Visit Guide to Hisor Fortress

Hisor Fortress is more than 2,500 years old. Through the centuries it was the place of residence for the ruling dynasties in this part of what is now Tajikistan. The fortress’s walls, over a metre thick in places, provided them with protection from invaders.

Getting There

The Hisor complex is situated about 25km from Dushanbe. The easiest way to make this short journey is by taxi. In Hisor there are several travel guide companies, and the fortress is well signposted.

What to Expect

At present, the fortress comprises a gate and fortified walls, with several buildings inside the complex. The fortress is located on a hilltop beside the Khanaka river. From the hilltop, a wide view opens up over the large plain and numerous surrounding villages. The strategic position made the fortress an ideal place to ward off incoming enemies, and protect caravans travelling the Silk Road.

The main gateway is the most eye-catching part of the fortress. It dates to the 16th century, although the gate possibly existed in the 5th century. Whereas this arched gateway is still largely original, multiple renovations have been carried out in the last decades to restore the rest of the fortress. Mainly the outside walls have been reconstructed to show how the fortress looked several hundred years ago.

Owing to the thorough renovations from the 1980s onwards, the fortress is presently in good condition and a photogenic place to visit.  


Hisor Fortress is the former residence of the governor of the Bukharan Emir. The main entrance housed large staircases and terraces surrounded by brick, which unfortunately have not been preserved.  The only thing remaining of the original fortress is the majestic baked-brick gates with two cylindrical towers and an arch beneath.

There are many Tajik legends about Hisor Fortress. According to one of them, the fortress was built by Afrosiyob to protect against Rustam, the famous hero of Firdausi’s ‘Shohnoma’ (Book of the Kings). Another legend says that the Righteous Caliph Ali came on his horse Dul-Dul to preach Islam and stood on a hill, to the west of Hisor, which is now called Poi-Dul-Dul (Dul-Dul’s leg). Pretending to be a tightrope walker, Ali made his way from the mountain into the castle, but was recognised and imprisoned there. His faithful horse, Dul-Dul, brought him a Zulfiqar sword with which he killed all his enemies, including the evil magician who controlled the fortress at that time. Two huge trees, about 500-700 years old, grow near the fortress.  

Facilities Available

  • Public toilets 
  • Restaurants close by   
  • Taxis, 
  • Shopping – tourist shops

A small fee may be charged for entering some parts of the Hissar fortress.