Khujand - one of the oldest towns in Tajikistan, the second largest city in the country, was founded at the time of Alexander of Macedon, about 2,500 years ago.
History of Khujand
According to Greek historians, in 329 BC, Alexander of Macedon founded fortified castle on the Syr Darya River. Subsequently, due to its favorable geographical and strategic location, the fortress was heavily populated. In history this city is known Alexandria Extreme(Eskhata).
The question of the exact location of this ancient city worried scientists around the world for several hundred years. Only in the middle of the XX century, it was confirmed that it is present day Khujand.
Occupying a favorable geographical position in the Ferghana Valley, Khujand flourished, built palaces, mosques, the citadel.
In the 13th century Khujand was conquered and destroyed by the armies of Genghis Khan. In the late 14th - early 15th centuries Khujand was a part of the state of Timur (Tamerlane).
In the 18th -19th centuries Khujand has expanded greatly, becoming one of the major cities of Central Asia.
In late 19th - early 20th centuries Khujand was a typical Central Asian city with crooked and narrow streets, with their noisy markets and rows of various handicraft workshops.
Sheikh Muslihiddin Mausoleum
A huge religious complex Sheikh Muslihiddin mausoleum is situated in the historical center of Khujand city. This mausoleum was built in the honor of a poet and governor of the Khujand Muslihiddin Khujandi.
As for folk legends, Sheikh Muslihiddin Khujandi was a saint. Initially Sheikh was buiried in Unji village which is located in the suburb of Khujand. But later on his followers moved to current place.
In XII century burial vault consisted of a small burial vault built of bricks and decorated with terracotta and spray decor.
The Muslihiddin Mausoleum was demolished during Mongol invasion. But in XIV century it was erected again but with new décor and design. Unfortunately, soon after it was ruined again. The mausoleum took completely different shape and look in terms of construction and décor in XVI century. If previously it served as mausoleum in XVI century it began serving as a place for ritual ceremonies as well.
At the moment the Sheikh
Muslihiddin Mausoleum consist of mosque, minaret and tombs
including Sheikh’s tomb.
In the 14th century the mausoleum was rebuilt but with a different design and now consisted of two rooms. Its new look existed for some time, but then it was destroyed again for unknown reasons. In the 16th century a new building, quite different from previous one in its construction and plan, was built on the ruins of the old mausoleum. It acquired a new purpose – from being just a mausoleum it turned into a mausoleum-khonako, i.e. a building for prayer and ritual ceremonies. The memorial has been reconstructed and repaired many times since and that has led to a distortion of the 16th century look of the mausoleum-khonako.