The Sights of Tajikistan

Ancient Penjikent

On a terrace above the banks of the Zerafshan River, 1.5km southeast of today's Penjikent, are the ruins of a major Sogdian town, which was briefly (5th to 8th centuries) one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the Silk Road. The palace here was originally decorated with ornate hunting scenes and pillars carved in the shape of dancing girls. Today the site is just a sunbaked hillside with excavated sunbaked wall-stub ruins. But you can clearly identify the foundations of numerous former buildings in what was the main shakhristan (town centre), and seek out hints of an outlying rabad (suburb) and necropolis.

Get to the site on marshrutka 5. Ask the driver for Stary Penjikent; from where you're dropped make an obvious four-minute dog-leg walk to the site's southern edge. Here a traditionally styled one-room museum chronicles the excavations and has painted copies of the best frescoes. The originals, along with most sculptures, pottery and manuscripts were long ago carted off to Tashkent and St Petersburg. A site map outside helps plan an exploration of the ruins, or just wander at random amongst the unfenced muddy ridges. On a clear day the mountain panoramas are splendid and from this raised position it's easy to plot a course back to town descending between the main ruins and the distinct raised citadel site further west. You should emerge on Beruni just 15 minutes stroll from the bazaar.

Ajina Tepe

The Buddhist monastery Ajina Tepe (VII-VIII) is located in the Vakhsh valley in Tajikistan, in 12 km. from Kurgan-Tyube town. It was discovered by the scientist Boris Letvinsky in 1960. Much time was spent for the excavations of the monument. As Litvinsky said, the monastery Ajina Tepe tells about the history of the Vakhsh valley, as a part of the ancient country, named Baktria, later Tokharistan. The excavations allowed to understand the historical issues of this part of Asia in a different way. Buddhism appeared on the territory of Central Asia at the turn of a new era. By means of the Asian area China met with this most ancient world religion.

Ajina Tepe is translated into Russian as “Devil's Hill"or "Hill of the evil spirit”.

The monastery was composed of two square yards, surrounded with holy places, cells and corridors. In one of the yards there was a cult construction – Stupa. Rock paintings and clay statues, as well as 12-meters height figure of Buddha on his deathbed were found on Ajina Tepe. The Indian elements and local traditions of ancient Tokharistan blended in the architecture and decoration of Ajina Tepe.

The giant horizontal statue of "Buddha in nirvana", located in the eastern corridor is quite remarkable. Today it is one of the most prominent Buddhist relics in world culture. "The sleeping" giant was divided into 44 parts, was extracted from the cultural layer and transported in Dushanbe, to the restoration and conservation laboratory of the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan.

The Buddhist monastery Ajina Tepe in Tajikistan was considered the Monument of the World Heritage.

MONUMENT OF Ismoni Somoni

The monument of Ismoil Somoni is situated on Ozodi square. The height of the monument is more than 25 meters. This monument was placed in 1999 in honor of 1100 anniversary of the state of the Samanids. The monument is richly decorated with gold and looks impressively.

Abu Ibrakhim Ismoil ibn Akhmad Samani (April, 849, Fergana – November, 24, 907) was the amir from the Sasanids dynasty , the founder of the state in Central Asia.

There are several suppositions of his place of birth. The researchers think that he was born in Fergana or Balkh. Ismoil was born in the family of the local aristocrat, Akhmed, the son of Saman-khudat.

Sarazm

Sarazm – first monument of World Heritage in Tajikistan. This ancient settlement (IV—II millennium B.C.) located 15 km. to the West from the regional center Penjikent on the left bank of the Zeravshan river. The name “Sarazm” origins from old Tajik word “sarizamin” (beginning of the earth). This ancient settlement was discovered in autumn 1976 by the archeologist Abdullodjan Isakov, when one citizenship of the village Gurach, veteran of the Great Patriotic War, Ashurali Taylonov decided to tell Abdullodjan Isakov, worker of Penjikent archeological base, about the bronze axe, which was in his house for 6 years. On the place of unknown ancient monument Sarazm there were works on grading of earth. The collective farmers and local citizenships often found during the works the antique things, such as safe jugs, bronze tools, decorations and others. Under their lack of information they did not tell the historical museum about it.

Palace and cult constructions, public and dwelling buildings, which are in good condition are of great historical and cultural value. During the excavations the metallic and stone products as well as jewelries and treated sea shells were found. The destruction of the settlement concurs with the invasion of nomadic Indo-Iranian tribes on this territory.

Stable economy and a highly developed material culture of Sarazm were the characteristic features of Zaravshan center of early agricultural cultures of Central Asia.

The inhabitants of Sarazm, expanding the area of the contacts, to the middle of the IV millennium B.C. established cultural and trade links with ancient agricultural centers of South Turkmenistan, Iran, Belujistan, India and Afghanistan. Thus, the settlement Sarazm is a unique monument that reflected a variety of cultural ties and contacts of the peoples of late Stone Age and Early Bronze Age.

In 2010 by the decision of UNESCO Sarazm was included to the list of monuments of World Heritage.

Takhti Sangin (Oxus Temple)

Ancient settlement Takhti Sangin (Oxus Temple) was found during the excavations in1976. This unique structure is located in Takhti Kubad Gorge, at the confluence of the Vakhsh and Panj Rivers. According to sources, the temple was built in the V-III centuries BC.

In 1877 the treasure of more than 2,000 gold and silver coins and gold jewelry was found n the right bank of the Amu Darya River. This finding, known as the Amu Darya treasure or ("Oxus Treasure") is in the British Museum in England.

It is known that the ancient “Oxus Temple” is dedicated to the deity of the river. During the excavations there were found unique findings: image of Alexander the Great, chests of ivory, decorated with engraved patterns the collection of arrowheads, soldiers’ weapons, as well as many decorations, household items and much more. It is noteworthy that “Oxus Temple” is preserved very well up to the present day.

Today unique treasures of “Oxus Temple” can be seen in the National Museum of Antiquities, and the ruins of Takhta Sangin ancient settlement in the picturesque Takhti Kubad gorge.