Tossing Watermelons in Tajikistan

By Celia Topping

Back in 2011, documentary travel photographer Celia Topping passed by Tajikistan on her way to Afghanistan. We don't know if it was some magic melon juice she imbibed or what, but she came back raving about the place:

Fancy a watermelon? Visit Dushanbe's market in Tajikistan in late July, and you won’t be able to move for melons. Melons, melons, melons: as far as the eye can see. The Tajiks don’t seem to mind though, they relish tossing melons from truck to pile, pile to stall, then stall to truck in a never-ending cycle of melon lobbing.

Melons are not the only commodity in Tajikistan. Since the end of the brutal civil war less than 20 years ago, this former Soviet state has finally begun to enjoy a moderate revival, with cotton and aluminum being key exports. Oh, and if you drive along the Pamir Highway, you get to experience what must be one of the greatest road trips in Asia, in absolute safety. Have fun!