Sarazm is Tajikistan’s first World Heritage Site. It is the oldest settlement (IV-II millennium BC), located 15 km to the west of the Penjikent district center, on the left bank of the river Zerafshan. Well-preserved palaces and places of worship, public and residential buildings present great historical and cultural value. Metal and stone products, as well as numerous jewelry made of precious stones and processed sea shells, have been found at the site. The time of the destruction of the settlement coincides with the time of the nomadic Indo-Iranian tribes invasion to this territory.
The name “Sarazm” comes from the ancient Tajik word “Sari Zamin” (Origin of the Land).
In the 70 years of the last century, while new land was being conducted for plowing, many monuments across the country became under the threat of extinction. On the location of yet unknown ancient agricultural scientific world monument, Sarazm, land leveling was also in an intensive progress. During the works, the farmers and the local population often found antiques, such as whole pitchers, bronze implements, ornaments and other items, however, because of their ignorance, they did not report this to the local museums. Only in 1976, one of habitants of Gurach village, a veteran of the Great Patriotic War Ashurali Taylonov, decided to tell to Abdulodzhon Isakov, a researcher of Penjikent archaeological base, about an old bronze ax, stored in his house for more than 6 years. Being an experienced archaeologist, A. Isakov, who dealt with several years of research the many monuments Penjikent, wasted no time, and immediately organized intelligence work. The following year, first excavation was initiated, where the archaeologists found building remains, fragments of pottery and ceramics with painted stucco, grinders and other items belonging to the Neolithic and Bronze Age. Thus, one of the most important monuments of the proto-urban origin on the territory of Central Asia was found.