Khujand (Tajik: Хуҷанд, romanized: Xujand; Uzbek: Xo‘jand/Хўжанд; Persian: خجند, romanized: Xojand), sometimes spelled Khodjent and known as Leninabad (Tajik: Ленинобод, romanized: Leninobod; Persian: لنینآباد, romanized: Leninâbâd) in 1936–1991, is the second-largest city of Tajikistan and the capital of the northernmost province of Tajikistan, now called Sughd. Khujand is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia, dating back about 2,500 years. It is situated on the Syr Darya at the mouth of the Fergana Valley and was a major city along the ancient Silk Road, mainly inhabited by ethnic Tajiks. It is proximate to both the Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan borders.
Хуҷанд (in Tajik)
View on the right side of the Syr River
|• City||40 km2 (20 sq mi)|
|• Metro||2 651.7 km2 (1 023.8 sq mi)|
|Elevation||300 m (1,000 ft)|
|• Density||4,242.5/km2 (10,988/sq mi)|
|• Metro||724 200|
|Area code(s)||00 992 3422|
Khujand is the site of Cyropolis (Κυρούπολις) which was established when king Cyrus the Great founded the city during his last expedition against the Saka tribe of Massagetae shortly before his death. Alexander the Great later built his furthest Greek settlement near Cyropolis in 329 BC and named it Alexandria Eschate (Greek: Ἀλεξάνδρεια Ἐσχάτη) or "Alexandria The Furthest". The city would form a bastion for the Greek settlers against the nomadic Scythian tribes who lived north of the Syr Darya River. According to the Roman writer Curtius, Alexandria Ultima (Alexandria the Furthest) retained its Hellenistic culture as late as 30 BC.
The city became a major staging point on the northern Silk Road. It also became a cultural hub and several famous poets and scientists came from this city.
In the early 8th century, Khujand was captured by the forces of the Umayyad Caliphate, under Qutayba ibn Muslim. The city was incorporated into the Umayyad and subsequent Abbasid Caliphates, and a process of Islamicization began. In the late 9th century, however, it reverted to local rule of Turkic governors, and eventually incorporated for a short period into the Samanid Empire. It came under the rule of the Kara-Khanid Khanate in 999 and after the division of Kara Khanids in 1042, it was initially part of Eastern Kara Khanids, and then later passed to the western one. Karakhitans conquered it in 1137, but it passed to Khwarazmshahs in 1211. In AD 1220, it strongly resisted the Mongol hordes and was thus laid to waste – around 20,000 Mongol soldiers surrounded the city and besieged it but a local man opened the doors of the city and let the Mongol army in. In the 14th century, the city was part of the Chagatai Khanate until it was incorporated into the Timurid Dynasty' in the late 14th century, under which it flourished greatly. The Shaybanid dynasty of Bukhara next annexed Khojand, until it was taken over by the Kokand Khanate in 1802, however Bukhara regained it in 1842 until it was lost a few decades later to the Russia.
In 1866, as most of Central Asia was occupied by Russian Empire, the city became part of the General Governorate of Turkestan, under Tsarist Russia. The threat of forced conscription during World War I led to protests in the city in July 1916, which turned violent when demonstrators attacked Russian soldiers.
In 1918 when Turkestan ASSR was dismantled, the city became a part of Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1929 in order to gain a sufficient number of inhabitants for the newly created Soviet Republic of Tajikistan (Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic) the city of Khujand, inhabited mainly by ethnic Tajiks, was transferred by Soviet Communists from Uzbek SSR to the Tajik SSR. The city was renamed Leninabad on 10 January 1936 and it remained part of the Soviet Union until 1991.
With the independence of Tajikistan, Khujand became the second largest city in the nation. It reverted to its original name in 1992 after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
In 1996 the city experienced the Ashurov protests during which citizens called for the President, Emomali Rakhmonov to step down. The popular protests were followed by a protest from the city's prisoners, many of whom had been sentenced to long jail terms for minor crimes and who were living in poor conditions. The protest led to the Khujand prison riot in which between 24 and 150 prisoners were killed.
In the early 2000s many residents of Khujand had little to no access to water, and what water they did have was unsafe to drink and had to be boiled. In 2004, The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development joined to help improve the situation, providing 32,000 water meters for inhabitants and developing improved access to water. Residents pay for their water supply, which in turn helps Khujand's municipal water company to continue to renovate and improve their services. The project is in its third stage of development, and should be completed by 2017. In comparison to other Central Asian projects aiming to improve access to water, this project is considered a success and has been applied to Kyrgyz cities and towns such as Osh, Jalal-Abad, Karabalta, and Talas, with a possible extension into the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek.
