Saturday, 29 March 2014

Excavations in Panjakent and Hisorak


The site of Kum (to be visited on the third day)
The program includes visits to the most outstanding archaeological and architectural monuments of this ancient land of the Orient, its museums, mountain lakes and valleys where remains of ancient peoples survive, ongoing excavations and many more. The tour is authored and will be guided by Dr. Pavel Lurje (State Hermitage museum, St.-Petersburg), the leader of the Panjakent archaeological expedition and curator of the exhibition Expedition Silk Road in the Hermitage – Amsterdam.

The trip will cover both northern and southern Tajikistan with particular attention to its middle part, the Zeravshan valley which is famous for its archaeological monuments of Sogdian epoch, Panjakent in the first instance.
Costs (excluding air fare)
€ 1695 – single room
€ 1595 – double room
The Friends of the State Hermitage and Hermitage-Amsterdam get €100 discount.
The detailed plan with a handful of photos follows.
04.09. Arrival to Dushanbe early in the morning (with Turkish Airlines TK254 from Istanbul), transfer to the hotel, free time; visit to the national Museum of Antiquities, city tour, the Blue Bazaar. Overnight stay in Dushanbe.
The giant Buddha from Ajina-tepe (7th century) in the Museum of Antiquities
with the members of Panjakent archaeological team

05.09. Early breakfast, departure from the hotel to the north, via Varzob valley and Anzob pass to the valley of Yaghnob, where the dialect close to Sogdian is still in use. Overnight stay at the camping on Iskander-kul, the biggest lake in the Fan mountains.
 Mulloqodir, the Yaghnobi storyteller with his nephew at the shepherds’ campsite

 06.09. Mountain walks and swimming on Iskander-kul; departure to the Zarafshan valley. Visit of the site Kum and the castle on the Mount Mugh, where the most important Sogdian texts concerning the events of Arab conquest were found; arrival to Panjakent and overnight stay there.
The castle on mount Mugh (in the center) with Zarafshan flowing below.
07.09. Tour on the excavations in Ancient Panjakent, the most celebrated Sogdian town of 5th – 8th century CE, the bazaar and city museum. Overnight stay in Panjakent.
Satellite view of the Ancient Panjakent

08.09. Tour on the chalcolitic site of Sarazm (the nominee of the Unesco World heritage list), Sogdian town of Sanjar-shah, the classical Muslim mausoleum at Mazari Sharif, trip to the Seven lakes, rest and overnight stay at the campsite there.
One of the Seven Lakes

09.09. Departure from the Seven lakes to the Shahristan pass. Visit of Kalai Kahkaha ruins and Chilkhudzhra in Shahristan (9th century palace and castle, famous for the wall-paintings), a tour in Ura-tyube and arrival to Khujand.
Ura-tyube (Istravshan) is famous for its knifesmiths
10.09. Walks in Khujand, a trip to Isfara with its 9th-century mausoleum, evening on the Kayrak-kum lake, overnight stay in Khujand.
The citadel of Khujand about hundred years ago. Probably, it is located on the place of Alexandia Eschata,
the ultimate town erected by Alexander in 328 BCE

11.09. Flight to Dushanbe in the morning. Visits to the National Museum, Hissar fortress, Botanical garden. Overnight stay in Dushanbe
The brand-new National Museum (opened in 2013)
12.09. The trip to Khulbuk (12th century city now restored), Kulyab, Khoja-Mashad, overnight stay in the Tigrovaya Balka national park on Amu-darya.
Khoja-Mashad, the mausoleum of 10th – 11th century

13.09. Visit of the Oxus temple, the Hellenistic town and sanctuary on the confluence of Panj and Wakhsh, the town of Kurghan-tepe, Buddhist cloister of Adzhina-tepe (8th century), return to Dushanbe in the evening.
The Oxus temple (Takhti Sangin) with Oxus (Amu-darya) and Afghanistan on the background

  14.09. Dushanbe: walks in the town, bazaar, botanic farden, free time, the final dinner
The fontain in Dushanbe shaped after image of lute-player in Panjakent wall-painting

15.09. Early departure to Istanbul (fligh TK255).
The group leaving Mt. Mugh in 2013
The travel cost includes all overnight stays (3 to 4 star hotels in Dushanbe and Khujand, “Indian inn” in Panjakent, camping bungalos in other places), part of the meals (all breakfasts; lunches and dinners in remote places; final festive dinner), ground transportation in offroad vehicles with air conditioning,  flight from Khujand to Dushanbe on 11.09, all excursions and lectures, admission to the museums, English/Russian/Tajik translation. 20 % of the price beсomes a donation for archaeological investigations and conservation in Tajikistan (paid with a separate bill).
The price does not include  flights to/from Tajikistan, visa fee (25 US$), health insurance.

