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Category Archive: Istaravshan

Fann Mountains

The area is ideal for organizing hiking tours lasting several days. Going from one valley to another, from one beautiful lake to another no less stunning, via numerous rocky outcrops with occasional hanging glaciers, tourists can’t help but recognize the fantastic environment through which they are travelling.

The Fan Mountains are a popular tourist destination situated in north-west Tajikistan. The Fan Mountains area is convenient for visiting. A paved road from Dushanbe going to the largest Pamir-Alai Lake – Lake Iskandarkul – leads to this place via the 3,372m Anzob Pass. Another paved road runs from Panjakent. One more road from Khujand runs through Istravshan (formerly Uroteppa), and the 3,351m Shahriston Pass. The Fan Mountains area road system includes both paved and unpaved roads.
Among the most beautiful and interesting peaks (from a mountaineer’s point of view) are Chapdara (5,050m), Bodkhona (5,138m), Zamok (5,070m), Maria (4,970m), Mirali (5,120m), and Zindon (4,800m). Both the good and the ordinary routes on the south and west sides of Chimtarga (5,487m), the highest peak of Fan Mountains, lead to its top.
Besides the high peaks and narrow valleys with their noisy streams, which are typical for the Fan Mountains, there are also about 30 clear lakes of a variety of colours. To the south of the main range is Lake Iskandarkul – 2.5km in length, 1km wide, and about 72m deep, at an altitude of 2,255m – on the shores of which a hostel with the same name is situated. Apparently, this lake came into existence several thousand years ago as the result of a landslide. The water in the lake is bluish-green, slightly turbid and very cold, so only the bravest dare swim there.
From the north, the Serima River flows into the lake, from the west, the Saritag River (with the largest volume of water), and from the south, Hazor-Mech River. Only one river, Iskandar-Darya, flows out of the lake. It has a waterfall which cannot be seen from the road and one has to come close to it to enjoy its charming beauty. There are almost no fish in the lake because of the concentration of minerals in it. Only small loach (similar to catfish), survive in such water.

Buston Town

Known for its friendly locals, the most beautiful picturesque, and fantastic eastern culture experience. The city of Buston is located in Sughd region of Tajikistan. There are more than 29 thousand people living there. Now there is a temple in honor of the Iberian Icon of the Mother of God and a Muslim mosque. On the territory of the city, there is a highway connecting Buston with Dushanbe. In the center, there is a recreation park with attractions for children. Not far from it there is a museum and dozens of shops. In the very center, there are several hotels that offer a comfortable stay for guests. The most important landmark of Buston are not monuments and museums, but nature, which everyone must see.

Panjakent town

Located in Sughd region, Panjakent is heartland Tajikistan, offering an authentic view of Wood Carving expressing the culture of the East.

The city of Penjikent (“five villages”) is located in Khujand area of Tajikistan in a picturesque Zarafshon river valley. Quite possibly the five villages started the history of this remarkable city which originated in the 5th-8th centuries AD. Penjikent of that time was one of the most important cultural and crafts centers of Sughd. It was even named “Central Asian Pompeii”. It was a superbly fortified well-organized city with a ruler’s palace, two temples, markets, rich dwelling houses decorated with numerous paintings, wooden and clay statues of ancient gods. Penjikent was the last city on the way from Samarkand in Kuhiston Mountains. It was a very favorable location since no caravan or person going from the mountains or returning to Samarkand could bypass Penjikent.
The ruins of this ancient city were found only in the last century. Today the tourists can see the remains of dwelling houses and office buildings, the citadel with the palace, the house of craftsmen, and fire worshipers church.


Rated as the second most liveable city in Tajikistan, Khujand is a place where distinguished city style and impressive landscapes go hand in hand.

Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanting holiday islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Eastern culture and a passion for outstanding food, juice, and shopping, or you want to see numerous attractive ancient monuments which have survived medieval citadels and mosques you’re beginning to get the picture of Khujand, Tajikistan our largest and most diverse city. The most known are the mosque and the mausoleum of Sheikh Muslekheddin (17th-18th centuries.).
Khujand Sights
Close to the city is located the well-known Kairakum man-made lake. Khujand is one of the centers of mountaineering. Climbers prefer Ak-Su area located in one of the most picturesque corners of the country Khujand. This massif is distinguished by the beauty of wild nature and very tall rocks. More than just a city, Khujand is a whole region full of things to see and do. Best of all, with so many experiences close by it’s easy to jump from one adventure to the next.
A natural view
Khujand’s diverse landscapes provide countless opportunities to get immersed in nature. In the west, lush native picturesque views plunge down the hills to meet the banks of the river, while the east’s sheltered different types of parks are fringed with colorful-flowering and evergreen trees. The only difference of the city is that most of the places are unspoiled and need to be taken a picture of.
Pigeons and Doves
Tajikistan’s Khujand region varies with the dove watch place, which provides spectacular panoramic views. Once get surrounded by pigeons and doves which feels really free the mind it’s like a must not leave the place. A great view of the mosque with its memorable pigeons and doves is a special day trip destination for visitors and bird watchers.
Shopping and dining in Khujand
Khujand is a shopaholic’s paradise, with everything from top-end designers to open-air street markets. Discover the diverse range of cafes and restaurants offering cuisine from around the globe and check out the buzzing nightlife of the central city. The differences of the foods are in their taste and price with the polite service. You taste absolutely a special taste every time you try a new food.
Something else
Khujand’s history dates back to ancient times. In the opinion of historians, the legendary city of Alexander-Eskhata (Alexandria Extreme) was constructed by Alexander the Great on the place of the present Khujand (the 5th century BC) and become the city of highly developed culture, important commercial, and crafts center. It in many respects speaks it can be explained by its favorable position. Khujand stands at the entrance to the fertile Fergana Valley. Owing to this it was one of the main centers of the Great Silk way and enjoyed prosperity and richness. One of the ancient cities of the Central Asia Khujand has been known since the 7th century. In the 19thcentury Khujand became the center of the district of rapid industrial development allowing itself to become the center of cultural life. The city has 20 large enterprises, universities, cultural establishments.
Come and experience it for yourself. A few days in Khujand, building in a tour or two is the perfect beginning to your Tajikistan vacation.


