Ruins of Bunjikath, a major Sogdian city founded by the Achaemenids of Persia in the 5th century BC. It was taken by Alexander in the 3rd century BC, was controlled by the Kushan Empire from the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD, then by the Sassanid Empire of Iran until invaded by the Hephtalite Huns in the 5th. who held it until the Western Blue Turks from Siberia took it in the 6th. Penjikent felt the Tang Chinese presence early in the 8th century but the city was abandoned after the Tang were chased out of Central Asia by a coalition of Arabs, Turks and Tibetans in 751.

The very competent ex Intourist guide Hamrakul knew every stone of the vast expanse of these ruins. Of the several photos I took of what looks like a chaotic mass of rubble, this one is the most interesting. It shows the remains of a Zoroastrian temple more than 2000 years old. It is said that the two alcoves seen above, held images of Ahura Mazda, the god of good, and of Ahriman, the god of evil.

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