Khudzand (Khojand), Tajikistan
The administrative capital of the Khudzand region and Tajikistan’s second city, Khudzand is on the River Syrdarya in the north of the country, at the entrance to the Fergana Valley.
Founded around 2,300 years ago by Alexander the Great as a fortress on ancient silk routes, the settlement marked the extent of his empire and was thus called Alexandria Eskhat (Outermost Alexandria). Plundered by Arabs in 711, the city nevertheless prospered and had many lavish palaces and mosques until it was razed to the ground in 1220 by Mongol forces under Genghis Khan.
Rebuilt on a more modest scale, in the early nineteenth century it was part of the Kokand khanate but was annexed by Russia in 1866. The Bolsheviks sacked the city in 1918, massacring many inhabitants to quell the Basmachi rebellion. Under the jurisdiction of Uzbekistan between 1924 and 1929, in 1929 it became part of the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic (the rest of the Fergana Valley staying in the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic). In 1936 it was renamed Stalinabad, only reverting to its current name after independence in 1992.
Among Tajikistan’s richest areas, Khudzand remains important for silk production. Other major industries include textile and footwear manufacturing, food processing and tourism.
Places of Interest
The Panchshanbe Bazar is a vibrant market popular with visitors. Other attractions include a mosque, the mausoleum of Sheikh Massal ad-Din, a museum of history and a theatre.