FERGANA VALLEY REGION OF UZBEKISTAN

FERGANA VALLEY REGION OF UZBEKISTAN

Fergana region of Uzbekistan is located in the southern part of the Fergana valley in the far eastern part of Uzbekistan. It borders the Namangan and Andijan Regions of Uzbekistan to the north, Kyrgyzstan to the east and south and Tajikistan to the west. It covers an area of 6,800 square kilometers and a population of about 3. 7 million, of which about 71 percent live in rural areas. The main crops are irrigated cotton, sericulture (silk), horticulture, and wine. Animal husbandry produced both meat and dairy products. Fergana city is The capital of the region — the city of Fergana. Other major cities and towns: Kokand, Margilan, Kuvasai, Kuva, Rishtan Website: fergana. uz

The Fergana region of Uzbekistan doesn’t receive that many tourists in part because of violence that has occurred in the past and worries about Muslim extremism. There are no typical tourist cities. Historical monuments, architecture and bucolic countryside are the main attractions. Fergana can rightly be called the greenest city in Uzbekistan because of the large number of agricultural fields and tree-lined roads and the fact that most of Uzbekistan is desert or desert-like steppe.

The Fergana the region contains numerous monuments of the past: the ruins of ancient cities, fortresses and castles. In the cities of Rishtan, Margilan and Kuva, located near Fergana city, as well as in Kokand and Andijan, there ancient and medieval monuments, many of them with links to the Silk Road. Margilan is famous for silk manufacturing. Kokand is known as the city of the Khan’s palaces. Rishdon (Rishtan, 50 kilometers west of Fergana) is largely Tajik town known for it ceramic produced with local clay.

Among the main sights in the ancient city of Kokand are the architectural ensemble Dahmai-Shohon, Khudoyar-Khan’s Palace, Juma mosque, the madrasahs of Norbutabey, Dasturkanchi, Aminbek, and Medresei-mir, and the mausoleums of Modari Khan, Dakhma-I-Jakhon, Mukimi. In Fergana, you can visit an ancient military fortress. In Margilan, check out Turan mosque, Khanaka mosque, Said Ahmad Haji Madrasah, “Yodgorlik” silk factory, where the old traditions of silk weaving are preserved.

Getting to the Fergana Valley

Many people enter or leave the Fergana Valley from Osh, a fairly large city in Kyrgyzstan. The journey between Osh and Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, is done in a shared taxi and takes about 24 hours. Some travelers have had visas trouble on this route due to the fact that the route passes in and out of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. The route is also popular with drug smugglers with Afghanistan opium and heroin and road blocks are sometimes set up.

The Fergana Valley can be reached by flights to Osh from Bishkek and Tashkent and other cities in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. In Uzbekistan, the Fergana Valley can be reached by flights to the cities of Kokand and Fergana in the valley. The main overland route is from Tashkent. It crosses 2267-meter-high Kamachik Pass on winding road that is best traversed in a shared taxi rather than a bus. A new more bus friendly road opened in the early 2000s.

Khujand is the main city in the Tajikistan part of the Fergan Valley. Shared taxis and marshrutkas run to Khujand from Dushanbe, Penjikent, Istaravshan and other southern Tajikistan destinations. In Khujand, shared taxis and marshrutkas going the other direction depart from the central bus station (avtovokzal). The ride to Dushanbe costs around US$15. Marshrutkas and taxis to the Uzbekistan border depart from the northern bus station.

From Osh ro Khujand: According to Wikivoyage: “it's a bit of a trek but not too difficult. Go to the new bus station (not the Stariy Avtovokzal by the bazaar), officially Oshskiy Avtovokzal. About 45 minutes walk from the bazaar, north. Take a marshrutka for 307 som (yes, 307 exactly) to Batken (the drive is stunning, get a window seat if you can). From there get a shared taxi to the border (50 som, haggle) and then another to Isfara (5 somoni), and then another to Khujand (20-25 somoni, haggle hard. Some of them will try to fleece you for 20 USD).”

