On our way back from Seven Lakes, we decided to take a quick detour to Panjikent. We had come nearly all the way, so the 20 minute detour to the city center was definitely not a huge undertaking.
Panjikent is situated on the Zeravshan River only a few miles from the Uzbek border. The road from Dushanbe to the city was newly resurfaced, and driving into town you can almost forget your’re in a chaotic place. Then you hit the main road and reality hits you in the face.
We didn’t spend a lot of time in the city since we were tired from the hike the day before. I did, however, want to see the bazaar since it seemed to be one of the most photographed places in the city. For anyone who has lived in or visited Dushanbe, this statement will resonate: that bazaar makes the Green Market look like a well-organized, well-oiled machine.
From the bazaar, we drove a few minutes outside of Panjikent to the sight of Ancient Panjikent, then known as the town of Soghdians. The tiny town grew in the 5th century to house many professionals and businessmen. Today, there is a small one room museum with copies of artifacts excavated from the site (the originals are in Tashkent and Saint Petersburg), and you can take quick stroll through the ruins themselves.
- We didn’t spend a lot of time in Panjikent, but it’s pretty small so I don’t think you have to. If you happen to pass through like we did you can easily see the big sights in a few hours.