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 Gissar fortress

Gissar fortress is situated in 26 km. from Dushanbe in the center of Gissar valley, the most green and densely-populated part of the country. From all sides the city is surrounded with the mountains: from the North – Gissar range, from the South – the Gazimalik mountains, from the Southwest – the Babatag mountains.
Gissar fortress has been known for more than 2500 years. Being the residence of Gissar bek, the governor-general of the emir of Bukhara, the fortress, as we would say now, was an important administrative and political center of ancient Tajikistan. In the XVI century the majestic stone gates were constructed in the fortress. The fortress, which had the walls of 1 meter thick, loopholes for guns and cannons, was guarded. Inside there was a pool and a garden. Large staircases and terraces, surrounded by bricks led to the main entrance. Time did not spare the fortress and its structures. Instead of walls with loopholes, only contours remained. There is no palace and stairs with terraces. The only thing that remained is a monumental gateway of brick with two cylindrical towers, between which there is an ogival arch. Most of gate in Bukhara of the 18 - 19 centuries were built in this way. But even this piece now looks quite impressive. Besides the castle there are two huge plane trees, which are about 500-700 years old.
The old madrassah (Medresei-kukhna) of the XVI– XVII centuries remained till now days. It is a portal and domed construction with wide yard, inside of which there are khujris (cells), library and new madrassah (Medresei-nav) of the XVII–XVIII centuries. Only two-storied façade remained from. Later all constructions, representing the architectural ensemble, and which resemble the ensembles of Bukhara and Samarkand, were restored, and today they are similar to the original appearance. At the beginning of the XX century from 100 to 150 students learned in Medresei-kukhna. In 1921 the lessons stopped.
The mausoleum Makhdumi Azam of the XVI–XVII centuries is located to the south of the old madrassah. Makhdumi Azam means “The Greatest master” and it is not a name, but a title or a nickname. It is interesting, but on the territory of Central Asia there are several complexes with the same name. They are connected to different real people, state or religious figures. The researches have to know, who was buried in Gissar fortress, although there are some versions and suppositions on this point.
One more notable local monument is a dome mosque Sangin (XII–XVI centuries). Sangin is translated as “stone”. The title of the mosque is connected to the fact that the walls are revetted from bricks till the middle of its height. The unique peculiarity of the construction is that there are four resonators on the level of under cupola constructions in the form of ceramic jugs without bottom and which are walled up in the bricks. The resonators served to improve the acoustic qualities of the interior rooms where people prayed.
One more construction on the territory of the complex is caravanserai “Khishtin” (hotel, victualling-house). Khishtin is translated as “brick”.

Other sights of Gissar region