Kokand

Kokand (five hours east of Tashkent) was the capital of the Kokand knanate in the 18th and 19th century. It has more of interest to tourists than Fergana City. Rivaling Bukhara as cultural and religious center, Kokand was home to 35 Madrasahs and over a hundred mosques. Today it is a small city with 175,000 people with as much of a Soviet character as an old Central Asian one. The main attractions are the khan’s palace, Muqimi Park and a handful of buildings that remain from the old Kokand knanate. There are also some nice antique craft shops. In 2019, Kokand was included in the list of world cities of artisans by the World Crafts Council.

Situated in the southwest of Fergana valley, Kokand has much of cultural and historical interest. The city has a very rich history dating back centuries. The first evidence of its existence — when it was called Hukand or Havokand (ancient Kokand) — date back to 10th century B.C. of Kokand was aits peaks beginning in the 18th century, when city became the capital of the powerful Kokand khanate, as well as political, cultural and religious center. Today Kokand consists of two parts: the old and the new city.

Among the historical sights in the old town are Norbutabi (Norbutabe) Madrasah, Jami (Juma) mosque and minaret, the architectural ensemble Dahmai-Shohon (Dahma-I-Shakhon) mausoleum, Kamol Kazi Madrasah, the tomb of Madari Khan’s women and Khudoyar-Khan’s Palace (Hudoyarhan Palace). The main madrasahs are Norbutabey, Dasturkanchi, Aminbek, and Medresei-mir, and the mausoleums are Modari Khan, Dakhma-I-Jakhon and Mukimi.

The Historic Center of Qoqon (Kokand) was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: Qoqon - is one of the cultural centers of Ancient East. It is located in the western part of Fergana valley in the lower stream of Sokh. Historical Center of Qoqon consisting of following cultural objects: Komol-Kozi Madrasah, Dahman Shahon, Madarihon Madrasah, Norbutabiy Madrasah, Gishtlik Mosque, apartment houses. The most ancient data about Qoqon date back to the II century B.C. and belong to the Chinese traveller Chzhan Tszjan, who has characterized it as a large and developed city of the valley. Data of Qoqon presented in the works of the Arabian historians and geographers in the 10th -12th cc., al-Istakhri, Ibn Khav Qala, Al-Makdisi and in other sources. The city that described by ancient authors is still functioning in this place now. There were 52 Madrasahs, many mosques, caravanserais, bazaars, baths and other public constructions at the beginning of the last century in the city. The most worthy attention are fine and unique by their beauty and architectural shape of buildings - a residence of governors Qoqon Khanate - Urda, Norbutabiy Madrasah, Djamiy mosque, Kamol Kozi Madrasah, Dasturkhonchi, Sohibzod Kazrat, Zingbardor and many others, have been realized talent and skill of residents of Fergana valley, which are admired all people. Qoqon has preserved its historical structure. It consists of old and new parts. ” [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

History of Kokand

Kokand’s historical development was similar to other Uzbekistan Silk Road cities such Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Termiz and Kogon. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “From the earliest times Qoqon was important trade centre, located on the Silk Road at the entrance to the Fergana Valley from the west, which border with Kashgar and China in the east. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

“Last archaeological works carried out in 2008, particularly in Kurgantepa which located in the central part of Qoqon (according to Ya. Dadabaev, member of the expedition) testifies active life activity of the human being on the territory of the city in the beginning of our era that is two thousands years ago. “However, due to several destructions in the city, especially after devastations of Chingizkhan forces, the most ancient constructions were lost, but many splendid and quite original architectural objects of the period of its late medieval prosperity were preserved. It is number of traditional architecture of the 18th - beginning of the 20th centuries with attractive features of architectural school of Fergana. Among them: expressive on construction large multi column mosque of Djami, ward mosques and madrashs in the quarters with different architecture, unique buildings of khazir Dakhmai Shakhon and khazir Modarikhan, as well as magnificent palace of Khudoyorkhan and gorgeous houses.

