The Department of Ancient and Medieval History is the largest department in the National museum of Tajikistan. The exposition of this department consist of nine exhibition halls that are located at the first and the second floor of the museum. This Department displays the history of the Tajik people from the beginning of the first century up to the beginning of the 20th century with its rare and valuable exhibits. They are more than 3444 exhibits are displayed in the exhibition halls and more than 133 auxiliary exhibits.
The exposition begins with a map of historical monuments of the Republic of Tajikistan, which introduces the visitors with more than 2000 monuments located on the territory of Tajikistan. Also displayed an artistically diorama of the Stone Age, where the work of the primitive man is reflected. The oldest historical site of the Stone Age period of Tajikistan is Kuldara, which is located in Khovaling district of Khatlon region, the age of this site is over a million years old. The continuation of the first hall tells about the Bronze Age period. The finds from the monuments of the Bronze Age period such as Zarchachalifa, Kangurtut, Gelot, Makony mor, Ittifok, Dashti Kozi and Kairokum are displayed.
The second hall tells about the pre-Islamic culture, historical finds, including ossuaries, the sacred book of Avesta, the Zoroastrian calendar, holidays of the Tajiks - Sadda, Navruz, Mehrgon.
The third hall begins with a section that describes the firs Persian Empire of the world - the Achaemenid Empire. The most important is the Declaration on Human Rights, which was prepared and implemented by Cyrus the Great (Kurushi Kabir). A unique find of this period is the Amudarya (Oxus) treasure, found in 1878 on the territory of the modern Kabodiyon district. Also displayed exhibits from Saksanohur, Takhti Sangin, Greco-Bactrian period, the Kushanid Empire etc.
The fourth hall with its unique exhibits tells about the Sasanids and Eftalits periods. The word of "eftal" is still used among the people as "yaftal". The importance of the period of the Ephthalits is that during this period the Tajik people fought for freedom. In this room visitors can see a portrait of King Khushnavas - king of Ephtalits.
The fifth hall tells about the ancient cities of the V-IX centuries. Including Ancient Penjikent and Bunjikat. Sogdians adopted many achievements of the great civilizations of their time, therefore in their art one can find both Byzantine, Iranian, and Indian features. With all this, Sogdians art had its own unique style, distinguished by a variety of themes. About all this, tell the findings from Penjikent and Bunjikat, such as woodcarving, mural paintings presented in showcases. A separate section in this room is dedicated to the finds from Mount Mug. In the section of Islamic culture, visitors can see the earliest manuscript of the Holy Book of "Koran", as well as other examples of calligraphy of the Koran, fiqh, tafsir, hadith, etc.
The sixth hall tells about the Buddhist monastery of Ajina-Tepa that was built in the 7th century, where the finds from the excavation of the monument are presented, including one of the famous exhibit of the National Museum of Tajikistan - clay statue of a reclining Buddha, which is 13 meter (Also called "Buddha in Nirvana").
The seventh hall is on the second floor and dedicated to the golden age of the Tajiks - the Samanids state’s period. The town and palace of Hulbuk is the most famous monument of this period. The bronze, glass and ceramic dishes that were found from Hulbuk are abundant and diverse. A set of chess pieces made of ivory is a unique finding. There are products made of stone, found over five thousand fragments of a carved piece (alabaster), including whole or almost whole panels. In Hulbuk's piece of plasters mainly represented plant, zoomorphic and epigraphic motifs, where visitors can see them in this hall. All the exhibits are unique in their own way, but one of them is the Iskodar Mihrab, the oldest carved wooden mihrab in the world. Mihrab is made of wood without nail and glue, by fitting parts. Also part of this exposition hall is occupied by samples of metal products and military armor of the X-XII centuries.
The eighth hall tells about the calligraphy and epigraphic monuments. Samples of the well-known Tajik calligrapher of the XIX and early of XX centuries Hodji Husayni Khatloni are presented in this hall. Also displayed marble dishes with Arabic script, metal items that belong to XIX and XX centuries.