Istaravshan is a museum city, the ancient center of trade and crafts, one of the most ancient cities of Central Asia. In 2002 Istaravshan widely celebrated 2,500 anniversary of the city. The city was founded in the sixth century B.C. by an Akhemenid king Cyrus who fortified the settlement by means of three wall lines and a citadel.

Only the gate with a dome and columns on the sides has survived on Mug Hill where the residence of the local governor used to be. During the years of Arabian sovereignty, Istaravshan became a province Arabian Caliphate. It was at this time when Islamic architectural structures of portal-dome design such as mosques, madrasahs, mausoleums, minarets, etc. started to appear.

In the second -seventh centuries B.C. the ancient sentiment Mugteppa was located on the territory of Istaravshan. Mugteppa was the residence of the local aristocracy who erected there numerous palaces distinguished by original expressive architecture. The evidence of that was found in Bundzhikat (Kala and Kakh-Kakh) and Chil’khudzhra settlements which had fortified structures with palaces and cult buildings decorated with paintings and carved panels. For example, in Bundzhikat the archaeologists found the painting with the image of a she-wolf feeding two babies – the symbol of contacts between the West and the Orient.


The city of Isfara is the administrative center of the Sughd region of Tajikistan. It is located on the Isfara River, at the junction of two states – Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

This city can be considered a major center of the fruit and vegetable growing region of Tajikistan. There are more than 46 thousand inhabitants. Around this area, there are colorful mountains. For a long time, this city has become famous folk craftsmen. People there since ancient times do carving on wood are engaged in potter’s, blacksmiths and other crafts. In Isfara you can see a huge number of monuments. There was built in 1585 a mosque, which plays an important role in the history of the whole country. That’s why tourists often come here to see local sights. Also, there were the remains of the fortress of Kalai-Bolo, which were built in the 10-12 century. Recently, Isfara is developing rapidly. In the heart of the city for tourists, several hotels are open, where you can comfortably relax. And Isfara itself has a developed infrastructure, a couple of museums, dozens of shops, a city park and several markets.

Kok-Gumbaz Istaravshan

When you take a look at the city from above you immediately notice the light-blue dome of Kok-Gumbaz mosque-madrasah as if floating in the air over it.

The building is located in the western part of the city and is named so because of its light-blue tiled dome (Kok-Gumbaz means “the Light-Blue Dome”). This 16th-century structure was erected by the order of Abdullatif Sultan – the son of the well-known scientist, astronomer, and philosopher – Ulugbek, the grandson of Tamerlan.
The folk legend says that Abdullatif after he had quarreled with his father, left home and found a job digging an aryk for an old peasant who needed it for irrigation of his land. He was supposed to receive 100 tenges for this job. His father found out about it and took away the hard earned money from the peasant and pooled it with his own in order to build the madrasah. Even three centuries after that at the end of the 19th century the madrasah still continued to train students. The main building the Kok-Gumbaz was made of square bricks. The main large square hall is extended by four deep niches on all sides. The niche with a mihrab is richly decorated with molding. The walls are gracefully painted. The entrance portal and the dome are tiled with majolica in incrustation fashion.

Hazrati Shoh Mausoleum

 If you ask any local resident who is buried in Hazrati Shoh Mausoleum you will get the answer that this sacred place is the tomb of St. Hazrati Shoh – the brother of Kusam ibn Abbas, the cousin of Prophet Muhammad buried in the 11th century in Samarkand complex of Shakhi Zind. This is the way the legend is told in this place.

The mausoleum itself being one of the most ancient landmarks of Tajikistan is a part of the historical-architectural complex “Hazrati Shoh” located in the old part of Istaravshan. The complex consists of three cult structures: Hazrati Shoh Mausoleum, Khudoyor Valami Mausoleum and Hazrati Shoh Mosque (also known as Namozgokh) built in the 19th century. All three structures stand in a semicircle. Each of them was erected at different times and has its own history of creation and purpose. In the past, the city cemetery and the Madrassah were also a part of the complex.
Today Hazrati Shoh Mausoleum is a modest two-dome brick building with a tomb (gurkhan) and a chapel (ziyoratkhon) which has been repeatedly restored.
In front of the mausoleum, there is a spring the water in which is considered holy and medicinal. According to a legend the spring was formed after caliph Ali dropped his crosier into a high-mountain Lake Ojkul. The crosier emerged at the feet of Hazrati Shoh buried in Uro-Teppa right where the spring was born. It was from this spring that the history of the mausoleum started. According to the scientists the Muslims consider a spring as a source of life; this is why the burial place of the honored religious figure appeared there. Later the mausoleum was erected above his tomb.
The complex is dated the 18th century though historically it emerged much earlier – in the 10th – 11th centuries.