You are here

Home » Ghissar historical and cultural reserve. Historical tours in Ghissar. Ghissar area.

Ghissar and Bukhara.

Cultural tours over ancient monuments of Tajikistan.

Now downgraded to a republican sub-district of Tajikistan, Hissar was once the capital and cultural centre of Eastern Bukhara. Bukhara was a part of Movaronahr, the state of Tadjiks. Hissar held the status of capital from the VIIth century until 1920, when the Soviet Republic of Tajikistan was created. 
The capital of the newly established Tajikistan was moved east to a small village. At the time Dushanbe was a market place traditionally open on Mondays, hence the name of the new capital  'Dushanbe' means Monday in Tajik.
The change of capital came about because of the new borders drawn up in this part of the old Emirat by the Soviet Union; Hissar was very close to the new Tajik-Uzbek border. All that remained in Hissar of its high status were the old buildings, preserved as historical monuments.
The ancient Hissar fortress, 30km west of Dushanbe, dating back over a thousand years with its “new” gate built in the XVIth century, shows the depth of the nation's history. For centuries the 'Hokimiyat' (government) of the city was based in this fortress, surrounded by madrassah (religious schools), caravan-searai (equivalent to hotels which housed caravans), and houses. 
By 1980 the Hissar fortress and the surrounding territory, including two madrasah and the ruins of a caravan-serai, were declared a historical cultural preserve. One of the madrasah now exhibits historical objects including tools, clothes, books, and crafts from all over the country. 
The exhibits show that if the people of today's Hissar have anything in common with their predecessors, it is their clothes. Other than that the culture has changed greatly over the period of less than a century, apparently under the influence of the Soviet Union. 
The written language changed to Cyrillic in 1920, so there are not many people today who can read the Arabic style books left over in the madrasah. The crafts have changed, or perhaps more correctly disappeared, in this district.
The wooden, leather and ceramic exhibits are now nothing but memories of the early XXth century. Crafts lost their popularity when most of the district's territory was turned over to cotton planting during the Soviet period, and modern dishes and clothes were imported from Russia.
Today the main income of the population comes from selling food and clothes at markets. Though many people still do seasonal work at the cotton plants, the profit is not enough to feed a family, as they can only sell the cotton to government, which does not pay well. 
Women in Ghissar still make traditional embroidery. Decorative embroidery can be seen on women's traditional outfits. However, embroidery for interior decoration is now made only to special order.
This decoration  being time-consuming and costly  ends up being more expensive than many local people can afford. The product, however, remains attractive for tourists.  

Authorship: Rukhshona Nazhmidinova, Media and Outreach Coordinator, Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia.