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Hissor Historical and Cultural Reserve

30 km away from Dushanbe there is located one of the main attractions of Dushanbe – Hissor Historical and Cultural Reserve. Today this name unites archeological and architectural monuments of different eras, located on the territory of about 86 hectares. The reserve's location is the Hissor Valley. This is an extensive intermountain cavity in which the Kafernigan, Karatag and Shirkent rivers flow. Life in the place takes its beginning with a Stone Period, in the 14–13 millennium BC. Later the territory of the valley was part of the Bactria, and then Greco-Bactrian and Kushan States. This is evidenced by the remains of ancient cities and settlements, discovered here by archaeologists. In the Middle Ages, Hissor was a city, famous for its handicraft and market center. In the 18-19 centuries, it turned into Hissor State formation – one of the 28 possessions of the Bukhara Emirate. Since that time, the Hissor fortress has been preserved, and today is turned into a museum under the open sky. In the late 80s of the 20th century a unique historical and cultural reserve was created in Hissor, which includes the Hissor fortress with an arch (gate), Registan (the square in front of the fortress), an old madrasah (a medieval educational institution with an area of 2250 sq.m., built in the 14th century), a new madrasah, the Karavan-Saray (a hotel built in 1808), the “Chashmai Mokhiyon” mosque (built in the 8th century), the “Sangin” Mosque, the “Makhdumi Azam” mausoleum (a historical monument of the 16th century), as well as a historical museum located in the building of the old madrasah.

The Haftkul Valley

There are many places in the world where nature reveals a person its majestic beauty, but there is hardly such a corner, where on a small space, among the wonderful mountain landscapes, at the foothills of snowy mountains, surrounded by forests under a cloudless blue sky multicolored laces are scattered, the water of which overflows with all the colors from gently-green to dark-lilac. The complex intersection of ridges and the melting of former glaciers, which formed the moraines, created many lakes in secluded ravines and mountain circuses. In the Fan mountains there are up to 30 lakes with cold clear water, born in the snowfields of high mountains. And among them are the Marguzor lakes, or, as they are sometimes called, the Seven Beauties of Shing. This is a thread of seven turquoise lakes descending as cascade along the wide valley of the Shing River. They are sometimes called even one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The lowest is located at an altitude of 1598 m above sea level. And each lake is higher than the other, more beautiful and more hard-to-reach. The latter is at an altitude of more than 2400 m. Local residents say that the one who reaches it will get happiness. The Marguzor lakes, especially Mijgon, are beautiful for its watercolor. Mineral substances, dissolved in water, give it a blue color, even in the foam of the stormy Shing River. When the recalcitrant Shing overflows and turns into a calm surface of the lake, the water acquires a rich deep color from blue to violet. The mystery of appearance of these lakes will be revealed to you by a legend. In former times, the blacksmith lived in the valley, and he had 7 daughters-beauties. One day the local ruler saw his youngest daughter and fell in love with her without a memory. The father agreed to marry off his daughter, but she did not want to become a wife of the old ruler. The clever girl has put the condition: she will marry, if the ruler will build a gold fairy palace. The girl was sure that he could not do it, but the old man, inspired by love, performed a miracle and built the palace in 40 days. Having realized that condition is fulfilled, the beauty rushed down from the roof of the palace right in the wedding dress on the day of their wedding. On the place where she died, the Lake Mizhgon appeared, and the rest of the lakes were formed from the tears of her sisters. Pragmatic geologists explain the appearance of these lakes due to an earthquake. One of seven lakes is called Khushyor, which translates as “vigilance”. It got its name because there are poisonous snakes around it. Another interesting lake – Khazorchashma (“A thousand springs”) was formed from springs and small streams, the rivers Hissor and Darakhti Surkh also flow into it. Around the lake grow birches. They say that the seeds of these trees were scattered in these places by birds. And in ancient times one of the routes of the Great Silk Road stretched across this lake.

