The Proto-urban site of Sarazm comprises the archaeological site of the ancient city of Sarazm. About 5000 years ago it was "the largest metallurgical center of Central Asia engaged in export".

The city is believed to have been revived as a mining point to collect from nearby sources of turquoise. Established no later that 1500 BC, the city also served as an important regional agricultural and copper production center.

It was abandoned after the arrival of the Indo-Iranians, around 2000 BC.


Community Reviews

Martina Ruckova - May 2016

The ancient site of Sarazm is to be found about 15 kms west off Penjikent in north-western part of Tajikistan. Travelling from Dushanbe, it takes about 4-5 hours to reach Penjikent and let me tell you, even though you might think otherwise, that's one of the best roads to be found across the country. The site itself is well-marked, behind a small fence and the excavations are protected by a roof. Some basic information is provided, but not very much. Info booklet can be bought in the Rudaki museum in Penjikent. I really missed a local tour guide here who would give us some context of the culture and the excavation works, as, for example in Cattalhoyuk in Turkey. Some of the artifacts that have been excavated from the ancient Sarazm can also be found in the Rudaki museum, so I'd recommend visiting that first.

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Site Info

Full name: Proto-urban site of Sarazm

Site History

  • 2010 - Inscribed

    Reasons for inscription
  • 2007 - Deferred

    To "Explore further the values and significance of the property" and add more protection to the site


The site has 1 locations.

  • Sarazm


The site has 9 connections.


  • Bronze Age "Later, particularly in the Bronze Age, Sarazm complemented and extended its activities with metallurgy and handicrafts, demonstrating the existence of a network of a diversity of interchanges on a very large scale" (unesco)
  • Neolithic age 

Human Activity

  • Copper production "the city also served as an important regional agricultural and copper production center" (wiki)
  • Irrigation and drainage "The irrigation system of Sarazm is probably one of the most sophisticated of the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age in Central Asia." (AB evaluation)


World Heritage Process