Modern Panjakent is situated in the west of Tajikistan among the picturesque mountains. It is located on the left bank of the river Zaravshan, 48 km east of Samarkand. Panjakent officially got the status of a city in 1953. There are more than 40 thousand people (2015) living in the city.
Panjikent can be considered a tourist city with its famous sights and monuments. You can do a lot of excursions here and then rest in the parks, at the banks of the river Zaravshen.
Panjakent is an ancient city with about 5.5 thousand-old-history. It is recognized as one of the oldest cities in Central Asia. Originally there were 5 villages in the site of the city, which later turned into a city. The name of the city is closely connected with this fact, as it is translated as five settlements.
Panjakent was a very glorious city and also known as the “Central Asian Pompeii”. It was the main center of the culture and crafts of the ancient Sogdian Empire. The development of the city was greatly influenced by the fact that the Great Silk Road passed through it. Panjakent was the first large settlement that a man or caravan met on its way down from the mountains of Kuhiston. And also it was the last spot on the way to Samarkand from the mountains.
Now the great ancient city is open for tourists. The ruins of the residential buildings (shakhrestan), the citadel (ark) with a courtyard, the administrative buildings give an idea of how Panjikent looked before. Other than the Old Panjakent you can also visit Rudaki Museum if you’re interested in poetry. Rudaki is a very famous figure in the country and a national her of Tajikistan. The museum not only represents the work and life of Abu Abdullo Rudaki but it also has exhibits from the ancient city of Panjakent and the region.
In the eastern part of Panjakent, there is the Olim Dodhko mosque and madrassah dating back to the 18-19th centuries. Another interesting place is the Kainar Ato spring, which is known to be a legendary spring providing water for Panjakent’s population. There are also unique archaeological sites, like Sarazm, which was considered to be the center of the culture of Sogd.