Kulyab is one of the most ancient cities of Tajikistan. It is located in the Valley Yakhsu, at the foot of the ridge Hazratishokh.
The name of this city was originated from Tajik “kulob”, that means “lake water”. First mentions of this city date back to the eighth century. In 2006 Kulyab celebrated its 2700 anniversary. For many centuries Kulyab had been the cultural, trade and economic center of Khatlonsk region. The city was on one of the ways of the Great Silk Road and had close trade and economic and cultural relations with many countries of the East and West.
The city was firstly mentioned under the modern name in the XIII century.
In the Middle Ages Kulyab was the center of Kulyab khanate of Bukhara Kingdom. At that time the city was an important political, economic and cultural center. A large number of maktabs (schools) and madrassahs (institutions of higher education) functioned here. Various handicrafts and trade were developed, literary and scientific clubs were active. In the XVII-XIX centuries forty poets lived and were engaged in creative work in Kulyab. The remains of buildings and mausoleums demonstrate a highly developed culture, architecture and construction.
At the beginning of the XX century Kulyab was the biggest city of East Bukhara and had 20 blocks. Various kinds of craft were highly developed. They included weaving (silk of high quality: brocade, alochi, kurtachi, syuzane), jewelry, pottery and leather production, joinery, production of knives, tackle, weapon and other metal items. The trade and bazaars were developed in the city. Kulyab was famous for its embroidery (gulduzi and chakan), they had their unique original form and colors.
The city got the present status in 1934. The mausoleum of Mir Said Alii Khamadoni, the poet, philosopher and sage of the XIV century, stands out against main sights. His son Mukhammad, many relatives were buried here. Also the former keeper of the mausoleum and mosque, sheikh Shokhi Tolikoni from the Afghan city Tolukana lie here. There is also the historical museum in the city.