Settlement Sarazm

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Settlement Sarazm

Ancient Sughd town nearby Panjakent

Sughd settlement Sarazm (IV–III millennium BC) is one of the oldest settlements from the Eneolithic era and the beginning of the Bronze age in the entire Middle Eastern region and is also the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tajikistan. Sarazm is located 15 kilometers away from Panjakent, in the Sughd region of Tajikistan, on the left bank of the river Zeravshan, close to the Tajikistan-Uzbekistan border.

The name “Sarazm” comes from the words “Sari zamin” which translates from Farsi as “The beginning of Land”. Sarazm used to take up the territory of one hundred hectares. Many of the public, cultural, and utility buildings used to be located here. There also used to be a castle complex and other cultural buildings, the outlines of the walls of which remain until this day.

During the archaeological mission in Sarazm in 1977, scientists found some unique artifacts: bronze swards, awls, chisels, axes, and various decorative objects. Many of the findings are currently being preserved at the National Ancient History Museum of Tajikistan in Dushanbe. The scientists came to a conclusion that the inhabitants of Sarazm were able to treat and process the metals in the same way that people did in Mesopotamia in the Iranian plate and in the Inda valley. In the IV-III millennium BC, Sarazm used to be a large center of copper, tin, and lead minings in the Middle East, as well as it used to be at a cultural and trading crossroads of the Ancient East. Sarazm is located in the midst of the Lapis Lazuli Path which was the way to deliver the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli to ancient Persia and Egypt.


Sarazm used to be big in the pottery and artistic crafts. This is the location where many incredible terracotta figurines and ornate pottery were discovered. In one of the burials, the archaeologists found a lot of jewelry made of precious stones and metals. This led to an assumption that this was the tomb of the Queen of Sarazm.

Researchers assume that the rich and flourishing Sarazm was abandoned by its inhabitants because of the powerful drought in II-I millennium BC. Locals departed to more comfortable climatic regions of the Zeravshan valley. As of today, only a small part of the ancient Sarazm settlement has been explored which means that it is very likely that even more interesting discoveries will be made which will allow the scientists to recreate an even more detailed picture of what this ancient Sughd town looked like.