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Khujand

ABOUT KHUJAND SOGDIAN REGION

        Central Asia was also the field of battles, where Alexander the Great with his troops entered through the west and invaded almost the whole Central Asia. The last bulwark of Alexander the Great was Khujand. The age of the ancient town Khujand is 2500 years and in the times of Greeks  invasion it was called "Alexandria Eskhata".
         From the east there was the invasion of Chingizkhan. The troops of Tatar-Mongol hordes for a long time stayed at the gates of Khujand, and the ruler of the town XII cc., Timurmalik kept  the fortress of the town for a long. One can see the ruins of that fortress in our times as the symbol of heroism.Geographically Khujand is situated along the picturesque river  of Syr-Darya, on both it's banks and is called "The Gates of Ferghana valley".
Today Khujand is the developed scientific, cultural and economic   center of Northern Tajikistan. There preserved also some ancient monuments of history, religion and the culture. Khujand , as the second largest city in   Tajikistan and  the largest industrial and cultural centre  of  northern Tajikistan, is situated on the beautiful lands stretching  along  the Sir-Darya  river at the heightof more than  300  meter above sea  level.  Due to its climate and beneficial geographical position the Ferghana Valley where the city lies is called "the pearl of Central Asia". Its green mountainous countryside and clean air, the running waters of the Sir-Darya as well as the abundance of fruit and grapes and other gifts of nature make it an ever young-park -city.
 


 Khujand is home to one of ancient civilizations in central  Asia and beside Samarqand and Bukhara is one of  the major culture centers of Tajik people. As the golden entrance to Ferghana Valley, Khujand enjoyed prosperity 
and its riches spawned palaces, grand mosques and a citadel before the Mongols  steamrollered the city into oblivion in the early 13th century.  Having more than  2500  years old of civilization,  passing historical ups and downs, possessing a creative culture, Khujand has attained a very high status in Tajikistan's splendid history and  civilization.  Khujand is the second city in size in Tajikistan and one of the oldest cities of Asia. According to the legend, it’s was founded by Alexander Makedonsky more than 2500 years ago. Many scientists consider its founding at the

end of sixth century B.C.   Khujand is situated in the blossoming valley of the Sir-Darya river at a height of three hundred meters above sea level. Today Khujand is the largest industrial and cultural centre of Northern Tajikistan and the second by  meaning after capital Dushanbe with population of five hundred thousand.
       Truly blessed geographical location and climatic conditions of Khujand, that’s why Ferghana valley, where it
is situated is reputed as Pearl of Central Asia. Mountainous scenery, eternally steamy waters of the Sir-Darya river, clear air, it’s green dress, plenty of fruits and others gifts of nature makes it always young and blossoming garden city. Being located at the entry of Ferghana valley, between the spurs of Turkistan mountain range and the Mogoltau mountains, city during all of its centuries-old history was delighted with prosperity and wealth, being one of the main centers of Great Silk Way. That epoch remained to itself plentiful palaces, great mosques and city citadel, which was destroyed by Mongol, who occupied city in 13 century A.D. Since ancient times silkworm breeding mount to significant development.Khujand is a beautiful city with soften hot climate river. It’s beautiful parks makes it wonderful green place.Khujand is a very ancient city. Its previous name – Khujand held out before 1936 and according to the written sources existed still in the seventh century. The city existed during Ahamenids’ dynasty, before Alexander Makedonsky’s coming to the banks of Sir-Darya river. Alexander Makedonsky and his forces occupied the city, fortified it and named it in honor of their commander – Alexandria Eskhata.

 Since ancient times being situated on the crossroads of famous trade way, Khujand was one of the major economic, military and cultural centers of Central Asia. The great silk road was passed through Khujand city, which linked ancient Greece, Rome, Asia Minor and Egypt with such countries as: China, Persia and India. Silk produce, jewelry, made by masters from Khujand were famous even far more than the Orient.
 Khujand today – is the largest industrial and cultural centre of the north Tajikistan. Khujand is rather picturesque Central Asian city, where ancient and modern live in harmony – in architecture, in customs, in people’s clothes. The
ancient city was spared in several places, which are guarded by population and our State. This is, first of all,
ruins of citadel on the left bank of the Sir-Darya river - architecture-artistic monument, which was built in the
Middle Ages and was used as fortification right up to the beginning of XX century. Citadel took stand in 64 thousand
square meters and was rounded by cob walls with high-throughput towers. Extant walls’ ruins are dated generallyby XVIII-XIX centuries.
  As a result of 30-years archaeological works were founded cultural stratum of more ancient city fortification to the extent ruins of the walls of IV century B.C., raised by Alexander Makedonsky’s forces. Foundlings in archeological dig are items of different historical epochs, weapon and recovery of ancient building materials are exhibited in present time in historical museum of local lore.  To the south-east from citadel, one other interesting region of ancient Khujand is hold out – Panjshanbe  (word for word “Thursday”- the day of lively trade). Here, today, as in ancient times, the main bazaar of Khujand city is continued to function. In this part of ancient Khujand were situated plenty of handicraft estates, whose population was depend on the bazaar completely. Exactly here gradually arised typical for Oriental market-places public buildings: caravanserais, teahouses, bath-houses, mosques.   The ancient market-place is called  “The crossroad of braves”. It is hold out thanks to partly spared surroundings (architectural ensemble of Muslihiddin mausoleum of XVI century) and by energies of architects and painters, who raised new complex market in traditional Oriental style.  Modern Khujand as Tajikistan lives by saturated social cultural life. Khujand city continues to equip with modern services and utilities, grow prettier and go up quickly, confidently step in new stage of its development.