The ancient Panjakent

The uniqueness of Ancient Panjakent lies in the fact that all its territory up to our time has not been broken by late buildings and used for crops. Its dwellings, temples, streets and lanes were preserved in their original form. Ancient Panjakent can be compared with such famous world archaeological monuments as Niso, Merv (Turkmenia), Ak-Tube, Taraz, Otrar (Kazakhstan), Ustrushan, Kafir-Kala, Khulbuk (Tajikistan), Chakalak-Tepa (Afghanistan), etc. Archaeological excavations cover about half of the monument. The citadel of the ruler and the necropolis standing on a separate hill were excavated. Ancient Panjakent is a monument of the pre-Islamic era. From the 5th to the 7th century AD sogdians lived here - the ancestors of modern Tajiks living in the Zarafshan valley. On this monument, the main elements of the ancient city were preserved: the hillfort (13.5 hectares), the citadel of the ruler (2.5 hectares), rabad (country estates, an area of about 70 hectares) and a necropolis. Every prosperous sogdian in Ancient Panjakent had in his house a solemn reception hall with wall paintings, glutinous paints on dry plaster and carved wooden reliefs. Sogdian art had its own unique style, which was distinguished by its rich variety. The evidence of this is the sogdian painting, reflecting the literature, folklore, rites and customs of sogdians, which were almost unknown before excavations in Panjakent. Some merchants lived in the city who led caravan trade along the Great Silk Road, stretching from Rome and Byzantium to China. One of the trails of this route passed through Panjakent. It is revealed that it was the Sogdian traders who prevailed on the Great Silk Road, performing the role intermediaries between the West and the East. Panjakent gives an especially complete picture of the urban culture of not only Sogdiana, but the entire Great Silk Road. Here you can see how widely the culture of Central Asia was developed already in those distant times.

The Hot Spring “Garmchashma”

Garmchashma is located in the middle reaches of the river of the same name (the right tributary of the Panj), in the southwestern spurs of the Ishkashim ridge, at an altitude of 2325 meters above sea level. This valley, leading to the sharp peak Mayakovsky, throughout its entire length is "embedded" in thickness of gray gneisses and crystalline shists of Precambrian age. These rocks are well naked and almost not covered by greenery, only at the base of the slopes they are blocked by loose river and collapsed accumulations. When you approach the source, it seems that the travertine terraces of Garmchashma rises directly from these banks. Travertine hill of 7-8 meters height with several ledges falls almost to the channel of the river. Marble-like ledges follow each other after every 0.5-1.5 meters and are separated by slightly overhanging cornices of densely fused stalactites. On separate ledges are shallow baths, enclosed by low curbs. Hot water, pouring over the edges of these baths, deposits calcite, as a result of which the ledges move farther and farther. The water in the baths is everywhere turquoise-blue, and its temperature is different, depending on the proximity to the flowing jets of the source. At the bottom of the baths in the abundance, there are not large (0.3-4 cm) concentrically layered balls, also consisting of calcite. As an insignificant admixture, they contain still silica, magnesia, aluminum oxides. In one liter of water contains about three grams of various salts, mainly calcium and sodium. In addition, thermal springs of Garmchashma are heavily carbonated with carbon dioxide; in a smaller amount they release hydrogen sulphide. The outlets on the surface are quite unusual: inclined jets rush out of the travertine massif up to a height of 60 cm. The total amount of water released by the source every second, or as they say, "debit", is small and is about six liters. However, this is enough to create a real hot pool at the foot of the mountain more than half a meter deep. This pool is artificial and belongs to the well-known in our country "Garmchashma" spa. The spa itself is located slightly lower in the floodplain of the river, and consists of several buildings, which accommodate about 200 patients. Here are treated very complex skin, bone and nerve diseases, and not only baths serve as a medicine, but equally hot sun, as well as therapeutic muds accumulating at the bottom of the pool. In these muds, in addition to carbonate compounds there are significant amounts of, iron, aluminum, magnesium, strontium, fluorine, sulfur.

