Closer and more accessible to Samarkand, Uzbekistan, than to Dushanbe, Penjikent is the old center of the Sogdian empire (1000-135 BC). Tour the remains of the ancient castle or trek in the surrounding Fan Mountains (with many peaks over 15,000 ft/4,572 m), which are popular with mountain climbers from the former U.S.S.R. The drive from Dushanbe is a bumpy but gorgeous ride through the intimidating Fan mountain range. Coming from Uzbekistan, Penjikent is usually visited from Samarkand by making arrangements through any number of travel agencies, including the Intourist Service Bureau located in the Hotel Samarkand. (Uzbek and Tajik visas are required.) Penjikent is 60 mi/100 km east of Samarkand and 93 mi/150 km northwest of Dushanbe.

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