In 329 BC, Alexander the Great founded the settlement of Alexandria Eshate (“the farthest Alexandria”). Although there is no clear evidence that this was effectively located in the urban area of present-day Khujand, the 2,500th anniversary was celebrated in 1986.

Over time, the city became an important junction on the Silk Road. The city, which was Persian for a long time, was conquered by the Arabs in the 8th century and then became part of the Samanid Empire. In 1220, the city put up fierce resistance against the Mongol invaders, who subsequently almost completely destroyed the city. In the 14th century, Khujand was part of Timur’s Great Empire and subsequently belonged alternately to the Bukhara Emirate, the Kokand Khanate and again to the Bukhara Emirate.

In 1866, Khujand was conquered by troops of Tsarist Russia. As a result, industrialization began much earlier than in the rest of Tajikistan. The city, therefore, gave the Soviets much greater support than other parts of the country, which remained part of the Bukhara Emirate.

Khujand became part of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1929, the city was then integrated into the newly formed Tajik SSR, mainly so that the minimum population necessary for an independent SSR could be reached.

On 10 January 1936, the city became unincorporated into Leninabad. After Tajikistan’s independence, the city regained its old name. Today, the city has about 180,000 inhabitants.


The city lies about 300 metres above sea level and is characterised by a desert climate, with long, hot summers and short, cold winters. The extreme temperatures measured so far are 45.9 degrees in summer and -22.8 degrees in winter.


Today, the city has about 180,000 inhabitants. Khujand is mainly inhabited by ethnic Tajiks (84 %). Uzbeks are the second largest population group with 14 %.

For a long time, the city was only connected to the rest of Tajikistan via a 3,580-metre high pass. This pass was usually impassable in winter, cutting the city off from the rest of the country. This changed in 2005 with the construction of the Anzob Tunnel, which was built with Iranian help and provides a year-round connection. The city also has an international airport and a railway station.

There are several places of interest to visit in Khujand; however, tourists do not usually plan to stay for more than a day.

Air connections: From the international airport, there are flights to destinations in Central Asia (Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan) and the Russian Federation (including Moscow and St. Petersburg). There is also a connection to Ürümqi in China. The only domestic flight is to the capital Dushanbe.

Railway connections: There are irregular connections from Khujand to Samarkand. There is also an irregular train to Dushanbe, which has to take a long diversion through Uzbekistan due to the lack of a direct connection.

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