Khulbuk is a large historical complex in Tajikistan, which is located near the Kurban-Shaid village of the Vose district of the Khatlon region. The complex includes the Ruler's Palace, the citadel, and the remains of the settlement of the 9th-12th centuries.
Khulbuk was part of the Ghaznavid state and was part of the huge city of Khishttep in the center of the Khuttal region. Modern Khulbuk covers an area of about 70 hectares, most of it is occupied by modern buildings. Only a few fragments of the ancient history of the settlement have been preserved. This archaeological complex was opened to all visitors in 2006 after a long reconstruction. Every year, several thousand tourists from all over the world come to enjoy the view of the citadel and the palace, wander among the ancient walls and buildings, and also see more than five thousand museum exhibits.
The citadel of ancient Khulbuk has a rectangular shape and is divided into two parts. The southern part has powerful defensive walls with a height of about 15 m. Its area is only 50 * 50 m. The northern part of the citadel occupies a much larger area, but its walls are much lower than the southern ones (10 m). The total area of the citadel is 50 * 150 m. Inside the fortress, the Governor’s Palace has been preserved in almost perfect condition.
The excavations at Khulbuk took place in three stages. The first began in early 1953 when the walls of the palace and separate fragments of the walls that surrounded it were discovered. The second stage of the archaeological expedition began in March 1957. It took eight years to discover almost the entire complex, find countless artifacts and household items of that time. The final stage came to the end just before the opening of the open-air museum.
The results of the excavations illustrate that the tradition of wall painting continued to exist in this area even after the formation of Islam. Burnt and raw bricks were used for the construction of the buildings of the settlement. For interior decoration, plaster and terracotta parquet were used. And its own water supply system in the settlement was able to fully provide its inhabitants with clean water. The excavations allowed to compile a complete picture of the life and various occupations of the ancient people of Khulbuk.