Day 7, Saturday April 27 – Fargana and Khujand, Tajikistan
We left our bus at the border again and passed through customs. We are leaving Kyrgyzstan and entering Tajikistan.
There is a wide “no mans land” between all of these countries. The terrain here was clear and dry.
We are soon allowed to leave one country and try to reach the next.
There are locals coming up from behind as we struggle with our bags.
We are on our way to Khujand, the second largest city in Tajikistan. It was formerly called Leninabad from 1936 until !991. It is the capital of the northern province of Sughd. It is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia.
Some believe it to have been founded in the sixth or seventh centuries. It was conquered by Alexander the Great and rebuilt, fortified and renamed to Alexander Eskhata, or Extreme.
Some say Cyrus the Great was here before Alexander. It has always been an important Silk Road stop and many important monuments are located here.
It was eventually conquered by the Arabs and then was destroyed again in the eighth century.
It has always been a center of commercial and scientific activity.
We are soon at the Pujshanbe Bazaar. It is a large pink colored covered market place. Walk into the building past the columns and there are shoes, clothing and any number of different items for sale.
The merchants call us to come and buy from them. I talked to some of them and gave them my business card.
After walking through the building we are outside again and looking at hundreds of tables covered in fruits, vegetables, melons, spices and nuts.
We then went to the Muslihiddin Memeorial Comlex.
Muslihiddin Khujandi was a twelth century poet. There is a 16th century mosque, a 19th century minaret, and his mausolium are all here.
After the Memorial we went to the Historical Museum of Sogdiana. Sogdiana was an ancient Iranian Civilization that spread throughout many of these Central Asian countries.
It was first conquered by Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. It was annexed in 328 BC. by the Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great.
There are items here that go back to the fourth century BC.
The remains of a 10th century citadel are on the left bank of the Syr Darya. Drya means river by the way, as far as I can tell.
We went to a reproduction of the Summer Palace of St. Petersburg today.
We are staying at the Khujand Grand Hotel.
Just a note here. I am still on Central Asian time and if you see any typing errors, I’m blaming them on that. Thanks.
As always, our pictures are up at my friends FaceBook site at Ray-Andrea Matthews.