Name: Khujand
ProvinceSOGDIAN
Population: c. 500,000Language:
Persian (Tajik)

Area code: 3422 and 3455
Transportation: Daily flights from   Dushanbe     and   Moscow  and  by coaches from Penjikent. More
Post: DHL Worldwide, 4th Floor, 122 Firdausi Street
Tel: 40617. More about
Accomodation:

*Hotel “Khujand”
*Hotel “Tavhid”
*Hotel “Vahdat”
*Hotel “Ehson”
*Hotel “SINO”
*Hotel Leninabad, at the south bank of the river, near the bridge. Tel: 6-6927
*Hotel Khujand Chkalovsk. Tel: 6-4990
Tour operator:"Pamir travel"
Address: Shark street, Khujand
tel/fax: (+992 3422)4-30-20;
mob: (+99292)771-9321; 757-9321;

E-mail: sadoullo@mail.ru
E-mail: pamir-travel@list.ru
E-mail: sayoh@mail.ru
http//: www.travel-pamir.com
Map: Road map

 The  Old Town



Old Town:
   Today Khujand remains a rather picturesque Central Asian town bearing characteristic features of both ancient and modern times styles of architecture,

in everyday routine of urban life, in people's customs and dress. The old town was spared by time in some places.
    They are, first of all, the remains of the citadel on the left bank of the Sir-Darya river an architectural and artistic monument  which was built in early

Middle Ages and used as a fortification work up to the beginning of the XX century .The citadel surrounded by clay walls with thick towers occupied

the area of 64 thousand square meters. The remains of the walls date back to the XVIII-XIX centuries.
   The 30-year long archaeological excavations resulted in finding cultural layers of early urban fortifications dating back to the remains of the walls erected

by the troops of Alexander the Great in the IV century B. C. The excavated household utensils of different epochs, armaments and samples of ancient

building materials are being exhibited now in the halls of Museum of Regional Studies.
   
Southeast of the citadel at a fairly large distance from it there is one more section of the old town, which is of interest -" Panjshanbe Bazaar"

(meaning "Thursday  market-a busy market day"). Like many centuries ago the main city market continues its functioning here nowadays.

Once a lot of quarters of craftsmen entirely depending on the market were concentrated in this part of old Khujand. It is here that public buildings

such as caravanserais, teahouses, bathhouses and mosques typical of Eastern market squares appeared gradually.

   The old market square named "Chorahai Mardon" ("Courageous Crossroads") survived mainly due to the partly preserved surroundings

(the Muslihiddin Mausoleum architectural assemblage ) and to the efforts of artists and architects who have erected a new Market Complex in

the traditional Eastern style.

   Next to the Mausoleum there stands a XX century mosque with a 20-column hall and painted ceiling and although a twenty one meter high

minaret of the XIX century. Local masters Mirzorahmat and Usto Mallabek took part in its construction.

*Remains of city citadel from 10th century surrounded in a pleasant park. You find it at the south bank of the river, 200 meters western the bridge, along the river.
* The mosque , medresse and mausoleum of Sheikh Muslihiddin in the Old Town are worth seeing.
*Khujand historical museum.  

*Khujand   botanical garden 
Established in 1985. With area of  6,6 ha , this garden is arranged within the limits of  city. Botanic collections consist of more 300 species of plants.

*The Tajik traditional Tea houses with beautiful ceiling paintings.

*Theater house
*Promenade on the bank of the river in tow n
*Finishing in the Syr Darya river is a pleasant local hobby.



