Pendjikent — Asia Travel


Pendjikent city is situated in the valley of the Zarafshan river, 68 km south-east ofSamarkand and 320 km south-west of Khodjikent. In the south-east outskirts of today’s Pendjikent are situated ruins of an ancient Sogd town of the same name, which is a unique monument of Central Asia culture. This town existed in 5-8th cc. B.C. and was called «Central Asian Pompeii». It is one of not many well studied ancient towns of Sogd.
Style and technique of Pendjikent culture is near to art of other ancient Central Asian towns Afrasiab, Varakhsha, Shakhristan as well as towns of Iran, Afghanistan and India. In Pendjikent was found great number of pottery and metal fabrics, several thousands of Arabian and Sogdian bronze and silver coins. Unique monuments of Sogd decorative art –wall drawings, mud and wooden sculptures were found here.

Architecture of Sogd (5-7th cc.) represents masterpieces determining the role and place of Tajik art in the system of cultural attainments of the East. As regards Pendjikent, architecture composition of its palaces and temples, according to the opinion of scientists, is unique and has no analogues either in Central Asia or in other east countries. The palace of rulers was surrounded by fortifications. There was a suit of gala halls, which were decorated by paintings and sculptures representing inner world of Sogdian people. For example, there were painted heroes from «Shakhname» by Firdousi, fables by Ezop and Indian Pancha-tantra.

Also there were excavated two monumental temples on high platforms, with wide awnings at the columns and beautiful view of courtyards and ponds. Near the main entrance to the temple was found a fragment of a big mud sculpture of the sitting on a lion goddess and in 1955 – a relief representing Indian gods Shiva and Parvati on a bull, which is evidence of close contacts between Sogdian and Indian people.

Another sightseeing of Pendjikent is Olim Dodkho mosque of 18th c.

Also interesting is the fact that 15 km of Pendjikent near to the border with Uzbekistan at the area of 100 hectares by tajik and french archeologists are being made excavations of a big town dated from 4 thousand years B.C.. This town called «Sarazm» («Sari zamin» – beginning of land) is the oldest settlement in northern part of Central Asia. High for that time level of architecture development represent the Temple of fire with round altar emulated sun rays, public buildings and well planned housing estates.