The ninth hall is the last hall of the department of ancient and medieval history of the NMT, which is devoted to numismatics. Visitors will have the opportunity to see the coins of the Greco-Bactrian (II-III centuries BC), Kushans (II century BC - IV in. AD), Sasanids (III-VII cent.), Bukharhudati (VII-VIII centuries), the Samanids (IX-XIV centuries), the Karakhanids (XI century), the Chagatai (XII-XIII centuries), the Temurids (XIV-XV centuries), the Mangitei (XIX century). Periods of paper banknotes of XIX - beginning of XX centuries, and jubilee coins of the period of Independence of the Republic of Tajikistan.
Unique exhibits of different historical periods displayed in the exposition:
1. The marble bowl. Sarazm. IV - III millennium. BC.
2. Marble vessels. Sarazm. IV - III millennium. BC.
3. Bronze ax. Sarazm. End of III - II millennium. BC.
4. Bronze lance tips. Sarazm. IV - III millennium. BC.
5. Finds from the burial of the princess Sarazma. IV - III millennium. BC.
6. The bronze vessel. Fatmev. Ayni. IV - II millennium. BC.
7. Bronze needles with zoomorphic applique. Zarchachalifa. II millennium. BC.
8. Ceramic dish. Gelot. Vose. End of II millennium, BC.
9. Ceramic vessels. Tandurul. II millennium. BC.
10. Ceramic vase. Makoni mor. End of the II millennium
11. Bronze mirror. Tulhor. End of II millennium. BC.
12. Beads. Tulhor. End of II millennium, BC.
13. Seeds of wheat and oats. Kairokum. End of II millennium. BC.
14. Bronze axes. End of II millennium. BC.
15. Ossuary - a bone-storage. Istaravshan. VI - VII centuries.
16. Ossuary - a bone-storage. Farkhor. I AD.
17. A vessel for storing water. Isfara. VI. BC.
18. Head of ram. Bronze. Isfarasoy. V-IV. BC.
19. Ceramic glass. Qalai Mir. V-IV. BC.
20. Statuette of a woman. Takhti Sangin. III-II. BC.
21. Set of ritual stone vessels. Kabadian. III-II. BC.
22. Statuette of Selene. Takhti Sangin. III-VII. BC.
23. Fragments of flute. Ivory. Takhti Sangin. III-II. BC.
24. Head of the demon. Takhti Sangin. III - II. BC.
25. Knife handle. Bone. Takhti Sangin. III-VII. BC.
26. Base of the column. Takhti Sangin. III-II. BC.
27. Hum with ornament. Tupchona. II.BC. – IV. AD.
28. Handle in the form of horse's head. Kabadian. III-II AD.
29. Bronze bracelets. Beshkent. I-II AD.
30. Ornaments for clothes. Dushanbe. III-II. AD.
31. Ceramic beads. Dushanbe. III-II. AD.
32. Fragments with ornament from bone. III-II. AD.
33. Column with the image of a winged lion. Shahrinav. I AD.
34. Base of the column. Shahrinav. I-II AD.
35. Iron saber. Beshkent. I-II AD.
36. Iron knives. Curchat. IV AD.
37. Iron tips. II century.d.e.- IV AD.
38. Necklace. Dahan. II-III AD.
39. Bronze rings. Khalkajar. III-IV AD.
40. A stone vessel for antimony in the form of a bird. II-III AD.
41. Ceramic terracotta. II. BC - IV AD.
42. Ceramic bowl. Beshkent. III-IV BC.
43. Plate with the stage of hunting for a mountain sheep. Kafirkala. VII BC.
44. Plate with images of people. Kafirkala VII BC.
45. Ceramic dish. Acteppa. V AD.
46. Small bronze bottles. Acteppa IV-V AD.
47. Zoomorphic vessel. Isfara V-VI AD.
48. The sun and the moon. Carving on alabaster. Kafirkala. V AD.
49. Ceramic lamp. Penjikent. V AD.
50. Fragments of ornamented bronze vessels. Treasure Shole. VII AD.
51. Caryatids. Charred sculpture of a dancer. Tree. Penjikent. VII-VIII AD.
54. Ceramic pipe. Penjikent. VIII AD.
55. Ceramic jug in the form of a duck. Penjikent. VII-VIII AD.
56. Feast of Nowruz. Wall painting. Penjikent V-VIII. AD.
57. Scene hunting rider with a dog. Wall painting. Penjikent. V-VIII AD.
58. The four-armed goddess on a lion. Picture. Penjikent. V-VIII AD.
59. Three-headed demon. Wall painting. Penjikent.
