The Tajik SSR flag was the only SSR flag to display the pan-Iranian colours of red, white and green, an uncharacteristically sensitive acknowledgement by the USSR to Tajikistan’s Persian culture and heritage, which separates them from the Turkic peoples that make up the ethnic majorities of all the other Central Asian countries. At the time of Independence, Tajikistan decided to keep the colours, forming a tri-colour flag. Because of the tri-colour and the gold symbol in the centre, the flag has ended up looking very similar to that of Iran, and within the context of Central Asian flags, is actually not overly distinctive or unique. That’s compared to flags with eagles, carpets and yurts on them though remember – in context of most flags, it’s still pretty interesting!
The symbol in the centre is a gold crown beneath a semi-circle of gold stars. The name “Tajik” has likely been derived from the Persian word “taj” meaning crown, and in the world of Tajik traditional legends the number seven is particularly significant. According to legend, there are seven mountains in the heavens, each one below a gold star, along with seven orchards, and the number seven apparently represents purity and happiness.
Possibly more interesting than the flag itself though, Dushanbe’s flagpole has caught our interest. We love a good Biggest Something in Central Asia, and what’s better than a Biggest Flagpole? Until May 2011 Azerbaijan had the title of having the world’s tallest flagpole, but after two years of design and construction, Tajikistan took the title. Costing $3.5 million, the pole itself is 165 m tall, and flies a flag that weighs 700 kg! Located in front of the Palace of Nations in the centre of the capital city, and unlike most of the other Biggest Flags it’s actually a cool place to visit. It’s next to a little man-made lake inside a beautifully manicured park and there are rides, games, food and drink stands, and especially in summer, loads of locals hanging out having fun. Today it is the world’s second tallest flag pole.
Sadly in 2014, Saudi Arabia nabbed the title by building a 175 m tall flagpole in Jeddah, so now we have to settle with having the world’s second tallest flagpole. Having been to both though, although it’s not quite as big, somehow the one in Dushanbe is actually more impressive. Maybe because it’s in a nice park and you can enjoy being at the bottom of it, rather than being in the middle of a roundabout, quite out of the way of the centre of town.
Incidentally, at 133 m, Ashgabat still comes in with number five, behind North Korea in fourth place.