Khujand is the second largest city in the country after Dushanbe with a handful of sites that can be seen in a day or two. It is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia having ruled by the Persians, Greek settlers, Scythian tribes, the Arab caliphate, the Mongol Hordes and the Soviets at some point in time. Today, the crumbling remains of the Khujand fortress offer a glimpse into the ancient history of the Sughd region’s colourful history. In less than 24-hours, the kindness we received here made this place so special.
Getting to and out of Khujand
We took a shared taxi from Penjikent to Khujand by shared taxi. Our host in Penjikent told us the ride was 90 TJS (US$9) per seat. Upon reaching Khujand, the driver asked for more for whatsoever reason. We insisted on the original price and he refused to let us go. In the midst of it, 2 local guys came over and helped us out. It was a relieved as they can speak both Tajik and English. In no time, the problem was solved and it was some miscommunication. They even helped us to find our way to the hostel as well.
There are three bus stations in Khujand depending on where you would like to travel next:
- Isfara Avtostanitsa – Mini buses and shared taxis to cross the border toward Osh, Kyrgyzstan
- Yova Bus Station – Mini buses and shared taxis departing for Dushanbe and Panjakent
- Abreshim Bus Station – Mini buses and shared taxis to Konibodum and to Buston for those headed to the Oybek border crossing to get to Tashkent
Similar to Dushanbe, Khujand has a Somoni statue with a backdrop of mountains looking over the beautiful Somoni Park. Apart from the statue, you can admire the colourful mosaics showing Tajikistan’s complex history. We were actually surprised to see swimming pool and a well-maintained stadium as well.
Cable car ride
From the Somoni park, there is a cable car station where you can take a ride over the Syr Darya river for some beautiful views. The cable car connects the Somoni Park with the Kamoli Khujandi Park and cost 15 TJS (US$1.50) one-way. Once we reached the other end, we had the most friendliest cable car maintenance crew greeted us!
This is another place that amazed us. Right below the cable car is an arcade games shop. That was definitely an unexpected thing to see after almost 2-months in Central Asia. Apart from the typical coin-operated machine games, it has a Virtual Reality machine! 1 game is meant to be 10 TJS (US$1), but eventually the staff allowed Gan to have unlimited tries. He even treated us ice cream after spending some time conversing English with him.
Khujand may not has a lot to see, but the real graciousness of its people has truly touched our hearts.
Lastly, if you want to keep a track of all my photos and travels, remember to follow @wanderrsaurus on Instagram!