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The history of the Tajik nation
 (from the Unesco information)

is rooted deeply in the millenniums. Though not all ancient monuments are revealed and studied, but the revealed ones give clear picture of the ancient settlements, history, way of life, national traditions of the people, residing on the territory of contemporary Tajikistan.

At present there are more than 4000 archaeological and 300 architectural monuments on the territory of contemporary Tajikistan. The archaeological monuments have been studied for more than 50 years by the expeditions of the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography named after Donish, at Academy of Sciences. Penjikent and Hissar Historical and cultural conservations were set up in 1979 on the basis of the archaeological and architectural monuments in the Republic of Tajikistan in order to expand the promotion of research achievements and restoration of the historical and cultural monuments. These conservations are the cultural and educational centers. The discovered cultural heritage of Tajik people is preserved in the storehouses of the National museum of History named after K. Bekhzod and in the National museum of Antiquity of Tajikistan. They are the centers of the cultural heritage of the Republic of Tajikistan.

On these pages you can read the brightest period of history of Tajik people. VII-VIII AD is the period of flourishing of town-planning, art, painting, architecture, and spiritual culture of the early medieval period. IX-XV AD is the period of renaissance of architecture, construction of monumental buildings, mosques, mausoleums, which became the model of the Moslem architecture in the following historical periods.

Brief geographical information

The Republic of Tajikistan is situated in the south- eastern part of Central Asia between 36°40 and 41 °05 of the northern latitude, and 67 °31 and 75 °14 of the eastern longitude. Its area is 143,1 thousand square kilometres. The country stretches for 700 km from west to east and 380 km from north to south. It is covered mainly by mountains, they constitute 93% of its territory. Deserts and semi-deserts of the Turan plain in the west gradually turn into hills and foothills. The ranges of Zarafshan, Turkestan, Hissar and Kuramin mountains on 3000 altitude above the sea are in the west and north of the country. In the north-eastern part some peaks of the Tien Shan and the Pamirs Central Asia mountains are up to 7000 m high. They are covered by ever lasting snow and ice in the arctic cold, the mountainous slopes are cut by the numerous gorges and canyons, with mountain rivers rushing down the slopes. Diverse landscapes are viewed in the plains of valleys of the rivers Amu-Daria, Syr-Daria, Zarafshan, Kafirnihon and the Vakhsh.

Tajikistan is famous for the diverse climate, which is changing by the altitude: subtropics (Vakhsh valley) in desert plains, steppe foothills, valleys of northern and southern Tajikistan, and almost arctic climate in Pamir highland. In general, the climate of Tajikistan is dry, severe continental with short winters and hot summers.

The territory of the Republic is divided into 4 large administrative and territorial regions: two oblasts - Sughd and Khatlon, one Gorno- Badakhshan Autonomous Republic (GBAO) and Regions of Republic Subordination.

Brief historical information

Tajik land is rich in historical, archaeological, art and architectural monuments. The history of the Tajik nation is closely linked with the history of other Central Asian people, deepening by its roots into millenniums. The numerous hills scatted along the river valleys, and ancient caravan routes are the remains of the ancient towns, which had been the capitals, cultural and handicraft centres of the countries, formed on the territory of the contemporary Tajikistan.

Today the scholars are inclined to think, that Tajikistan land was inhabited by homo-sapiens 800 thousand years BC. This is evidenced by the stone tools from the open mines in Karatau in Yavan region and Khonako, Lahuti, Kuldara in Hovaling region. The life here went on in the epoch of palaeolithic. The middle palaeolithic monuments Jarkutan, Huji, Ogzichikik and late Palaeolithic sites of Shugnou, Tutkavul, Kangurtut in Dangara and Sovetskiy regions prove this. Many monuments from the epoch of mesolithic and neoliths are studied. The most famous are Shahta in the Eastern Pamir, Ogzi Kichik in Dangara, and Teppai Gozien in Hissar region. The settlement Kayrokum in desert on the right bank of Syrgarya, and Sarazm in Zerafshan valley are vivid evidence of the Bronze age. Sarazm is considered the most northern agrarian settlement of urban type in Central Asia in the age of neoliths and early bronze (IV-III BC). The development of the crop-cultivation in Bronze age is seen in such monuments of southern Tajikistan, as settlement Kangurt, Teguzak and Nurek burial ground. The existence of cattle breeding tribes is testified by the burial grounds of Vakhsh and Beshkent civilisations.

