Qurghonteppa written also as Kurgan Teppe sometimes but officially known as Bokhtar, the city lies in southwest Tajikistan. Bokhtar is countries’ third-largest city has a population of around 80,000 people and is the capital of the Khatlon region. The town is located about 100 km south of Dushanbe and 150 km north of Kunduz town in Afganistan. The city is settled in the upper part of the Vakhsh valley in the center of a rich oasis.

The precise origins of Kurgan Teppa are unknown, some sources suggest there was human habitation here as early as the 7th century. In the Middle Ages, the region was known as Khuttal and the city itself as Levaqand or Vakhsh. The modern city dates to the Soviet period, with many of the buildings dating from the 1970s and 1980s. The most bustling period of Qurghonteppa’s history was during Tajikistan’s civil war. Qurghonteppa was the home of the Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP), one of the key opposition groups. In 1992-1993 some of the most serious fightings took place in and around the city: buildings were burnt out, tens of thousands of people were killed or fled across the border into Afghanistan and Qurghonteppa’s crops and factories were razed to the ground.

How to get to QURGHONTEPPA

Bocktar is quite close to Dushanbe, just 100km on the straightforward road. The road conditions are generally good, and there is little other traffic. You can take a shared taxis the journey takes just around two hours. Shared taxis leave from the bus stand in Dushanbe’s 46th Microdistrict at Nazarshoev Street in the south of the city and drop you at the main bus station in the northwest of Bocktar. 

For those traveling further south, it is possible to avoid Bocktar by taking a turn to the right just before the large bridge over the Vakhsh, 10 km before reaching the town. This road follows the right bank, running along the edge of low foothills, giving good views across the plains. The road joins the main road at the bridge near Jilikul, at 167 km from Dushanbe. The main road goes south from Qurghan Tappa, passing through cotton and wheat fields, small villages and isolated mud-brick houses. Many southern villages have been rebuilt completely since the civil war of the 1990s. This was the area hardest hit in those bloody times, and it speaks much for the resilience and drive of the Tajiks that the south is now at peace.

There is a railway station just outside Kurgan Teppa, which is on the line to Kulob, however, it no longer seems to be operational. Likewise, there is an airport but at the time of going to print it doesn’t seem to operate commercial flights.

Qurghonteppa sights

For such a small town that severely damaged by the civil war, Qurghonteppa has a surprisingly high number of interesting sites: three museums, a bazaar, a cultural center and numerous monuments, from the ubiquitous Rudaki to a rather less common monument to tractors. The city center lies at the end of Somoni Street, where stands a statue of Bobojon Gafurov, eminent historian, General Secretary of the Communist Party 1946 – 1956, who wrote the seminal book ‘TheTajiks’, which tracked the separate identity of the Tajik race. 

Khatlon Region Local History Museum

Khatlon Region Local History Museum is located on the Borbad str 10 perhaps the most interesting historical collection is held here. The museum is large and the new museum one opened by President Rahmon himself. There you can observe a wide variety of exhibits: dioramas featuring stuffed local wildlife, scale models of what Takht i Sangin and Ajjin Teppa might have looked like, cases of dried insects and a good collection of traditional textiles. 

Museum of Historical and Regional Studies of Kurgan Teppa City in Honour of Bibi Khanym

Museum of Historical and Regional Studies of Kurgan Teppa City in Honour of Bibi Khanym is an extraordinary-looking structure on a small hill. The colorful minaret projecting through the roof implies a religious building, but in fact, it is, as the name suggests, dedicated to the city’s past. The collection of the museum presents unique materials on the ethnography and culture of this area.


Lagman Ancient Town

Lagman ancient settlement located near Qurghonteppa on the banks of the Vakhsh River which belongs to 10- 13th centuries. In the 1940s archaeologists examined it and discovered pipes from an ancient water supply system, brick wells, and six-meter fortress walls with towers. This town was one of the ancient Bactrian settlements and occupied an area of 43 ha.

Page updated 1.1.2021

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