Tajikistan: Khujand

Khujand is the second largest city in Tadjikistan and there’s quite a lot to explore here. Besides the largest Lenin statue and the Museum of Sughd Region (see earlier post), the old city center hold has a huge Registan Square with a massive bazaar on one side and the old Friday Mosque (with incredibly carved wooden columns in the interior) and the new Nur Islam Mosque on the other side – a hectic and crowded place, but also super authentic and real. The waterfront area along the Syrdarya River is also developed and pretty, with a cable car across it. Finally, plenty of old Soviet architecture in Khujand, as well as a lot of pictures and posters of the current President everywhere. During the Soviet times, Khujand was called Leninabad and the city hosted the largest and tallest statue of Lenin in Central Asia. It was erected in 1974 for the anniversary of Lenin’s death and was 25m high with the base. After the collapse of the USSR the statue was dismantled and moved to the outskirts of Khujand to some abandoned park near an equally abandoned residential district. Here, Lenin was re-assembled back again and still stands semi-proudly over empty land. In place of Lenin, a statute of Ismail Somoni, the founder of the Tajik statehood was erected in the city center. It’s now the tallest Ismail Somoni stature in the world.