Penjikent and Seven Lakes Tour (from Samarkand)

2
Days
Seven Lakes, Sarazm, Penjikent (Panjakent)

Penjikent and Seven Lakes Tour is your ticket to wander windswept ruins, picnic in the mountains near seven pearly lakes and get a taste of life in small-town Tajikistan. Conveniently arranged to start and end at the doorstep of your Samarkand hotel, this 2-day tour is packed with the best that Tajikistan’s western border has to offer – ancient and modern Penjikent (Panjakent), Sarazm and Seven Lakes.
Tajikistan’s Penjikent city is believed to be one of the oldest continually inhabited cities on earth, while the deserted foundations of nearby Sarazm lay claim to the title of one of the oldest establishments in the world. As if these prizes of antiquity weren’t enough to attract visitors to this finger of Tajikistan, the nearby Seven Lakes in the Fann Mountains have achieved in natural beauty what Penjikent and Sarazm accomplished in historic significance.

A driver will meet you at your Samarkand hotel for transfer to the Uzbekistan-Tajikistan Jartepa border crossing (50km, 1hr). After passing through customs on both sides, your Tajik guide and driver will meet you at the border and drive to Penjikent (30km, 40min).
Stop on the way at Sarazm, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and sprawling ancient city founded by 3500BC. The excavation site still holds intact structures of palaces, temples, altars, homes, city walls and paved roads.
Continue driving to Penjikent (Panjakent) where you’ll tour the city’s greatest sites:
  • Republican Museum of History (Rudaki Museum), which has 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 homes, Zoroastrian fire temples, a cemetery and reconstructed living spaces.
During the tour you will have lunch at a local restaurant. Free time in the evening. Overnight in Penjikent hotel.
City Tour Duration: approximately 4 hours
Meals: lunch, dinner
Depart Penjikent in the morning and drive to Seven Lakes, known locally as Haft Kul (80km to the first lake, 1hr 30min). Each lake has its own name and color. You’ll stop at each one, about a 10-15 minutes’ drive apart from one another, to take photos and learn about each lake’s unique characteristics:
  • Lake 1- Nezhigon (Eyelash) sits 1640 meters above sea level.
  • Lake 2 - Soya (Shade) changes color depending on the weather and time of day.
  • Lake 3 - Hushyor (Vigilance), aptly named for its past reputation of attracting snakes.
  • Lake 4 - Nofin (Umbilicial Cord) is 2.5 kilometers long but only about 200 meters wide.
  • Lake 5 - Khurdak (Baby), the smallest of all the lakes at only .025 square kilometers.
  • Lake 6 - Marguzor (Meadow) is the largest and most beautiful of the Seven Lakes.
  • Lake 7 - Hazorchashma (Thousand Springs), the highest lake at 2400 meters above sea level.
Stretch your legs with a 30-40-minute hike between the sixth and seventh lakes, the latter of which is situated along a small river. After a picnic lunch, go for a stroll around a nearby village and take photos along the way.
After visiting Seven Lakes, drive back to the Jartepa border, pass through customs and cross into Uzbekistan. A driver will meet you to complete the drive to Samarkand.
Arrive to your Samarkand hotel. End of Penjikent and Seven Lakes Tour.
Meals: breakfast, picnic lunch

Note: Due to weather conditions, this tour is available only from April-October.

Price includes:

  • All transportation in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (1-3 people by car; 4-8 in minivan; 4WD at Seven Lakes);
  • Private, local English-speaking guide for your entire time in Tajikistan;
  • Entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary;
  • Two lunches, one dinner and one breakfast.

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