The tribal society collapsed in the early Tron age, the end of the II and beginning of I millennium. Inequality by assets was growing, and this gave rise to the slave- owning states. The most ancient slave- owning state in Central Asia is Bactria and Sughd that existed in VII-VI centuries BC. It stretched on the vast territory, including the contemporary southern Tajikistan and Surhandarya region of Uzbekistan. At that time new state Sughd was forming in Zerafshan and Kashkadarya valleys. The monuments of that epoch, located on the territory of contemporary Tajikistan are ancient settlements Kalai Mir in Kabadian, Nurteppa in Havatag, Mugteppa in Ura-Tyube, settlement Makoni Mor in Farkar region, Baytudasht towns and settlements in Paynj region. They evidence at the initial towns and town planning with the complex planning, design and the system of defensive erections.

In VI-IV BC Bactria and Sughd were included into the Achamenid Empire, as the separate district of Sotrapia. Achamenid Empire was a slave-owning, military aristocratic state. Bactrians and Sughds impacted the economic and cultural life of Achamenids. The Hellenistic culture was spread in the southern parts of Central Asia after the defeat of Achamenid Empire and Alexander the Great's invasion to Central Asia in 330-325. The Greek-Bactrian state was founded on the ruins of Alexander's Empire and Selevrid's Empire. It exercised its power not only in Sughd, Morgean, but also in north- western India. The monuments of that period are well known in the territory of Tajikistan. This is the temple Tahti Sangin, lower stratum of Kalai Mir, Saxan Okur, Ak Mazar, Tamosho Teppa, Dushanbe town, Khojand fortress, Hissar fortress and others.

In Kushan reign (I DC-IV AC) political and economic links were expanded. The urban life was of high standard in Bactria and Sughd. The towns were administrative and political centres of separate Central Asian regions. Along with old towns, new fortified towns, settlements and estates were built. V-VIII centuries were the period of slave-owned state and formation of feudal relations in Central Asia. Central power was loosened and decentralisation strengthened. By the manuscripts data, the territory of contemporary Tajikistan was called Taharisatn. It covered the territory on both banks of Amu-darya. The southern territory of contemporary Tajikistan was divided into 8 historical cultural regions, which had natural borders. They are Havaraman, Shuman (Hissar), Aharun, Kabadian, Vakhsh, Hutal, Kumet, Vashgird.

The most particular among monuments of early medieval period in Pedjikent are the ancient settlement in Zerafshan valley in Soghd, ancient settlement Kah-Kah and Urta-kurgan in Shahristan region. They were model of the palace town planning art of that time.

The V-VIII centuries present the acme of pre-Islamic urban planning development, art of painting, architecture, morale culture of northern Toharistan and Sughd.

IX-XII centuries are the period of formation of Tajik nation, with the foundation of the first Tajik state of Samanids. The language and cultural identity was formed at that period. The governing principles of feudal state were developed, economics has grown, foreign trade, science and culture were flourishing.

At the end of X and beginning of XI centuries this land was conquered by Gaznovids and later by Karahanids. During the Mongols invasion the flourishing towns were ruined. In the rule of Timur and Timurids the former beauty and cultural centres of Maveranarh towns were renovated.

The Arabic invasion suspended the development of the certain branches of culture, eliminated many features of painting. With the change of Zoroastrianism and Buddhism for Islam, architecture is also changed. Thus, new traits to architecture and painting development were introduced. They impacted the traditions of construction of cult architectural assemblies, carving, not only in Tajikistan, but also in Central Asia as a whole.

The above-mentioned brief facts prove the ancient roots of the formation of Tajik nation, with its peculiar culture, which absorbed culture and art of the surrounding civilizations. Alongside, it became the source of cultural development of other nations.


Archaeological monuments of VII-XVcenturies.

