Penjikent is a city in the western part of Tajikistan on the left bank of the Zaravshan River east of Samarkand. The city rises at an altitude of 900 meters above sea level. Penjikent is known in tourist circles for its sights, architectural monuments and a wonderful recreational area on the Zaravshan coast. Penjikent received the status of a city in 1953. The population of Penjikent in 2003 was 34 thousand people.
Penjikent is one of the oldest cities of Central Asia, whose venerable age is 5500 years. The name of the city is translated into German as “Five Villages”. It is reasonable to assume that the history of this amazing city actually began with the five settlements that were once located on this territory.
In the 5th and 8th centuries AD, the city was one of the most important cultural and craft centres of the Zoroastrian Sogdiana. At that time the city was even called “Central Asian Pompeii” – so amazing and unusual. The ancient city was a magnificently fortified, well equipped city with a ruler’s palace, two temples, markets, rich dwellings of the population, decorated with numerous paintings, wooden and clay sculptures of ancient gods.
Penjikent was the last city on the Great Silk Road, which leads from Samarkand to the mountains of Kuhistan. And it was very profitable, because no caravan, no man who descended from the mountains to Samarkand and returned, could not avoid the city.