Looking almost as aged as some of the exhibits it houses, this dusty old museum, with its threadbare carpets and uneven floors, has a certain charm about it, not least for the quality of the collection therein and the enthusiasm of its friendly caretakers. Many of the exhibits, which focus largely on archaeological finds, represent key pieces of Central Asian history and trump the copies in the National Museum.
The 13m-long reclining Buddha, for example, is the original removed in 92 segments from Ajina Teppe in 1966. Dating from the Kushan era (around AD 500), this is the largest Buddha statue in Central Asia. Other interesting pieces include figures buried with beads from the archaeological site in Sarazm (near Penjikent), bronze mountain goats fashioned as 5th-century BC throne fragments, and some beautiful carved ivory scabbards.