"Success is not a destination that you ever reach. Success is the quality of the journey..." - Jennifer James
Day 11: 21 August 2017 (Monday)
Route: Dushanbe – Khujand
Distance: 306 km
Hotel: Khujand Deluxe Hotel, Tajikistan
|(Gold decorations around the statue)|
|(The statue of the King)|
Samoni Monument is Dushanbe’s most visible monument built after the 10th-century founder of the Samanid dynasty. The Statue of Samoni with a giant gold crown, waving a wand. Rising behind him is a gold-topped white-marble column reminiscent of a Roman centurion's standard.
|(Clean beautiful fountains in the park)|
|(Dushanbe modern National Library)|
We walked pass the Dushanbe National Library, a new nine-storey building constructed in the form of an open book. It is reputedly Central Asia’s biggest library.
|(Beautiful gardens in Rudaki Park)|
|(The statue of Abu Rudaki)|
|(One of my favorite poet)|
Rudaki Monument is built in Rudaki Park after Abu Rudaki, a poet considered as the Persian Shakespeare. He was born near Penjikent, Tajikistan. He traveled to Bukhara where he became the court poet. His love poems have become legendary, and his poems about patriotism earned him the respect of his paymasters, but his poems extolling freedom and the liberty of the common man, while popular with ordinary people, didn't make his royal patrons too happy.
|(Emerald blue river reflecting the blue sky)|
|(Mountain resorts along the mountain river)|
|(The rugged Hissar Mountain range)|
After the walking tour, we were supposed to travel to Khujand but had to delay the trip as some needed to see the doctor because of diarrhea and vomiting. We started our journey at 9.30 am through the scenic rugged mountainous road passing through emerald colored rivers and blue mountain lakes and two 5 km long tunnels.
|(A rest place on top of the mountain)|
|(Taking a break and enjoying the fresh air)|
|(2,545 ft above sea level)|
|(Mountains with melting snow from winter)|
We stopped for refueling and toilet break at the mountain district of Aini. At Shahriston, we had lunch at Lion Restaurant, perched on top of the mountain, half way to Khujand and performed our prayers there. We reached Khujand around 5.00 pm.
|(The Lion Restaurant)|
|(Hot local dishes and fresh fruits)|
|(Resorts for the long-haul travelers)|
Khujand is the second largest city in Tajikistan. It is located in Ferghana Valley on both banks of Syr Darya River. During Soviet times it was named Leninabad. Khujand is one of the oldest cities of Central Asia, conquered and rebuilt by Alexander the Great, who fortified and renamed it to Alexandria Eskhata. Located on the Great Silk Road, and connecting Samarkand with Fergana Valley, Khujand was conquered by the Arabs and then it maintained resistance to the army of Genghis Khan, but eventually was destroyed. However, very soon the city revived. Khujand is an important industrial, scientific and cultural center of northern Tajikistan.
|(A new building in the square)|
|(The Jame Mosque)|
|(The Madrasah next to the mosque)|
As it was already late we stopped at the Khujand Registan square. The square is flanked by the central Panshanbe Bazaar on one side and the mosque and mausoleum of Sheikh Muslihiddin from the other. Most shops were already closing when we arrived at the bazaar but we managed to buy some souvenirs. The Panshanba Bazaar is the biggest in Tajikistan. With the stately columns that hold up the bazaar, it is simply the most interesting place to visit, if only we were a little early.
|(Sheikh Muslihiddin Mosque)|
|(A mausoleum behind the mosque)|
|(World War II Memorial)|
|(Eternity flame at the War Memorial)|
Later we had a walking tour across the park in Victory Square and passed by Khujand Fortress and Historical Museum. The fortress was destroyed and built up several times over, witnessing the invasions of Alexander the Great and the Arabic, Mongolian and Russian armies.
|(Khujand Fotress and Museum)|
|(The entrance to the park)|
Inside the fortress there is a Museum of Archaeology and Fortification where dioramas of the Stone Age and Iron Age as well as archaeological findings and collection of artifacts from Sughd region are displayed. In front of the museum stands the Kamoli Khujandi city or formerly known as Pushkin Theatre.
|(A line of copper busts of prominent leaders)|
|(The famous Ibn Battuta)|
|(Syr Daria River at night)|
A short walk in the park brought us to the Syr Darya River where there is a promenade along the river where there is a line of bronze busts of Central Asia’s historical leaders. The view of Khujand is beautiful from between the two main bridges.
|(Khujand Grand Hotel)|