Discover the highlights of Tajikistan’s historical city of Panjakent and magnificent Seven Lakes on Panjakent City Tour. Explore the World Heritage site of Sarazm and the ruins of the ancient Sogdian settlement, see the sights of Panjakent city, marvel at the seven different coloured mountain lakes, and enjoy a lakeside picnic.
Panjakent City Tour descriptions
1 person – no discount 2 persons – 10% discount 3 persons – 20% discount 4 persons and up – 30% discount
Ancient Panjakent was a small but flourishing town of the Sogdians in pre-Islamic Central Asia. It was known as Panchekanth. It means five towns (villages) in Persian. The ethnic and territorial name “Soghd/Soghdian” or Sughd/Sughdian was mentioned in history as early as the Iranian Achaemenid Dynasty (6th century BC).
The Achaemenids founded several city-states, as well as cities along the ancient Silk road and in the Zarafshan valley. The town grew in the 5th century AD and many professionals such as established businessmen and landowners made their livelihoods in Panjakent. In AD 722, Arab Muslims forces besieged and took the town.
The last ruler of the town Divashtich fled into upper Zarafshan but he was captured and sentenced to death. For around 50 years, ancient Panjakent was ruled by new administrators but towards the end of the 8th century the town on the upper terraces was depopulated and relocated. Many ancient ruins of the old city, particularly the city architecture and works of art remain today.
According to Arab geographers, Panjakent in the 10th century had a formal Friday mosque that distinguished the place as a town from a village. It was the easternmost city of Soghd, and became well known for its walnuts. Russian archaeologist Boris Marshak spent more than fifty years excavating the ruins at Panjakent.
He remained there even after Tajik independence as director of the excavation of the Panjakent ruins, during the years of Civil War in Tajikistan from 1992 to 1997. Through close cooperation with the government of Tajikistan, Marshak ensured the protection and continued excavation of the Panjakent ruins. An important feature of the ruins is the frescoes which show details of dress and daily life.
Shaivism was popular in Sogdiana and Eastern Turkestan as found from the wall painting from Penjikent on the river Zervashan. In this depiction, Shiva is portrayed with a sacred halo and a sacred thread (“Yajnopavita”). He is clad in a tigerskin while his attendants are wearing Sodgian dress. In Eastern Turkestan in the Taklamakan Desert. There is a depiction of him four-legged seated cross-legged on a cushioned seat supported by two bulls.
As with ancient Panjakent, Sarazm’s most important archaeological finds were spirited away, but a small collection is still housed in the attached museum. The artefacts demonstrate this was a well-developed city with sophisticated agriculture, craftsmanship and metallurgy (bronze, copper, tin and precious metals) and that it had trading partners as far afield as Iran and India, where metal objects from Sarazm have been found in turn.
Yes, the Silk Road is that old. What you are looking at here is one of the first trade centers in the world, and one of the first places in the world where metal was forged. Deserted 4000 years ago, it was reborn 20-30 kilometers west as Samarkand.
The most famous find is from about 5000 years ago. ‘The Princess of Sarazm’ is a woman buried in clothes, richly embroidered with turquoise, lapis lazuli, jasper and limestone beads.
In the morning, meet your guide and driver at your hotel in Panjakent. Start the 3-4 hour city tour with a visit to the settlement of Sarazm, which is one of the oldest settlements in Central Asia and has 5,500 years of history. In 2010, Sarazm was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. Then visit the Rudaki Museum (Penjikent is the birthplace of Abu Abdullah Rudaki, considered by many to be the father of Persian poetry), the local bazaar (market), and a mosque. Afterwards, explore ancient Penjikent, the ruins of a town founded by the Sogdians in the 5th century and abandoned by Arabs in the 8th century. The foundations of houses, a citadel with a couple of Zoroastrian fire temples, and the remains of the city bazaar are visible in the excavated ruins. In the afternoon, drive 80km to the Seven Lakes, which are located in the western Fann Mountains. Each lake has its own colour, varying from calming turquoise to mesmerising purple. At 14:00, enjoy a picnic lunch at the last lake, Hazorchashma. After exploring the lakes, return to your hotel in Penjikent (80 km) by the evening. End of the tour.Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
No Credit Cards required. Book With Flexibility. If your plans change, you can easily change the date or cancel the tour.