On the banks of the bountiful Syr Darya River lies one of Central Asia’s oldest cities, named and renamed numerous times after some of the worlds most powerful rulers.
2,500 years ago, at the height of the Persian Empire, Cyrus the Great was said to have founded a settlement on the far reaches of their empire, in what is now known as Khujand. A couple hundred years later, Alexander the Great in his unprecedented march and conquer east, “founded” another city, likely the same as Cyrus earlier, and named it Alexandria the Furthest. Fortifications were established, wealth was brought in abundance, and the city grew in importance as the years passed. Khujand soon became a favorable location for the trade routes across Eurasia due to its relatively flat terrain in the Fergana Valley, and its abundance of goods and produce. Khujand once again changed names by another conquerer in the 20th century - Leningrad.
A visit to Khujand today reveals windows into its ancient past. Modern establishments and conveniences still mix with ancient traditions, such as the Pashanbe Bazaar, a gigantic, covered trading center selling goods of every sort. It is one of the largest and most authentic remaining bazaars in all of Central Asia. Towards the river, remnants of the ancient fortification are still present, mingling with reconstructions of the fort, a peaceful park, and families leisurely enjoying the evening unfold. Khujand receives much fewer visitors as its neighboring Silk Road cities, but it retains an authentic charm that is difficult to describe. Rather, it is best to spend a few days here and observe a lifestyle mixing old and new.
THE SILK ROAD JOURNAL
How We Got Here
Khujand was our final stop in Tajikistan, reached via the road from Panjikent then heading north towards Shahristan. We took the journey via hired car.
The Pashanbe Bazaar was one of the most authentic and interesting we've been to in our travels. It is a true gathering point for locals and traders of the Fergana Valley. Wandering the endless stalls of spices and produce mixed with every thing one can imagine.
Slowing down in one of the green spaces of the town, observing daily life here while watching our son's curiousity - moments like those somehow stay in our memory longer than the rest,
➨ Remnants of the Sogdians ~ Coming Soon
S N A P S H O T S O N T H E R O A D
W H E R E W I L L Y O U R J O U R N E Y T A K E Y O U N E X T ?
The bustling bazaars of Khujand filled your caravan to a brim, and fortunately the Middle Kingdom is beginning to be in your reach. Once again, a path needs to be chosen - one eastwards over harsh terrain down to the desert oasis of Kashgar, the southern spur of the road to China. The other is northward through the Tianshan Mountains, eventually reaching the northern spur to China.