Khujand second largest city – is situated in the north of Tajikistan. And is one of its most ancient cities, founded about 2,300 years ago. According to Greek historians, in 329 B.C. Alexander the Great founded a fortress on the River Tanais or Yaksart (Syr Darya ). Of course, this fortress was not initially really a town. However, later, due to its strategic geographical location, it became densely populated and turned into a large town (by the standards of that time), known historically as Alexandria Eskhata.
The issue of the exact location of this ancient town has interested scholars of various countries for many centuries. Only in the mid-20th century was it confirmed that 4th century B.C. Khujand and Alexandria Eskhata of 329 B.C were one and the same place. It was also assumed that Alexandria Eskhata was not just built on empty land. But in the centre of an ancient town known as Khujand. Which was already in existence on the left bank of the Syr Darya when Alexander the Great’s troops arrived. Occupying a favourable location in the Ferghana valley. Khujand prospered for a long time, becoming rich and building palaces, mosques, and citadels. In the 13th century it was conquered and destroyed by Genghis Khan’s troops. In the 9-12th centuries Khujand consisted of the town itself (Shahriston). Old fortress (kuhandiz) and a handicraft-trade suburb (rabad).
All these parts of the town were fortified with defensive walls. Later the town was restored and began to play an important trade role as a Silk Road transit hub. In the 14th — 15th centuries Khujand and its surrounding region were part of the State of Timur (Tamerlane). In the 18-19th centuries Khujand grew significantly. Sprawling into one of the largest cities of Central Asia, comparable with Qoqand and Bukhara. The town also had its own ruler (beg).
Khujand was situated on the border of the Bukhara Emirate and the Qoqand Khanate, and was a source of contention between them. In 1866 it was annexed to Russia, ending Bukhara and Qoqand’s destructive fighting over it. On January 9, 1936, Khujand was renamed Leninabad in honor of Lenin. City kept this new name until 1990 when its ancient, historical name, Khujand, was restored. This city is currently a large industrial and cultural centre in Tajikistan.