|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
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. Ph.D.
of philosophy Bohokhon Mahmadov
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
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
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
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
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
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 semi¬precious 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.