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near Khŭjand, Viloyati Sughd (Tajikistan)
Khujand or Chudschand (or any other similar spellings) is the major town in northern Tajikistan. It is the second largest city in Tajikistan and located in the fertile Ferghana Valley. The region around Khujand is the wealthiest of Tajikistan. During Soviet times Khujand was called Leninabad.
Khujand is first mentioned 329 B.C., called Alexandria Eschatê (the most remote Alexandria). The city celebrated 2500 years of its existence in 1986. Khujand was an important trading centre of the Silk Road, and many times destroyed by different forces. In 1929 Khujand became part of the Tajik Republic of the USSR. Today, Khujand is known for its textile industry, especially for silk products.
During the fifties’ of the last century the Kairakkum-Reservoir was constructed.
Khujand is a busy place, and orientation is not easy. We suggest finding the Central Square with the fort or museum. The square is also where the opera house is and the Grand Hotel – it might be expensive but is true value for money in modest surroundings. The museum-fort is very nicely restored and the museum is interesting – which is not always the case in this part of the world.
The Somoni Statue is another key attraction. It is located where once stood the largest statue of Lenin in Central Asia. Lenin has been moved quietly into a somewhat shabby neighborhood, but we have the coordinates. You may want to visit it if only to contemplate the comings and goings of persons and ideas in human history.
An attraction nearby Khujand is the Arbob palace, now a museum and worthy an excursion. Its exhibits are mainly about the socialist period, but have a strong underpinning of local history.
A little further is the Kairakkum reservoir with its summer resort.
How to get there: In order to reach the north of Tajikistan, two mountain ranges need to be crossed when coming from the south and Dushanbe. The first is crossed via the Anzob tunnel, also called Istiqlol tunnel, or the tunnel of fear - a project under way since 2003 funded by Iran. See ‘Iskanderkul and Sarytag’ on wikiloc or palmtreeproduction.com. Further north is the Shariston tunnel, which is in better condition. However, given its altitude of more than 2700 meter, access can be hazardous in snowy or very cold conditions. Whatever you think of the Shariston or Anzob tunnels, remember that the earlier pass-route reached an altitude of 3378 meters!