60. Glass vessels. Penjikent. VII-VIII AD.
61. Silver spoon. Penjikent. VIII AD.
62. Anthropomorphic vessel. Penjikent. VII AD.
63. Charred carved panels with the image of a man. Shahristan VII-VIII AD.
64. The stupa of Buddha. Hovaling. VII-VIII AD.
65. The Holy Qur'an. Manuscript. XV AD.
66. Maioriu-n-nubuvvat va madori-u-l-futuvvat. Manuscript. XIX AD.
67. Stone with Sogdian inscription. VI-VII AD.
68. Fragment of calcareous plaster. Hulbuk. IX-X AD.
69. Glazed plate with ornament. IX-XIV AD.
70. Glazed bowl with an inscription. IX-XIV AD.
71. Glass vessels. Hulbuk. IX - XI AD.
72. Ceramic glasses. Hulbuk. IX-X AD.
73. Fragments of alabaster. Sayod. Xth-XIth AD.
74. A vessel in the form of a bird. Bundzhikat. IX-X AD.
75. Wooden Mehrab from Iskodar. Ayni. X AD.
76. Pitchers with an inscription. Istaravshan. X-XI AD.
77. Bronze lamps. Jaloliddini Rumi. X-XI AD.
78. Firdausi. Shahnameh. Lithographic edition. XIX AD.
79. Jami. "Favoidu is a ziyoya." Manuscript. XV AD.
80. Military armor. Penjikent. XI-XII AD.
81. Helmet with the image of an angel. XVI AD.
82. Ceramic glazed fixtures. XVI-XVII AD.
83. Marble dishes. Istaravshan. XIX AD.
84. Copper samovar. XIX - XXV AD.
85. Copper lamp. XIX - XX AD.
86. Hookah. The end of XIX century. - The beginning of the XX AD.
87. Carved panel depicting a lion and a man. Shahristan VII-VIII AD.
88. Fragment of hearth. Bundzhikat. VIII AD.
89. The Holy Book of the Qur'an. Manuscript. XIX AD.
90. Comments on the Koran. XIX AD.
91. Drachma and obols of Evkratid. Silver. 177-155 BC.
92. Obol and hemiobols of Geray. Silver. 1-30 BC.
93. Yazdigurd II. With a sighn of «S». Silver. V AD.
94. Coin of the Umayyads depicting the Sasanid Shah. Silver.
95. Coins of Ismail Somoni. Copper. Ustrushana. X AD.
96. Coins of Ismail Somoni. Silver. IX-X AD.
97. Dinar Mansur ibn Nuh. Chekan Rasht. 961 - 976 AD.
98. The gold coin of Muhammad Tekkesh. XIII AD.
99. Treasure of the dirhams of Sulton Mahmud (998-1030) and Sulton Masud (1030-1041)
100. Treasure of Noji. Copper. XV AD.
Pot baking furnace of Kulob was discovered in 1993 by archaeologists Samoilik P. and Azizov M. from the territory of the mausoleum of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadoni. Up to day, only the combustion chamber and the burning part have been preserved. At the same time, up to 100 vessels could be burned in that furnace.
The town of Takhti-Sangin is located on the right bank of Amudaya (grecc oxuz) at the foot of Vakhsh and Panj Rivers` confluence. The site links with the gorges of Teshkintosh mountain ranges on the west side. The defensive wall occupies an area of 85 ha. The town consists of a citadel (164x235m) and houses that extends in 1 km distance from north to south. The citadel had mainly accommodated Oxes temple(51x51m). It is a treasury of IV and III centuries B.C.
Horse –breeding in Khatlan was known from ancient times. The proof of which are well outlined in the indications of the travelers, historians, poets and writers. An Arabian writer who was of Iranian stock writes the stories and tails about Khatli horses that he heard in his work “Kitob-ul-masolik va-l- mamolik”. About the Khatlis horses the Greek historian Strabon writes that in Bactria there was a region called Aspin (cowboys) and its centre was Devonasp. Alexander Macedonian has chosen a horse from the territory of Gulkhani(Gulshani) for himself. Tajik poet historian and geographer gives some detail about Khatlis horses in his book” the history of Humoyun” . Nizomii Gangavi(12c) also writes verses in Praise of Khatli horses:
Sat Alexander on that Khatli horse
Churning up the dust broke into gallop.
