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The Soghd region is administrative region, part of Republic of Tajikistan. It was founded in October 27, 1939 as Leninabad region. In November 10, 2000 was renamed to Soghd region. The region is located in the North of Tajikistan, in the mountains of Tien Shan and the Gissar-Alai, the northern part occupies the south-west of the Ferghana valley. Soghd region has 14 districts: Ayni, Asht, Bobojon-Gafurov, Ganchi, Jabbar-Rasulov, Zafarabad, Isfara, Istravshan, Kanibadam, Kuhistoni Maschoh, Maschoh, Penjikent, Spitamen and Shahristan and cities of Gafurov, Istaravshan, Isfara, Kairakum, Kanibadam, Penjikent, Taboshar and Chkalovsk.
The researches of the Northern-Tajik archeological complex expedition of the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan discovered on the left bank of Syrdarya, under today’s Khojent, remnants of a big centre of a city. Here, on a relatively flat and comfortable bank of Syrdarya first settlements appeared which soon turned into big settlements. Khojent quickly developed when in 329 BC the Greek-Macedonian troops entered the city headed by Alexander the Great.

According to the records of ancient Greek historians, in 329 BC Alexander the Great founded on the river, called Tanais, or Yaksart (modern Syrdarya), reinforced fortress. Alexander populated it with Greek warriors and neighbouring people. Later, due to its profitable geographical and strategic position the fortress started to strenuously populated, turning into big by those days sizes, city, which is known in the history as Alexandria the Extreme   (Eskhata).  The city prospered for a long period, grew rich, castles and citadels were built. The medieval Khojent gave the Tajik and Eastern cultures a big pleiad of prominent personalities. In the second half of the X century the great scientist-mathematician, astronomer, constructor of astronomical tools – Abumakhmud Khujandi was born and grew up in Khojent. In the XI-XII centuries, a number of scientists, poets and doctors lived and worked in the Iranian city of Isfahan – by origin from Khojent and known as representatives of the family “Oly Khujand”.  Kamoli Khujandi – author of famous gazelles (poetry – ed.) was named “Nightingale of Khujand” in the XIV century.  Mahasti – a great poetess, musician and dancer was as famous in the medieval period.  In the XIX century cultural workers like Toshkhoja Asiri, Sodirkhon Hafiz and Khoji Yusuf carried out active work in the city. At the end of the XIV and beinning of XV centuries Khujand together with the region were part of the Tamerlane state.  In the XVIII-XIX centuries the city extensively expanded, turning into one of the biggest cities of Central Asia, equal to Kokand and Bukhara by their size.

The oldest town Penjikent, which is according to estimates of scientist is more than 5500 years old was one of the most important cultural and trade centres of Soghd. In its time it was called
“Central Asian Pompeii” . Penjikent was on the from Samarkand to the mountains of Kuhistan. No caravan or person, descending from the mountains in Samarkand or going back leave out Penjikent. The founder of the classical-Tajik poetry, Abu Abdullo Rudaki was born and lived in the village Panjrud, which was located near Penjikent. He wrote his famous odes and poetry in Dari (tajik language of that period), but with Arabic script. 

Talented singer and musician (Rudaki played on chang – instrument alike harp) was invited by Nasr II bin-Ahmad Samanid (914-943) in Bukhara, where he spent most of his like, until in 937 he lost his favourable patronage. Beside his own poetical works, significant contribution by Rudaki in literature are translation works from Arabic to Dari and further poetical editing of the Indian cycle of edifying novels “Kalila and Dimna” .

Ancient Ura-Tyube (modern Istaravshan) was one of the biggest trade centres at the crossroad of the historical caravan routes, famous by a range of weavers’ neighbourhood and artisans. The city is more than 2500 years old. The city was established in the VI BC by the Akhamenid’s king Kir. At that period it was called Kiropol or Kurushkada. By the time, when Alexander the Great conquered Central Asia (IV BC), Kurushkada was already a big and well reinforced city. There are 150 historical and ethnographic monuments at the territory of the ancient Istaravshan. The vicinity of Ishtravhsna preserve the richest archaeological wealth, among which the ancient city Shahristan. 

Discover wonderful monuments of the Stone Age: hovel of Aktangi (late Stone Age – IV), Sarazm settlement of Bronze epoch, ancient settlement of Nurtepa (VII BC-VIII BC.), ancient Khojent (VI BC.), where Alexander the Great built the fortress Alexandria the Extreme , ancient Penjikent, large cultural centre of Soghd (VI-VIII BC),  Kahkaha Fortress 1-3centuries , Budjikat – capital of Ustrushan, castles of the mountain of Mug (VI-VIII),  Filmandar (V ), Chilkhujra (V-VII); settlement of Gardani Hisor and Kum (V-VIII ); Konimansur mine (V-VII).

Not far from Khojent there is the famous Kairakum reservoir that attracts many tourists. It appeared as a result of construction of hydro-power station on the river Syrdarya. Mild climate, wonderful nature, smooth mirror-like surface of the man-made lake will give opportunities for fascinating active recreation: boat tours, fishing, sightseeing around the archaeological sites.

If you would like to take a tour under open sky and feel the wonderful nature of the Soghd region, and then visit the Ak-Su district, located close to Khojent. This mountain massif differs by the beauty of wildlife and by sky-high rocks. Their altitude often exceeds 5000 meters (Ak-Su 5355 m, Blok – 5239m). Picturesque landscape, climate, softened by rough rivers, wonderful centuries-old history does not leave us indifferent and make your trip around the Soghd region truly unforgettable.
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