“Construction of the European part of the Qoqon, which started at the end of the 19th - in the beginning of the 20th centuries, is one of the most significant in Central Asia. It demonstrates stages of introduction into Turkistan and development town-planning and architecture of European style, which served as basis for the development of modern architecture of Uzbekistan in synthesis with local traditional heritage. Architectural constructions which built in modern, Russian, neoclassic and other styles were well preserved in the European part of Qoqon. These are buildings of banks (Russian -Asian, Russian State Bank and others), mansions of the European and local businessman (Mandalaki, Kraft, Knabbe, Potelyakhov, Vadyayev and others), industrial buildings and offices (Companies of Treugolnik, Vysotski and others), drugstore of Vilde, as well as well preserved background construction which concerns beginning of the 20th century. ”

Sights in Kokand

The Narbutabey Madrasah is one two working madrasahs in Kokand. It currently is home to around a hundred students and is not open to the public. Adjacent to it is a mosque that was open in Soviet times. It contains a cemetery with several large mausoleums, where a few khans and their family members were buried. Particularly impressive is the Dakhma-i-Shokton (Grave of the Khan), which features a lovely wooden portal, with carved verses of the Koran.

Also worth a look are the Sahib Mian Hazrat Madrasah, a large religious school turned into a factory by the Soviets; the Juma Mosque, which can accommodate 10,000 worshipers and boasts a 100 meter-long, richly decorated study hall; and the Khamza Museum, a Soviet-era building built on the site of the city’s old bazaar.

Dakhma-yi Shahan (the Tomb of the Kings) is a Khazira (the burial place with fenced yard) for Narbutabiya (died in 1799) and his descendants. Built in the early 19th century, the site of necropolis is landscaped and has a domed room lined with majolica, a mosque, aivan and a special burial chamber (dakhma). According to the prominent Kokand poet Uzlat, after the death of the Kokand Khan Amir Umar-Khan the tomb was built on the orders of his spouse Makhlar-Ayim (Nodira) ,

Khan’s Palace in Kokand

The Khan’s Palace was the home of the last Kokand khan. Completed in 1873, only three years before it was ransacked by invading Russian troops, it contains two of the original seven courtyards, and 19 of the original 113 rooms. Within the Museum of Local Studies are the throne room, with a collection of jewelry and musical instruments, the khan’s bedroom, colorful tilework, a display of stuffed animals and a small art gallery. The harem, where the khan’s 43 concubines lived his mother, has been destroyed.

The Khan’s Palace is sometimes called the Citadel of Khudayar Khan. Khudayar Khan was the name of the last Kokand Khan. In the epoch of the Kokand Khanate (1709-1876), several citadels (urda) were erected. But for various reasons they were destroyed, a small part of the Khudayar Khan citadel has survived to our time. The citadel was divided into four parts: 1) Outdoor palace (fortress) ; 2) Middle Palace; 3) and Garden; 4) the inner palace of a quadrangular layout (68x143 meters). Each part had a gate built on a single axis facing east. During the colonization period, a significant part of the premises was destroyed (the outer courtyard, the harem rooms). At present, the walls of the external facade, a gateway with a dome, a terrace (aivan) and 19 rooms have been preserved. In 1925, the fortress was turned into a museum, in which various antiquities were brought from all over the Fergana Valley.

The initial area of the citadel was eight hectares. Around the perimeter were thick fortress walls. Around this a deep moat was dug, which was filled with water from the Kukansay River. Initially, the fortress included more than 100 different rooms, external courtyards and a mosque. The best masters of Kokand and Bukhara were invited to build the fortress. According to the project architect Mir ‘Ubaidallah, the building was erected on a hill above the high brick foundation. Masters Mullah Suyar-Kul, Usto Salih Khoja, Bukharez Fazil Khoja participated in the construction of walls and domes. The cladding and décor were performed by usto masters Yuldash, usto Fazil Hoja, calligrapher Muhammad Turdi-Ali, the ganch (Uzbek-style stucco) decor was done by Muhammad Alim Sirchi (ganch master), and the facing works by a master from Rishtan Usto Abdallah.

