Istaravshan is the city in the Sogd region of Tajikistan and the administrative centre of Istaravshan district. It is located in the North of Tajikistan, 78 km. from the regional center – Khujand city. Earlier it was called Ura-Tyube. In 2000 the historical name “Istaravshan” was returned to the city.
Istaravshan is one of the ancient cities of Tajikistan. The history of the city has more than 2,500 years. In 1954 during the archaeological excavations a large long triangular plate of black surface of the shale was found in the uptown. The plate belongs to The Middle Paleolithic period of the Stone Age and it is one hundred thousand years' prescription.
According to the written sources and some archaeological facts it is known that in the VI - IV centuries BC. in connection with the development of industry and trade in Central Asia settled areas along with small rural settlements large settlements of urban type appeared. The capital of Ustrushan was the largest city in the region – Bundzhikat. According to the most researchers on the basis of large written sources and archaeological investigations Bundzhikat was located in the area of the medieval and the present city of Istaravshan.
At the end of the XV century the city was under the authority of Timurid ruler Sultan Makhmudhan.
In the second half of the XVIII century Ura-Tyube ownership increased and became independent. Khakims of the Uzbek tribe “yuz” were the heads. At that time except Ura-Tyube, Penjikent, Khujand, and Dzhizak, such strong points as Zaamin, Yam and Nau were the parts of the estate. As the legend tells, even one of the districts of Tashkent paid tribute to Ura-Tyube Bek called Kulik.
In 2011 the museum which is made of wood was opened here. The school, hut and reading room, small oil mill were in this museum before.
There is an unusual ethnographic museum in Istaravshan. Dozens of exhibits store in the hollow of the local attraction – the relict beautiful plane (plane tree), which was called by the local inhabitants as “tree-garden”.
Almost a half century ago the first native school was in the hollow of the plane tree. At least 15 students could be placed in this school. During the first years of the Soviet government the hollow was equipped with a "red reading room", and then for some time the oil mill was located here, until finally, the local defenders of the relics took the plane under the protection. They also preserved five small younger “sisters” but still of advanced age.