Attractions

Islamic Site in Istaravshan

Sary Mazar

Shaded by ancient chinar (plane) trees, a pair of small but ornately stucco-fronted 17th-century tombs are set beside a fine old mosque with tapering wooden columns. A set of 18 tiny windowless cells known as chehlk…
Fortress in Istaravshan

Mug Teppe

In the northeast of the city, rising above low-level housing, this grassy, flat-topped hill once boasted a fine citadel. Stormed by Alexander the Great in 329 BC and Arabs in AD 772, only minimal mud-wall traces of …
Old Town in Istaravshan

Shahr-e-kuhna

The old town is an intriguing maze of mudbrick lanes with water channels running along the centre of the thoroughfare. Houses are tantalisingly hidden from view behind straw-and-wattle plastered walls, but occasiona…
Islamic Site in Istaravshan

Abdullatif Sultan Medressa

The 15th-century Abdullatif Sultan Medressa is also known as the Kök Gumbaz (Blue Dome) after its turquoise Timurid dome. Closed in Soviet times, the religious school now gives a broad tuition, including English, to…
Market in Istaravshan

Bazaar

The vast and colourful central bazaar is a town unto itself. A three-storey, triple arched building indicates the main hub but stalls selling everything from 'all you ever wanted' to 'nothing you need' have flooded …
Mosque in Istaravshan

Hauz-i-Sangin

Tucked behind the site of a giant new mosque, the 1910 Hauz-i-Sangin Mosque has fine ceiling paintings and a dry octagonal hauz (pool) flanked by hollyhocks in the yard. The tiny renovated shrine room is the tomb of…
Mosque in Istaravshan

Hazrat-i-Shah Mosque

Half-hidden behind Soviet apartment blocks at Lenin 100-102, the modern Hazrat-i-Shah Mosque is tucked behind a poets' garden full of scented roses. Despite appearances, the five-level minaret dates from 2002.
Islamic Site in Istaravshan

Chor Gumbaz

In the northwest corner of town is the one-room Mazar-i-Chor Gumbaz whose four tin cupolas conceal some of Tajikistan’s most impressive old painted ceilings.