By the suggestions of historical works, it is possible to reach a conclusion that the merchants carried Khatlis horses to other countries for sale and they were purchased in high prices in the world market. Khat Lis horses were breeding in Dongara in winter and in Terai and Khovaling in summer. The Toponomica (nomes of locations) of the Kulob Khovaling and Balguvon regions have the names which have connection with the name of horse such as Adiri Aspon Aspiani, Miyona, Aspiyoni Poyon and others that prove about the development of the horse-breeding in this location in past.
Ancient Pajakent is a monument of the pre-Islamic period in Tajikistan. The city of ancient Pajakent was founded in V century. Here, from the 5th to the 8th century AD, lived the Sogdians - the ancestors of Tajiks in the Zarafshan Valley. The city was fortified by wall which protected it from the penetration of invaders. It was consisted of two parts; interior and exterior. Its area totaled 13,5 ha. The city was built in an orderly pattern and plan. In V century the city flanked a sacred place which was thought to be its center .There were two temples with similar designs. Pajakent became famous for its elaborate picture schemes. Even before the collection of Shehnae, the pictures of Rustam, Suhrab and other Tajik legendries were ell depicted on Pajakent Paintings.
The Holy Koran is a sacred book of Muslims, consists of 30 chapters, 114 surah and 6,666 verses. The historical manuscript of the Holy Qur'an in the National Museum of Tajikistan dates back to the 15AD.
Censer for incense made of bronze, decorated with vegetative ornament, two stars and two inscriptions. The translation of the inscriptions means: "the master Ali ibn Abu Nasr made the censer" and "each case has its performer". The exhibit was found from Hulbuk and dates back to the 11th century.
Mekhrab of Iskodar (Altar) - (9th-10th centuries AD), discovered by Professor Andreev M. from the village of Iskodar of Ayni district from Sugd region in 1925. It was researched by the Famous scientists Cheylytko V, Yakubov Y, Voronina V.L, Smirnova O.I, and Khmelnitsky S. Mehrab (is a niche in the wall of the mosque points the direction of Mecca) is made of wood connected without nail and glue, by fitting the details. It consists of 300 parts and more than 100 ornamental motifs. There is Kufi inscription on this Mekhrab. Until 2000, this inscription was not researched. A scientific research fellow (now the Director) of the National Museum of Tajikistan Mr. Sharifzoda A.K. researched the Kufi inscription of this Mekhrab for the first time. This turned out to be a statement of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). In the translation the inscription reads: "Whoever during the prayers is in the first row after the imam, then God forgives him all the sins". It is interesting to note that Mehrab has elements of Zoroastrian culture of ancient Tajiks. For example, a vortex cross and a circle with a hemisphere, symbols. There are also pre-Islamic symbols in the Mehrab - in two columns the symbols of swastika is clearly visible, meaning the four elements - water, air, earth and fire. At the top, there is a sign of the sun - a symbol of Zoroastrianism religion.
Mausoleum - of the Great King and the Leader of the Tajiks Ismoil binni Ahmadi Somoni - Ismoili Somoni, which was founded in the IX century in Bukhara, is one of the architectural masterpieces of Central Asia and the pearl of world architecture. The cubic volume of the building with extremely thick walls (the base of the mausoleum is 10.67x10.83 m, the height of the wall is 10 m, the wall thickness is 1.8 m) is entirely laid out of a light burned brick. The mausoleum does not have a main facade, since all its sides are the same.
The building's facade is covered in intricately decorated brickwork. The syncretic style of the shrine is reflective of the 9th and 10th centuries. The height of the shrine is approximately 35 feet, with four identically designed facades, which gently slope inwards with increasing height. The building's architectural engineers included four internal arches for support, upon which the dome is placed. The building's «four arch» design was adopted for use in several shrines throughout Central Asia. At the top of each side of the shrine are ten small windows, which provided ventilation for the interior portion of the mausoleum.