Khujand Airport has regularly scheduled flights to Dushanbe as well as several international destinations (mainly in Russia). There is also a rail connection between Khujand and Samarkand in Uzbekistan on the way to Dushanbe. The city is connected by road to Panjakent in the Zeravshan River Valley as well as Dushanbe via the Anzob Tunnel. As of December 2014 the construction of highway between capital and Khujand has been carrying on. Necessary works like cementation and installation of ventilation equipment are still going on inside the Istiqlol Tunnel, after specialists from the ministry detected an error while analyzing the 40-million-U.S.-dollar project in July.
The 5-km tunnel, located 80 km northwest of Dushanbe and built with assistance from Iran, is also a transit route between Dushanbe and the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. After its completion, the Dushanbe-Khujand highway will open for traffic the whole year round and the transit time is expected to be cut by four to five hours. Previously, particularly during cold seasons, the lack of a direct link between northern and southern Tajikistan often led to disruptions of commercial activities in the region 
The city is home to Khujand State University, Tajikistan State University of Law, Business, & Politics, Polytechnical Institute of Technical University of Tajikistan, and Khujand Medical College as well as 2 year technical colleges. Secondary education is funded by the state except for when administered at private institutions. Higher education in universities and colleges is subsidized by the Tajik Ministry of Education.
Khujand is mainly inhabited by ethnic Tajiks. Results of population census carried out in 2010: Tajiks - 84%, Uzbeks - 14%, Russians - 0.4%, and others - 1.6%. Sunni Islam is a mainly practiced religion in the city. The population of the city is 389,400 (Report of Statistical Agency 2016). The population in Khujand agglomeration is 884,900 people (2015).
The city is home to the Khujand Fortress and Historical Museum of Sughd which has around 1200 exhibitions with most being open to the public. The Sheikh Muslihiddin mausoleum is located on the main square across the Panjshanbe Market (Бозори Панҷшанбе / Persian for "Thursday's Market"), one of the largest covered markets in Central Asia.
|Climate data for Khujand|
|Record high °C (°F)||15.7
|Average high °C (°F)||3.5
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−0.4
|Average low °C (°F)||−3.2
|Record low °C (°F)||−22.8
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||15.1
|Average precipitation days||11.4||11.0||12.7||12.6||12.0||6.3||4.1||2.6||3.2||6.8||7.4||10.4||100.5|
|Average relative humidity (%)||77.8||75.4||64.0||56.3||48.7||34.8||33.8||38.4||43.3||55.4||75.2||76.4||56.6|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||124.0||127.1||167.4||210.0||294.5||357.0||381.3||359.6||300.0||223.2||156.0||102.3||2,802.4|
|Source #1: World Meteorological Organisation (UN) |
|Source #2: climatebase.ru (temperature mean & extremes, humidity)|
- Prevas, John. (2004). Envy of the Gods: Alexander the Great's Ill-Fated Journey across Asia, p. 121. Da Capo Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts ISBN 0-306-81268-1.
- A Country Study: Tajikistan, Tajikistan under Russian Rule, Library of Congress Call Number DK851 .K34 1997, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field%28DOCID+tj0013%29
- About Khujand, http://fezsughd.tj/en/about_khujand/
- International Crisis Group. "Water Pressures in Central Asia", CrisisGroup.org. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- Rail Map of Tajikistan, http://www.caravanistan.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/central-asia-railroad-train-map-kazakhstan-uzbekistan-kyrgyzstan-tajikistan-turkmenistan-afghanistan.gif
- Trains in Tajikistan, Caravanistan (blog), http://caravanistan.com/transport/train/tajikistan/
- Khujand Fortress, http://www.advantour.com/tajikistan/khujand/khujand-fortress.htm
- Sheikh Muslihiddin mausoleum, aziana travel, http://www.azianatravel.com/en/sheikh-muslihiddin-mausoleum
- "World Weather Information Service – Khujand". United Nations. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- "Leninabad, Tajikistan". Climatebase.ru. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
- Hill, John E. 2004. The Peoples of the West from the Weilue 魏略 by Yu Huan 魚豢: A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265. Draft annotated English translation.  (See under the heading for "Northern Wuyi").