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Istaravshan, located at the northern foot of the Turkistan Mountain Range, is one of the oldest and beautiful cities in Tajikistan with a history dating back more than 2500 years. The city served as an important stop along the Silk Road, linking the East and West. Today, some of Istaravshan's greatest features are museums, a trade and craft center, mosques, and ancient ruins. This is a town of artisans, which is evident from the variety and plentitude of handicrafts and wares available throughout the streets.
The city was founded in the sixth century B.C. and later served as the residence of local aristocracy who built many elaborate palaces. Some of these old buildings were decorated with paintings and wood carvings, such as in Bundzhikat, where archaeologists discovered a painting depicting a she-wolf feeding two babies: a symbol of the West and the Orient converging. Other remains that survive today include a gate, dome, and columns from a governor's residence; a citadel; and a castle. These remnants combined wit is an exiting place for tourists today to explore