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Baljuvon

Baljuvon is a historical region of Tajikistan. Results of long-term archaeological digs in Kuruksay near present-day Baljuvon testify that 800–200 thousand years ago savannah-type steppe vegetation predominated in this area and there were such exotic animals as Stenton horses, rhinoceroses, monkeys related to present-day baboons, sabre-toothed tigers, giraffes, and elephant’s ancestors – the archidiskidon and mastodon.

More than a thousand years ago Baljuvon was nominally part of the Samanid state. In the 1860s Baljuvon was incorporated into the Bukhara emirate and became one of its rich suburbs. Areas of the present-day settlements of Khatlon region – Danghara, Temurmalik, most of Vose and Khovaling districts as well as Kangurt, Sari-Khosor, Jorubqul, and Tutkavul — were part of Baljuvon suburb. There were about 20,000 households with a population of 60,000 which was mostly engaged in agriculture. The centre of Baljuvon was Kangurt, where on Saturdays and  ednesdays a large bazaar was held in which locally-produced items, and goods from India, Turkestan, Afghanistan, and Russia were sold. Local craftsmen produced silver goods, cotton and silk fabrics, copper, wooden and earthenware crockery, and felt.

In the late 19th century Baljuvon suburb experienced several consecutive years of drought which caused crop failure and the peasants were not able to pay their taxes in full. 1885 was the first good year for crops after several years of drought, and the peasants were expected to pay all their taxes not only for that year but also the arrears for prior years. This caused a great rebellion among the local peasants and led to serious clashes with officialdom. The peasant’s revolt was headed by Vose. It was put down by force and Vose was executed.

In the 1920s, during the establishment of Soviet rule, there was fierce fighting in Baljuvon between Red Army units and local groups supported from outside. The well-known Turkish general, Enver-Pasha, fought in this area. He was killed and buried in Baljuvon. In Soviet times his burial place was not specialy commemorated, although local residents knew where his grave was. In 1996 Turkey, with the permission and assistance of the Tajik government, identified the exact location of Enver- Pasha’s burial place and took his remains to Turkey. Nowadays, Baljuvon District is part of Khatlon region and is one of the most beautiful places in the country, with rich flora and fauna. In November 2001 the Government of Tajikistan declared Baljuvon District an international tourism zone and in summer 2002 a program of development of the district as an international tourism zone for 2002–12 was begun. Measures for the development of the district’s tourist capacity are defined in the program. In particular, a 3-star hotel for 50 guests, two hydropower stations with a capacity of 750 kW each, a rehabilitation centre, a tourist centre, and a museum of regional studies will be constructed.