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Sightseeing in Istaravshan - what to see. Complete travel guide

One of the oldest cities in Central Asia, Istaravshan, is situated at the foothill of the Turkistan mountain range. This settlement is located in the northern part of Tajikistan. Currently, Istaravshan is a modern city with established economic and well-developed food and consumer goods industries. However, the city has become most famous for its fruits and wine. There is enough historical data about Istaravshan in the past. Thanks to these old documents, we know that the settlement has a rich history. Nowadays, Istaravshan has many notable landmarks under the protection of the government, and tourists are welcome to explore them.
The first settlement on the site of modern Istaravshan appeared yet in the 6th century BC. That settlement had another name – Kiropol, also known as Kireskhata and Kurushada. Many scientists think that Persian king Kir was the founder of the city. When Alexander the Great invaded Central Asia he had troubles capturing Kiropol because the city had a sophisticated protection system. The conqueror had to think of a tricky plan to get the city. Although Alexander succeeded in doing that, local people resisted the Macedonian rule and were continuously trying to fight the invaders. This made Alexander the Great to destroy Istaravshan. The city rose from ashes only in the 2nd century BC. At that time, it changed its name to Utrusan.
This was not a mere city but a true country with a large territory. The city of Bunjikat, the forefather of modern Istaravshan, became the capital of the country. During the Arabian Caliphate period, the city was developing actively under the skillful management of the Samanid dynasty. This dynasty became the ancestor of the Tajik nation. The city suffered much damage again in the 13th century. At this time, the Mongols invaded Istaravshan. The region showed signs of recovery only by the 15th century. This is when the settlement changed its name once again to Ura-Tybe. In October 1886, the Russian army successfully captured the fortress. The country’s government decided to return its historical name to the city – Istaravshan – only in autumn 2000. Copyright
Guests of the city can find a fabulous landmark in the west part of Istaravshan – the Kok-Gumbaz Mosque-Madrasah. What is so peculiar about this landmark? If you take a look at Kok-Gumbaz from above, you will notice that the building looks like a blue cupola flying above the city. Because of the unusual architectural element of the sky-blue color, the building got its name Kok-Gumbaz. The shrine was built in the 16th century by the order of astronomer’s son Abdulatif Sultan.
According to a local legend, the son argued with his father and left the family house. He found a job of a worker at an old man’s dehkan farm. The young man needed to dig an irrigation ditch. He got a payment of one hundred tenges for this hard work. When Abdulatif’s father found out about this, he took the money that his son had earned, added his own money, and ordered to build a madrasah. This is how the gorgeous brick mosque appeared. The main hall of the mosque has a square shape and deep hovels on sides. One of the walls has a beautiful stucco décor, and the other walls are covered with skillful ornaments.
Do you want to learn more about the history of this Tajik region? The History Museum in Istaravshan is ready to tell you many interesting stories about the city and its neighborhoods. Currently, the museum exhibits almost four thousand and five hundred artifacts that were discovered in Istaravshan and surroundings. During a visit to this museum, you will learn more not only about the history of the region but also get acquainted with its ethnography.
In the past, there was a church in the museum’s building. It opened in the 60s of the 19th century. In the mid-20th century, Narsiddin Nazarov, a history teacher, collected numerous historical artifacts and decided to show his collection in a museum. He founded a museum with a total area of two hundred and fifty square meters. By visiting this museum, you will find out not only about the history and ethnography of the region but also the development of local culture, the main occupations of local people, and the most developed crafts. There are also beautiful items made by the best local forgers, jewelers, and gold-embroiderers.
The Maschidi Khazrati Shokh is another important religious landmark in the city. This is a mausoleum with the grave of a saint. The mausoleum is called after the saint who is buried in it. Over time, the mausoleum has become an important attraction in Istaravshan. Don’t forget to visit this sacred place because, according to a legend, there is a sacred spring near the entrance. The water in this spring has healing power and can cure even serious diseases.
Istaravshan is situated not far from Khujand, so it is better to arrive in this city first. The easiest way to reach Khujand is by airplane from Dushanbe. As a rule, there are three flights a day between these cities. Of course, tourists can choose to use the train, but trains in this direction cross the territory of Uzbekistan, so passengers need to pass the Uzbek customs control that is long. In order to get to Istaravshan from Khujand, simply use the taxi services that will take you to your destination in less than one hour.

City tours, excursions and tickets in Istaravshan and surroundings

Sights around Istaravshan from our guide 'Extreme places on Earth'

Nurek Dam

From the series “The Greatest Dams in the World”
Power generation is just one of the purpose of the hydropower plant. The huge water basin allows to irrigate the nearby fields during the whole agricultural period. The agricultural purpose of the hydroelectric power station is not an incidental matter - during the dry period, the local inhabitants have to save their electricity. Their production is declining substantially, and the bulk of the water is used for irrigation. Thousands of tourists visit this area annually to see the highest dam on Earth. This place looks particularly beautiful in the spring, when the dam and the water basin are surrounded with the lush green landscapes … Read further

Sightseeing in Tajikistan: things to see

It is also worth mentioning Ajina-Tepa, an important archaeological site. The first excavations started here in 1961. Scientists found ruins of a Buddhist monastery that was constructed roughly in the 7th or 8th century. Besides fragments of old buildings, archaeologists discovered ancient Buddha statues, as well as other interesting artifacts. Nowadays, the archaeological site is open for tourists. … Open
Car rental on Rentals in Istaravshan

Hilton builds third luxury hotel in Kyoto

Hilton has announced that it will soon begin a project to build a new hotel in Kyoto. It will be located in the heart of the city, in the prestigious area of Sanjo-Kawaramachi. Guests will be able to easily reach all areas of interest in the dynamic city, many popular attractions and recreation areas will be within a walking distance from the hotel. Read this


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Sightseeing in regions nearby Istaravshan

All about Istaravshan, Tajikistan - sightseeings, attractions, touristic spots, architecture, history, culture and cuisine. Prepare your trip together with - find out the 'must see' things in Istaravshan, which places to visit, which excursions to take, where the breathtaking views are waiting for you. Planning your trip with this travel guide will help your to get the most out of Istaravshan in few days. - online travel reservation expert providing reliable car rental and hotel booking services. We feature more than 25.000 destinations with 12.000 rental offices and 200.000 hotels worldwide.
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