Penjikent Sogdian Ancient cityPenjikent Sogdian Ancient city

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One of the best site if you want to learn more about the Sogdian civilization.

My experience, Explo description: 

Penjikent was a flourishing city with a few thousands citizens, prospering thanks to the silk market. But at the 9th century, the city was destroyed by Arabs invaders.

Penjikent was indeed located on the market road linking Zeravshan mountains to Afrosiab (former Samarkand), the capital of the Sogdian empire. Sogdians were wealthy merchants, trading between China and western Europe.

Miscellaneous cultural and religious influences developed that civilization. As a testimony of that heritage, archaeologists still discover wonderful frescoes among the vestiges of Sogdian temples and ruins. The merchant houses had 2 or 3 storeys and a big reception room ornamented with frescoes to receive guests.

The site is huge. Located on the top of a hill, it overlooks the valley, offering you an amazing view !

The city, like many other Sogdian cities, was divided in 4 parts :

  • The citadel (or the King Palace).
  • The fortified city centre (Shakhristan).
  • The suburb popular districts (Rabat).
  • The necropolis.
My personal recommendations: 

Nowadays, the city looks like a field covered with hundreds of little ruin batches. So if you want to really understand how the city was looking like in the past, please ask for a guide (You can ask for one at Penjikent Museum, or to your travel agency if you come there for a day trip from Samarkand).

All the frescoes have been sent to Tashkent, or to Saint Petersburg Ermitage museum... But some are still left at Penjikent Museum : so it is really worth grouping the site visit with a tour at the little Penjikent Museum.

How getting there: 

It is easier to get to Penjikent from Samarkand than from Duchambe, the capital of Tadjikistan. There are no direct bus from Samarkand to Penjikent.

If you have a visa, take a taxi at Samarkand south east part of Registan (Pendjikent Koutchasi). The trip is about 0.5h, and costs 3$ per person. From the border to Penjikent, take a taxi (0.5h, 3$ per person).

But we recommend you to ask a travel agency at Samarkand to organize your trip to Penjikent : if you have no visa, don’t worry, the agency will find a "solution" for you to cross the border. Moreover, the travel agency will provide you a guide for the Penjikent museum and the ruined Ancient city tour. Total per person per day (transportation + guide + museum and site fees + "border crossing fees") = 40$.

A tip to sleep: 

There are a few hotels in Penjikent. But most of people come there for a day trip from Samarkand.

Useful information: 
Visit duration: 

1-2h.

Entry fees: 

Ruins entry fees : 5$ per person.

Contact: 

Guide and tour : Oussanov Nourali (99866) 2606912.