The Site of Ancient Town of Pyanjekent

Date of Submission: 09/11/1999
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Off. of Preservation and Restoration of Monum. of History and Culture, Artistic Ex. Min. of Culture
Coordinates: The Site of Ancient Town of Pyanjekent is situated in the outskirts of the nowadays Town of Pyanjekent, in the valley of Zaravshan.
Ref.: 1385


The site of ancient town of Pyanjekent is the center of one appannage possession of Sogd of V-VIII centuries. It consists of a vast citadel with three belts of fortifications; the city proper- shahristan, defended by fortress wall and suburban country houses and grounds, and a necropolis. The site of ancient town was built in the V century. Primery idea was enlarged several times and was broke up outside and inside town. The total area is 35,5 hectares. From V century central part of Pyanjekent's shahristan was formed as a sacred place with two temples. They were identical by planning. Every temple had two yards; west and east one. It can go out into the street through the east yard. The temple rebuilt many times, but the main paculiarities of its planning were kept. The base of a composition of the temple yard was a road from east to west, from the entrance column portico to narrow ramp, by means of it they climbed a platform of the main building. The building of the temple had a wide portico, after that there was four columns hall, which had no east wall. There was a door in the depth of the hall, which opened into the right-angled cell of the temple. There is a gallery from three sides of the hall and the cell. There was a special place for the sacred fire in the south temple (number 1); in the probability the north temple (number 2) was devoted to water element. Vast blocks of buildings with shops, bazaars, workshops, network of streets and side-streets occupied the most part of the shahristan. The buildings had different number of rooms. Area of an ordinary dwelling is about 60 sq.m. a dwelling palace of a rich man have a territory of 2100 sq.m. One third part of the building was intended for cerimony, the rooms were decorated by carving and wall-painting. The houses belonged to landowners and merchants. Meeting halls usually had an area from 30 to 250 sq.m. they are square or right angled. In the suburb the town necropolis was investigated. Archaeologists found nauses; they are small right-angled vaults; there were ceramic ossuaries with bones of the dead. The nauses were built from V to VIII centuries. Beside ossuaries, in the neighbourhoods of Pyanjekent archaeologists found burials in the big hooms and catacomb burials. In pyangenkent besides the most population which was adherent of Zoroastrizm, there were Christians, Muslims. Muslims appeared in VIII century. It's possible, some ground burials are Christian. The site of ancient town of Pyanjekent got world fame thanks to wall paintings, which have been dicovering every field season from 1948. The main subject of the wall painting both in the temple and in the houses were scenes of worship to God. They pictured donators in front of different Gods, the donators put wonderful colorfully clothes on and had ritual attributes. Other subjects are: feast, heroic and battle scenes. Details of clothes, arms and armours were pictured more colorfully. Besides that there are one-subject painting there, they are illustrations to fables, parabols, fairy-tales, funny stories. Beside paintings the main halls of the porticos of the palaces were decorated by wood carving. Many houses in the palaces were ceiled with wooden prefabricated cupola, had columns. The surface of the wooden construction was decorated by carving with elements of ancient motives. In the main the ornament was vegetable with high relief figures and completed subjects. In the style of Pyanjekent wooden sculpture we can see general outlines with Indian art and Sasanid Iran, but there are local traditions, wide-spread in Central Asia, in the base of the painting and the carving. The site of ancient town of Pyanjekent built in V century, existed until VIII century. It was a large town of Zaravshon Valley of VI-VIII centuries. It was political, administrative and cultural center of one. The site of ancient town of Pyanjekent is expressed forming of the structure of early Middle Ages towns Central Asia, in the following periods the structure is more visible in the towns of IX-XIV centuries with division of blocks on branches of production. Archaeological materials of the site of ancient town of Pyanjekent show high level of material and spiritual culture. There were high skilled masters of ceramics, sculptors, builders, painters, carvers there. The site of ancient town of Pyanjekent is a treasure of history of material culture of Tajik and world culture.