Khujand city – the capital of Sogd Province
Khujand (Tajik: Хуҷанд,خجند),also transliterated as Khudzhand, Russian: Худжанд, formerly Khodjend or Khodzhent until 1936 and Leninabad (Leninobod, Ленинобод, لنینآباد) until 1991, is the second-largest city of Tajikistan. It is situated on the Syr Darya River at the mouth of the Fergana Valley. The population of the city is 149,000 (2000 census), down from 160,000 in 1989. It is also the capital of the northernmost province of Tajikistan, now called Sughd.
Classical authors state Alexander of Macedon founded a Greek settlement near the site of today’s Khujand in 329 BC called the city of Alexandria Eschate (Ἀλεξάνδρεια Ἐσχάτη) or “Alexandria The Furthest” – modern Khujand. It would have formed a bastion for the Greek settlers against the Scythian tribes to the north of the Syr Darya, which the Greeks called the Jaxartes River. It became a major staging point on the northern Silk Road.
During much of its history Khujand like the rest of Central Asia was once a part of the Persian Empire and its history is a part of the Persian history. Some of the famous Persian poets and scientists come from this city.
Khujand is attractive to tourists due to its numerous ancient monuments. There have survived medieval citadels and mosques. The most known are the mosque and the mausoleum of sheikh Muslekheddin (17th-18th centuries.).
The city’s past is eloquently told in the History and Local Lore Archeological Museum. Close to the city is located the well-known Kairakum man-made lake. This is the most visited place thanks to its very beautiful scenery, mild climate and picturesque landscape. Pure transparent waters of the lake are great for fishing, boating and swimming.
Historical Museum of Sughd
Khujand was captured by the Arabs in the 8th century and strongly resisted the Mongol hordes five centuries later. Timurids ruled the area including the whole Tajikistan before it became part of the Kokand Khanate. In 1866, Central Asia was occupied by Russia, pushing back the borders of Kokand Khanate.
The city was renamed Leninabad on October 27, 1939, and re-established on December 23, 1970. It reverted to its original name in 1992 after the breakup of the Soviet Union, and is now in the republic of Tajikistan.