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Tahte Sangin

Takht-i Sangin

This is the Temple of Oxus on the banks of the Amu Darya. If intending to visit, it is well worth first going to the Museum of National Antiquities in Dushanbe. In the foyer is the altar from this site, and other artifacts excavated.

Between 1976 and 1991 Russian archaeologists excavated a temple on a citadel set within an enclosure of about 75 hectares. The central columned hall of the temple was surrounded by storerooms containing more than 5,000 objects, dating from between the sixth century ВС and the third century AD. The temple was apparently built right at the end of the Achaemenid period, but some of the objects derive from an earlier date. The magnificent Oxus Treasure is thought to have been found nearby (see special topic on the Oxus Treasure). Local legend has it that Alexander worshipped at this temple.

The site is impressive, even though the artifacts have been removed and it is seldom visited. There are the excavation pits, with some dressed stone walls exposed, plinths of columns and a pit with the bones of animals sacrificed on the altar. The ancient writing on one of the stones turns out to be graffiti scratched by Russian soldiers. There is a range of hills behind, and across the reed beds of the Amu Darya lies an abandoned Afghan fort. The river cannot be reached because of a frontier fence. Just by the site is a watch tower, and a ruined gun emplacement, a reminder of the political sensitivities of this volatile region. Takht-i Sangin is 37 km from Shahr-i Tuz. From the town re-cross the Kafirnihan

River to the north, and take a right turn after 200 m. It is 4 km to a cross roads, take the road to Chirik (6 km), bear right and at 7 km a T junction is reached. Turn left and left again after 2 km. The tarmac ends and there is a road leading over a pass in the hills, with fine views over the Amu Darya. On reaching the bank Takht-i Sangin is 2 km to the left, but visitors should turn right first to register at the military post at Takht-i Kulwad (2 km). The soldiers are courteous and pleased to see the occasional visitor. From the military post, drive along the track to Takht-i Sangin.


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