Kulyab is a historical city in the Khatlon Province, 203 km away from Dushanbe. One of the largest cities in the country is said to be, approximately, 2,700 years old! The name of the city is translated as “lake water”.
Kulyab was an important center of Khatlon in terms of politics, trade, culture, and economics. It was first mentioned in 13th century, however, it’s said to be founded much earlier. There had been another city in 11th-12th century that was abandoned and ruined, but reasons are unknown. The ancient city situated on one of the routes of the Great Silk Road. Geographical location did a favor to the city by making it able to connect with many oriental and western countries. Unlike many other ancient cities, Kulyab didn’t lose its significance under different rulers and with time. In medieval times, it was the center of the Bukhara Khanate. Many schools, madrassahs, trade, literature and scientific associations were functioning. Few dozens of poets lived and created their works in this city. In the beginning of 20th century, the historical city consisted of 20 districts. It was known for developed crafts of any type, especially, jewel crafting, weaving, pottery, leather craft, and carpentry.
Archaeological excavations revealed ruins of mausoleums and buildings that proved how highly skilled were architects and builders of the city. In the heart of the historical city there’s Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani Mausoleum that was built in 15th century. The last resting pace of famous Muslim scholar and poet is built according all traditions of medieval architecture in Central Asia. Other interesting historical monuments are Hodzha Durbob Mausoleum, Hodzha Mashad Mausoleum, and Takht-i-Sangin.
Modern Kulyab managed to preserve traditional crafts; national dresses, carpets, and textile are very popular souvenirs among travelers.