HISTORY:

    Sogdian’s, a people of Iranian language (the Tajiks) ranging among  the most  important peoples of pre-Islamic Central Asia between 1,000  and  500 BC.

The ethnic and territorial name "Soghd/Soghdian" occurs  in historical sources as early as in Iranian  Achaemenid times (6th century B.C.). 
    Soghdiana, a distinct region that intermittently existed as a combination of separate oasis states and sometimes was subject to other states.

Two important cities in what is now northern Tajikistan, Khujand (formerly Leninabad) and Penjikent, as well as Bukhoro (Bukhara) and Samarqand

(Samarkand) in contemporary Uzbekistan, were Sogdian in antiquity .
    In their heartland, the Zerafshan valley, they founded several city-states, as well as colonies along  the ancient  Silk  Routes from Eastern Europe (Crimea)

 to the Chinese border and Mongolia.  

    Alexander the Great took this area in the 4th century BC. The Arabs conquered Sogdiana in the early 600s. Under Muslim rule, especially  with Samanid support,

Sogdiana  grew to encompass Maymurgh, Kabadian,  Kushaniyya, Bukhara, Kish, Nasaf, Samarqand, and Penjikent, each a virtual kingdom.
   The Tajiks came into prominence as a people under  the rule of the Samanids (875-999) who undermined and, to a great degree centralized the government.

    They also revived the ancient urban centers as Bukhara, Samarqand,  Merv, Nishapur, Herat, Balkh, Khujand, Penjikent,  and Holbuk which, in turn,

elevated the socio-political, economic and, necessarily, cultural dynamics of the new and progressive Samanid state.

From the early days of  its establishment situated at a crossroads of old trade routs of the East Khujand turned to be one of the most important economic,

strategic and cultural centers in Central Asia. The so-called "Great silk rout" went via it connected ancient Greece, Rome, Asia Minor and Egypt with China,

    Persia and India. Goods of silk and jeweler manufactured by Khujand craftsmen were well- known far beyond the countries of the East. And today the old

names of different  city quarters reflect the importance of the once so much popular crafts: Pillakashon (silk-weavers), Zargaron (jewelers), Sangburron

(stone-masons), etc.
    An unknown medieval author called Khujand "the  dwelling  of the astronomical science stars" was born here.
In later years Khujand appeared to become the centre of different historical events. Ruined by the Arabs in the eighth century it strongly resisted the

Mongol hordes five centuries later having thus provisionally stemmed  their advance to the West.

   In the year of 1866 Central Asia was occupied by Russia. In 1929, after establishing of soviet system in Central Asia, the Tajiks got their Autonomous SSR

(ASSR). Although only a satellite of the Uzbek SSR. In 1929 this was upgraded to a full union republic, although (perhaps in reprisal for the basmachi revolt)

Samarqand and Bukhara, two Tajik culture centers, where the population are Tajiks, remained in Uzbekistan. As recently as 1989 the government of Tajikistan

was still trying to persuade the Soviet leadership to return these areas.
   The Bolsheviks never fully trusted this troublesome republic and during the 1930s almost all Tajiks in positions of influence within the government were

 replaced by stooges from Moscow. Read more

*Swimming in the Kairakkum Lake, some few kilometers eastward from Khujand.

*Ruins of ancient Penjikent , (some 1.5 km    from the modern town of Penjikent) a major Sogdian  town   arose in the 5th century A.D. More about
*Penjikent - Khujand route is a fantastic scenic route   through the high mountains, climbing in  places to over  3500 meters.
* Samarqand (Samarkand) is the major cultural and industrial  center of Tajik  people (now in Uzbekistan) . A majestic and beautiful city, Samarkand is the city of  legends . The city is situated in the blossoming  Zerafshan Valley. Samarkand is part of a region that historically was known as  Sogdiana, and whose ethnically Iranian  (Tajik) merchants for centuries seem to have played a key role in the commerce along the Silk Road. More about. For alpine climbing, high level walking tours and Lakeland scenery the Fann Mountains in the North West of the country, just a couple of hours from both Penjikent and Dushanbe. This is a favorite place for trekking and climbing.More about.Run from Samarkand to Kokand through Penjikent, Varz (Ainy), Bundjikat (Shakhristan), Istaravshan(former Ura-Tube, Khujand, Kanibadam and Isfara.

 ISFARA
The first inhabitants were Iranian-speaking nomads – the Saks, who lived here in the first millennium BCE. There are still a lot of burial and ground mounds, and hill forts, built in the seventh to fourth centuries BCE.
• The mosque – madrasah of Abdullakhan (1583 – 1598) built on the orders of Sheibanid Abdullakhan II.
South of Isfara, in the village of Chorcku.
 A shrine to Hazrati Shoh (tenth to eleventh centuries)
• A shrine at Langar Mohyan, to a very famous thirteenth-century theologian, Imam Umar Abdulaziz.

