Silk Road Sites in Tajikistan Tour

4
Days
Dushanbe, Seven Lakes, Penjikent

Weary travelers, shrewd merchants and daring explorers all plodded their way through Tajikistan’s mountains and valleys which once formed an important branch of the Great Silk Road. Amid the remains of Sarazm, ancient Penjikent, Hissar Fortress, a gigantic Buddha statue and traditional Oriental markets, mental images of the famed Silk Road take shape before your eyes as tangible, profound reminders of this ancient reality.
On the Silk Road Sites in Tajikistan Tour you’ll retrace the steps of the traders and merchants of old, following the M34 Highway from Dushanbe to Penjikent and visiting fortresses, caravanserais, bazaars, villages, mosques and museums along the way. This journey also includes an overnight stay at Seven Lakes in the Fann Mountains, a cluster of natural lakes whose striking turquoise hues dazzle the eyes amidst rocky crags.

Arrive in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. Transfer to the hotel, where check-in begins at noon.
Your guide and driver will meet you at hotel reception for a city tour of Dushanbe, beginning with a drive to the sites at Hissar Historical and Cultural Reserve (30km, 50min):
  • Hissar Fortress (17th-19th centuries), where the impressive gates of a castle, once the home of a Bukharin emir, still amaze with their stateliness;
  • Kukhna Madrasah (17th century), a spacious religious school that functioned until the early 20th century, it now contains a small history museum;
  • Khistin Caravanserai (19th century), an unusual caravanserai constructed of burnt brick.
The site also includes a mosque and an additional madrasah.
Drive back to Dushanbe to continue your tour to the following:
  • National Museum of Tajikistan, holding more than 40,000 expositions on Tajikistan’s history, nature and art, including a 12-meter statue of Buddha discovered on Tajikistan territory;
  • Haji Yaqub Mosque (19th century), Dushanbe’s landmark mosque that can hold up to 3,000 people;
  • Rudaki Park, a beautifully manicured park filled with fountains, flowers and foliage, with a tasteful monument of Rudaki in the center;
  • Gurminj Musical Instruments Museum, dedicated to celebrating the musical heritage of the Tajiks and Pamiris through a collection of national instruments, music lessons and periodic concerts;
  • Ayni Opera and Ballet Theatre (1940s), whose gorgeous outer décor is accentuated by the pristine lawns that surround it;
  • Statue of Ismail Somoni, a classy tribute to the founder of the Tajik people which towers 25 meters high in the city center;
  • Mehrgon Market, one of Dushanbe’s newest attractions, this large indoor bazaar is housed in an ornately designed and decorated atrium.
Overnight in Dushanbe.
Tour Duration: approximately 5 hours
In the morning, meet your drive at your Dushanbe hotel to drive to Seven Lakes in the Fann Mountains (280km, 5-6hrs). Travel along the M34 Highway via the Anzob Pass, which at 3400 meters above sea level is considered the best viewing point for the Fann Mountains.
Arrive at Seven Lakes (Haft Kul), where each lake has a distinct color that’s accentuated by the beauty of the cliffs encircling them. Stop at each lake, about a 10-15 minutes’ drive apart from one another, to take photos and learn about each lake’s history and unique characteristics:
  • Lake 1- Nezhigon (Eyelashes)
  • Lake 2-Soya (Shade)
  • Lake 3-Hushyor (Vigilance)
  • Lake 4-Nofin (Umbilical Cord)
  • Lake 5-Khurdak (Baby)
  • Lake 6-Marguzor (Meadow)
  • Lake 7- Hazorchashma (Thousand Springs)
Stretch your legs with a 30-40-minute hike along a mountain stream between the sixth and seventh lakes, the latter of which is situated 2300 meters above sea level.
Go for a stroll around a nearby village, taking photos and creating memories along the way.
Check in to the guesthouse. Overnight at Seven Lakes.
After breakfast at the guesthouse, a driver will pick you up for transfer to Penjikent (70km, 2hrs).
Stop for a tour of Sarazm, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and sprawling ancient city founded by 3500BC. The excavation site is divided into three sections and still holds intact structures of palaces, temples, altars, homes, city walls and paved roads.
Complete the drive to Penjikent for a city tour of the following:
  • Republican Museum of History (Rudaki Museum), which has eight exhibition halls on archaeology, nature, history, culture, lifestyle, Tajik customs and the life of Rudaki, the founder of Tajik-Persian classical literature;
  • Central Mosque and Olim Dodkhoh Madrasah, originally from the Middle Ages and rebuilt in recent times, it now serves as the city’s main mosque and a popular gathering place for locals;
  • Penjikent Bazaar, a bustling bazaar at the junction of the city’s main roads, complete with all the standard goods and Tajik souvenirs;
  • Ancient Penjikent (5th century BC), a labyrinth of walls and passages decorated with amazing murals, the site includes foundations of houses, Zoroastrian fire temples, a cemetery and reconstructed living spaces.
Check in to the hotel. Overnight in Penjikent.
Tour Duration: 4 hours
Breakfast at the hotel, followed by a free morning for rest or personal exploration. Check-out from the hotel by noon and return to Dushanbe (235km, 4-5hrs).
Drop-off at Dushanbe hotel or airport. End of Silk Road Sites in Tajikistan Tour.