Hulbuk hillfort - IX-XI centuries

Khulbuk is the name of the city – with the modern corresponding name Kurban-Shaid, located 7 km to the north-west from Vose (Kulob region). The hillfort takes quite large area. Thus, only the central part of it is about 70 hectares. In the southwestern part of the site, there is a citadel. Excavations were carried out in a small volume in the territory of Shakhristan (the city itself); extensive excavations were also conducted on the citadel. During excavations in Shakhristan it was found out that the living quarters were mostly built of burnt bricks. Raw bricks were used both in combination with burnt and on their own. The houses were well maintained, the walls were covered with white or colored plaster, the floors had a parquet layout of decorative terracotta tiles, and there was a city water supply. On the territory of the city worked craft workshops. The rectangular citadel (50 х 150 m) is two-part: its southern part is higher and almost completely excavated; the northern part is much lower and excavated largely. On the territory of the citadel, a palace survived two periods of existence. Excavations of Khulbuk greatly enriched the idea of the architectural and decorative arts of medieval Central Asia. This indicates a deep continuity and stability of the cultural tradition. The bronze, glass and ceramic dishes found in Khulbuk are abundant and diverse. Unique is a set of chess pieces made of ivory. There are products made of stone.

Sari Khosor Valley

Sari Khosor is located in the spurs of the Vakhsh mountain ridge, in the upper reaches of the Surkhob River, at an altitude of 1200-1600 meters above sea level. It is the most beautiful corner of Tajikistan. The Jamoat of Sari Khosor settlements with the administrative center of Shahidon since 1996 was established as part of the Baljuvan district of Khatlon region. Sari Khosor is rich in recreational resources. Unique historical and natural monuments are preserved here, which give a clear idea of the life, traditions and folk crafts of the inhabitants of this region. The relief of Sari Hosor is very complex and differs from the relief of other regions of the country by its diversity. The landscape structure of Sari Khosor is low mountains, mountain slopes and high mountains. Most of the relief of this area is the middle mountains, which are located at an altitude of 1200-1300 meters above sea level. Hydrography of Sari Khosor consists of the rivers Surkhob, Tira, Obi Mazor, Shurobdaryo and Sharsharai Pushti Bogh. Surprising harmony reigns in this truly paradisiacal corner: the forests of fruit trees on both sides of the gorge adjoin with fat meadows and stony massifs of rocks. The water stream, originating from the mountain peaks, flowing along the whole gorge, feeds the valley. Transparent springs, shady groves of hazel, perennial plane trees and a variety of animal world, and above all this azure dome of the cloudless sky. Another of the most beautiful places of the valley is located near the Mulokoni village. From a height of 50 meters, a cascade of waterfall dashes down, scattering millions of splashes around itself, shimmering in the sun with all the colors of the rainbow.

Ancient settlement of Sarazm

An ancient agricultural monument Sarazm was discovered in the autumn of 1976 by archaeologist Abdullojan Isakov. The monument is located 15 kilometers west of the city of Panjakent and 45 kilometers east of the city of Samarkand. The original area of the monument was about 130 hectares. The hillfort was intensively inhabited for more than a thousand years, and reached its peak in the late Eneolithic and early Bronze Age. The basis of the economy of Sarazm inhabitants was agriculture, both irrigation and rain-fed, cattle raising and specialized crafts. From the end of the fourth millennium BC the settlement of Sarazm is becoming one of the largest centers of metallurgy in Central Asia. This was facilitated by the rich resources of the upper mountains of Zarafshan - such as gold, silver, copper, lead and tin. The stable economy and the highly developed material culture of Sarazm were characteristic features of the Zarafshan Center for early agricultural cultures in Central Asia. The Sarazmians, expanding the zone of their contacts, by the middle of the fourth millennium BC established cultural and trade relations with the ancient agricultural centers of southern Turkmenistan, Iran, Beludzhistan, India and Afghanistan. Thus, the ancient hillfort “Sarazm” is a unique monument that reflected in itself the most diverse cultural ties and contacts of the people of the Eneolithic and Early Bronze Age. By the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan of September 21, 2001, the 5500-year-old monument of Sarazm of the Panjakent district was declared a historical and archaeological reserve, as the center for the formation of agricultural crops, crafts and town planning of the Tajiks.

Seven Treasures of Tajikistan is a project of the Republican public organization “Tourism Development Center”, which aims to find seven unique historical, architectural and natural monuments of Tajikistan, as well as attract attention to the restoration and preservation of unique historical, architectural and natural objects located on the territory of the country.

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