 KANIBADAM
• Mirajab – Dodkho Madrasah (sixteenth to seventeenth centuries)
• The Kayrokum storage reservoir.

 KHUJAND
During the Akhamenid period, 2500 years ago Alexander the Great pitched a military camp in the eastern fore post of the Persian Empire and called this place Alexandria Eskhata (Far Alexandria). On his orders, the city was fortified with strengthened walls in 329 BCE. (Arian)


   


The Arab-speaking geographers of tenth to twelfth centuries called Khujand ‘tirozi Jahan’ (‘the bride of the world’). Khujand was behind only Bukhoro and Samarqand in terms of the number of its medresse and was home to about 300 outstanding scholars, poets and musicians.

• The Sheikh Muslehidin architectural complex (eleventh to twelfth centuries).
The part of the building that remains intact was built in 1394 on the orders of Timur - the disciple of sheikh Muslehidin and it was rebuilt in the sixteenth century.
There is also an ecumenical mosque next to it. A twenty-one meter minaret was built in a corner of it in 1895.
                
ISTARVSHAN (former URA TYUBE)
• A temple of fire at Ak-Tepa (fourth to seventh century BCE)
• The town of Nur-Tepa;
Ura Tube is one of the most ancient cities in Central Asia. It was founded more than 2500 years ago. It has been identified with Kiropol. The Persian King Kir was killed by its walls.
• The mosque – Kuk-Gumbaz - medresse
• The Bobo-Tago Mausoleum;
The city was renowned for its master craftsmen, artists, Suzani embroiderers, master cutlers and Karnai musical instruments.
Shakhristan – capital of ancient Ustravshan. The Shakhristan pass (3372m) with wooded slopes.
        
The town of AInY
Varz Minor (tenth century), 3.5m. high
• The village of Dar-Dar – terraces painted on the columns of the mosque (nineteenth century)
• A castle on Mount Much, 3 km. from the village of Khairabad. The first Sogdian documents were found here in 1933.

  PENJIKENT
• The mausoleum of Muhammad Bashoro (eleventh century), 20 km from the city
• Upper Zeravshan – a source of high-quality examples of carved wood of the ninth to eleventh century
• Ancient Penjikent, the homeland of the ruler Devashtich (executed in the eighth century)
• In 1995 a relief showing the Indian gods of Shiva and Parvati on a bull was found.

SARAZM 
Neolithic and Bronze Age settlement (fourth to second century BCE)
Sarazm located between Samarkand and Penjikent near Tajik/Uzbek border “Jartepo/Sarazm”.

 Fandarya – Yagnob
• The Sarvodafortress
• Coal fires (which have been burning for a thousand years)
 • Lake Iskanderkul

• Yagnobians speaking the Sogdian dialect
The Sogdian’s brought ideas and traditions from one culture to another. Researchers have described them as ‘cultural bees’. They adopted Buddhism and spread its teaching throughout the Silk Road, including China. The Central Asian merchants and missionaries spread not only Buddhism, but also ideas about the construction and decoration of temples and the depiction of Buddha’s and bodhisattvas to China. Later, the Sogdian’s converted to Manicheans and Nestorian Christianity and became representatives of these faiths through their line of merchant communities across the Asian area. They knew many languages; many of them were translators. It was the Sogdian’s who brought the technology of paper production from China to Europe. During the Islamic period, Samarkand was famous for the quality of its paper. The Sogdian’s were outstanding traders. The trade advanced pluralism in this regionThe rise of Islam is attributed to the success of Muslims in dominating the trade networks around the Indian Ocean basin. Islamic law became dominant and favorable concessions and taxation were extended to Muslim traders in areas under Muslim control. In this way Islam started to spread into the East.
The penetration of Islam promoted the Abbasid revolution in 640 in Baghdad and the genesis of a new identity: the Iranian element became predominant in Islam. Persian and then the Turkic languages became the means of extension of the new culture.
The role of shrines, temples, mausoleums and sacred places in the development of Islamic culture has been great. Usually pilgrimages to these places were organized by women and children received religious education from thei.
Chinese sources mention that there were dancers, singers and musicians in the retinue of the embassies of the ‘Western countries’ (Sogd and Bactria). During these journeys a great transformation of Chinese music as Central Asian musical instruments were introduced into China.
In 718, the Sogdian’s sent some chain mail to China as a gift, and it was eventually adopted by the Chinese army.


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