Contacts: (check for updates). Please send requests, questions etc.
Explore on the map:

A new hypothesis for the urban genesis of Bukhara

4 April: Current Research in Iranian Studies

14.30 – 17.00 hrs

University Library Leiden
Heinsius Room (2nd floor)

Everyone is welcome!

For more information please contact Gabrielle van den Berg at:


Pierfrancesco Callieri, University of Bologna:  "Cyrus the Great at Parsa: Recent archaeological investigations of the Joint Iranian-Italian Archaeological Mission at Persepolis" 

Florian Schwarz, Institute of Iranian Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna: “Thinking outside the square: A new hypothesis for the urban genesis of Bukhara” 

Maria Szuppe, CNRS, Mondes iranien et indien, Paris: "Versified Sufi genealogies from late Central Asia (16-19th c.): a new discovery on the ‘dark period’ of the Kubrawiya?"

Gabrielle van den Berg, LIAS, Leiden University: “On the performativity of Persian poetry: the metre rajaz“

The speakers will each give a report of their work in progress in the form of an informal lecture of about 20-30 minutes.

This workshop is organised with support of LUCIS (Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society

Mobility and Transformations: New Directions in the Study of the Mongol Empire

International Conference

Mobility and Transformations: Economic and Cultural Exchange in Mongol Eurasia
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
June 29th - July 1st 2014

Mobility and Transformations: New Directions in the Study of the Mongol Empire

Joint Research Conference of the Institute for Advanced Studies and the Israel Science Fundation

Event date: Jun 29 - Jul 4 ,2014 

    Michal Biran (The Hebrew University)
    Kim Hodong (Seoul National University)

    The workshop aims to scrutinize the Mongol Empire from a holistic perspective and to highlight the impact of the unprecedented mobility that characterized the establishment, expansion and consolidation of the Empire on  Mongol Eurasia. Unprecedented in its scope, it comprises of two complementary events: an international conference followed by an international summer school.

    1. International Conference: Mobility and Transformation: Economic and Cultural Exchanges in Mongol Eurasia.  The conference examines how various forms  of  mobility – of people, ideas and artifacts  – were instrumental  in creating economic social, cultural  and intellectual  exchanges in the realm ruled by the Mongol Empire and its successor states (and beyond)  in the 13th and 14th centuries, and what was the impact of these movements. Culture is meant here in a broad definition, including also reference to religious and artistic and exchanges.The conference  also  aims to reconstruct and characterize  commercial,  religious and intellectual/scientific networks that operated in the Empire and beyond on a local, regional, and continental scale.

    1. International Summer School: New Directions in the Study of the Mongol Empire
      The Summer School looks at the Mongol period as a multifaceted phenomenon in its own right, not only as a chapter in the annals of China, Iran, Russia or Inner Asia, and highlights its  enduring impact on world history. The Mongols combined elements from various imperial traditions (particularly steppe, Islamic, Persian, and Sinitic empires) and made them their own; promoted cross-cultural contacts, religious and ethnic changes; and prompted the transition from the medieval to the early modern world. The Mongols will be discussed in their own terms highlighting the transformations they brought upon the regions under their control and the cross-pollination that took place under their dominion and beyond.
    The Summer School convenes some of the leading scholars in the history of the Mongol Empire, all of them contributors to  The Cambridge History of the Mongol Empire currently in preparation and edited by Michal Biran and Hodong Kim. The 24 carefully chosen PhD students and Post-Docs from Asia, Europe and North America, will not only enrich their knowledge on the Mongols in world history, but also contribute to a significant scholarly endeavor that will hopefully become the major reference work for the study of the Empire.

    The workshop is oreganized and funded mainly by the ERC project Mobility, Empire and Cross Cultural Contacts in Mongol Eurasia.

    For details see

For the Call for Papers please click here
For the Call for Applications for the Summer School, July 1st-July 4th please click here