}: text has italic markup (help), Uzbek: palov), also called osh (Tajik: ош), is the national dish in Tajikistan, as in other countries in the region. Green tea is the national drink. Traditional Tajik meals start with a spread of dried fruit, nuts, halwa, and other sweets arrayed on the table in small dishes, and then progress to soup and meat, before finishing with plov.

Meals are usually served with non (Tajik: нон), flatbread found throughout Central Asia. Legend holds that one is not supposed to put non upside down because this will bring bad luck. Traditional Tajik soups include mainly meat and vegetable soups (such as shurbo and piti) and meat soups with noodles (such as laghmon and ugro). In the summer, Tajikistan is abundant in produce and fruit: its grapes and melons were famous throughout the former Soviet Union. The bazaars also sell pomegranates, apricots, plums, peaches, apples, pears, figs and persimmons. Tea generally accompanies every meal and is frequently offered between meals as a gesture of hospitality to guests and visitors.

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Tolib Shakhidi

Tolib-khon Shakhidi (Толиб-хон Шахиди) or Tolib Shahidi (Tajik: Толиб Шаҳидӣ/Persian: طالب شهیدی‎) is a Tajik and Soviet composer who was born on 13 March 1946 in the city of Dushanbe, Tajik SSR. He is a son of the founder of Professional Tajik Academic Music - Ziyodullo Shakhidi.

Tolib-khon Shakhidi began his musical career at the age of fourteen. He graduated from the Musical College in Dushanbe in 1965 from the Composition Class of Uri Ter-Osipov. In the same year, he entered the Moscow Tchaikovsky State Conservatory. During his student years in Moscow, he strove to be at the centre of musical activities. Conductors such as Mikhail Terion and Maxim Shostakovich performed his orchestral and instrumental compositions.

In 1972 Tolib Shakhidi graduated from the Moscow Conservatory from the class of Aram Khachaturian. 'Tolib, your time is precious,' wrote the famous master on Shakhidi's graduation photograph – and since then, this has become the composer's fundamental belief both in life and in his creative work.

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