On Tajikistan's westernmost tip, almost reaching into Uzbekistan, sits Pendjikent in Tajikistan's Sughd province. It was founded in the 5th century and was a historically significant center of the ancient Sogdian empire. A small but nonetheless important town throughout its long history, it was part of the achaemenid dynasty and was annexed by Arabian forces in the eighth century. The ruins of the old city, dating back to pre-Islamic, and even pre-zoroastrian times can be found nearby modern day Pendjikent and serve as a reminder of the town's interesting and varied history.

Today, Pendjikent is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery and flora and fauna. At the mouth of the Zeravshan valley and straddling the banks of the Zeravshan River, it's a matter of miles away from the Zeravshan nature refuge and, downstream on the river is Sarazm, a designated Important Bird Area. Visitors use the city as a base to explore the gorgeous surrounding area, as a pit stop between Khujand in the north or Dushanbe to the south or as a crossing point through to nearby Samarkand in neighboring Uzbekistan.


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Ancient City Museum

The best way to understand and fully appreciate the ancient city is with a visit to the attached museum. It contains exhibits and artifacts from the excavations with information and explanations about the building techniques and the cultural significance of the artworks and architecture in the historic site.

Ancient City Ruins

The site of the ancient Sogdian city is just out of the town, on a hill with views of the valley. Excavated on an ongoing basis since 1947, Pendjikent is one of the most thoroughly studied medieval cities in the world. Visitors are free to wander around the ruins of the walled city that stood more than 2,500 years ago.

Central Market

In the center of town, the market place is the gathering point for local life. The best day to go is Sunday, when the market is at its busiest, to enjoy the color and flavor of a real Tajik market. Here, visitors can stock up on local souvenirs and food for bargain prices.

Kamoli Khujandi Park

Popular with local families, this pleasant recreational park sits on the banks of Zeravshan river, an ideal spot for a picnic and a day of leisure. There’s a playground and a public swimming pool, not to mention a small, charming amusement park.

Rudaki Museum

Named for a famous 10th century Tajik poet, Abu Abdullo Rudaki, this museum celebrates Tajikistan’s rich national and cultural history. Exhibits include example of beautiful frescoes for which the city is famous as well as zoroastrian statues and sculptures and other historical items from the city’s foundation, all the way up to the Soviet era.


From its position at the mouth of the beautiful Zeravshan valley and just south of the Fann mountains with their glacial lakes, Pendjikent is a perfect base for the outward bound visitor. Hikes and trails vary in difficulty but all boast stunning views and take in the rich and diverse nature that abounds in the region.

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