In Maverannarh and Horasan in the epoch of Samanids, the new type of feudal towns were formed. The structure of the towns is changed, in addition to citadel and shahristan; the towns had rabats as trade and handicrafts centres. This epoch is characterised by the sharp increase in domestic and palace monumental buildings. There are new keshki, palaces of rulers, houses of landlords, merchants, priests, as well as governmental officials. The special is tradition to build memorial and cult erections. The mosques, medreses, mausoleums, khanaka were being constructed. The market squares, with the sheltered rows - "tima" served as town centres. New mahallas - blocks are build, specialising in separate crafts, as weavers, smiths, potters, etc. These parts of the towns were most densely populated. In the literary texts of IX-XIV centuries many regions, capitals, and settlements are described. The ancient capitals, famous in VI-VIII centuries were: Penjikent - the last citadel of the Sogdians who fought under the leadership of Devashtitch for their freedom and independence against Arabic invaders.

The ancient town Kah - Kaha or Bunjikat was the capital of Ustrusshana near Shahristan region. The town Khujand was the central town in Khujand region.

The ancient town Kafyrkala was considered as one of the biggest towns, and the capital of the Vakhsh region. The medieval town Lagman near the Uzun settlement. Hissar fortress Hissori- Shodmon was the central town in Hissar valley. Arki -Mir and Chormaghz - tepa in Dushanbe.

Aharune or early medieval Havarman region, a big town of the same name is mentioned, it is located probably on the territory of the contemporary Shahrinau town or Uzbekon - teppa settlement. Vashgird, now Kalai Sangin in Faizabad Darband and Iliak were the biggest towns in Gharm region.

Semiganch in Kafirnihon region was possibly the metal - proceeding centre in Hissar Valley The ancient town near Ramit "Kalai Shodmon".

Tepe and towns -Kalai Mir, Munchak - teppa, Ak -teppa In Kabadion and Shahritus regions The capital of Khuttalon the town Houlbuk was located in Hishteppa, near the settlement Kurbonshaid in Vosse region.

The certain cultural and economic towns are identified:

•Shahri Mung in Hovaling
Settlements Zoli- Zar and Saiyed in Moscovskiy Region
Manzoratepe, Dashtidili, Imom - Ali and other towns in Vosse region.

In Central Asia, Buddhism along with Zoroastriasm was very spread. In I-III centuries the number of Buddhism sanctuaries is growing. The penetration of Buddhism to Central Asia is closely connected with the name of the tsar of Kushan - Kanishka (278-301). He converted to Buddhism and became the passionate successor of this religion. He has constructed a big number of Buddhism sacred places, mortars, etc. In Tajikistan, a number of monasteries, Buddhism sanctuaries of V-VIII centuries were discovered. The monastery Adjina-Tepa in Vakhsh region is the central Buddhism monastery in the southern Tajikistan. Others are monastery Ushtur Mullo in Shahritus region, sanctuary in the citadel of the town Kafir- Kal'a in Kolkhozobad region, the temple Khisht Teppa in Hovaling region, sanctuary in the town Kalai Kafirnihon in Leninskiy region, in the Eastern Pamir the castle and rooms of the monies in the village Vrang in Ishkashim region. The territory of the modern Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Republic was inhabited in VI-XIV centuries or in the early medieval period. In its river valleys and mountain slopes many towns, settlements and fortresses were located. Then and later Pamir was the place of the semi­precious stones and precious metals mining.

Via the valleys of the Pyandj, Gunt rivers the Silk route was laid and along it, the trade caravans were passing. The caravan - sarays shelters (Darkysht) were between the village Ryn and Ishkashim on the bank of the river Pyandj. Buddhism pilgrims were also passing by together with trade caravans or alone.

In the IX century the exploitation of precious stones (noble spinal) was initiated in the Kuhi Lai, known as Badakhskan Lais. The silver deposits in Shugnan were exploited; the special settlements of miners and metallurgists were set up. Today on the territory of the Republic more than 300 tepes and ancient towns of VII - XV centuries are registered. They can be compared with the unread pages of the history of the Tajik people, and they are waiting to be researched and studied. The most famous studies of the archaeological monuments are marked on the map.


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