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: One of the most remarkable constructions is Urda - palace of Qoqon Khanate governors. The palace occupies an area of 4 hectares of the extended form and represents a multi yard composition. The front entrance is designed by the portal, turned to the east, leads a wide ramp. Above the entrance in ktoba of the main portal, there is an inscription "Arki oliy - Said Mukhammad Khudoyorkhan" (High chambers of Said Mukhammad Khudoyorkhan). [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

“The complicated plan of the palace containing more than hundred premises, which have closed the area of 65х138 meters. The front door and a residential zone were functionally marked out. In the first part of palace, there was the smart courtyard with ayvan by the perimeter, hall for receptions, exchequer and mosque with the separate courtyard. In the central have been constructed small hall for the reception, groups of premises for khan and economic courtyard with warehouses.

“In architectural design of facades and interiors of the building were reflected thrift and traditions of the national architecture. The special attention has given to the main facade, Darvozahona (gate) and front hall. Other premises were modest enough. In the center of the east facade was erected portal, flanked by towers with the decorative lanterns, underline main entrance. Madrasah Komol-Kozi has been built in the middle of 19th century, to the west Madrasah Djami and was the supreme Muslim educational institution including an audience (darskhona), small premises (hudjra) and mosque - ayvan. As a whole, they make building with domestic composition.

“The special attention is deserved to the entrance part (darvazahana), marked out by the decoratively trimmed portal with flanked cylindrical towers on the corners with coming to the end of dome lanterns. Behind the portal was erected a two-tiered building served as educational room, the top part of which was overlapped by tetrahedral dome. Balcony of darskhona (classroom), directed to the main facade, is original peak above an entrance in the square courtyard (20 х 20), build up with hudjras and mosque. The mosque represents itself as a four-columned, opened to the east ayvan with trabeation. Interiors are trimmed ganch, and external walls have been laid out from the baked brick without plaster. In the southern part of Qoqon is located Madrasah of Miyon Khazrat, constructed in 18th century. It is a complicate three-domestic complex by its a plan: two court yard are located on an axis the east-west, the third adjoins them from the south. The front entrance to the Madrasah is arranged from the western side of the southern courtyard, it is marked out by the portal-dome darvazahana with the wooden gate with carving. On perimeter of the southern courtyard (32 х 26) are constructed inhabited hudjras, only in the southern part is erected multicolumn square plan mosque with the flat trabeation. Here, in the southeast corner was preserved a short minaret.

“Other courtyards also surrounded with hudjras. In the east part Madrasah has erected ayvan (removed in nowadays), and educational room is constructed in the western part. Here it is possible to observe various constructive kinds of overlapping: arches, domes and flat trabeations. Facades of Madrasahs are imposed by an ordinary bricklaying. It is remarkable, that in this Madrasah studied known Uzbek poet Muhammad Amin Khodja -Muqimiy. Among numerous constructions, the certain attention deserves necropolises of Dahman-shahon and Моdarihon. Both constructions were found in 19th century and contain characteristic features of the Fergana memorial architecture. ”

Dakhma-yi Shahan (the Tomb of the Kings) at Kokand

Dakhma-yi Shahan (the Tomb of the Kings) is a Khazira (the burial place with fenced yard) for Narbutabiya (died in 1799) and his descendants. Built in the early 19th century, the site of necropolis is landscaped and has a domed room lined with majolica, a mosque, aivan and a special burial chamber (dakhma). According to the prominent Kokand poet Uzlat, after the death of the Kokand Khan Amir Umar-Khan the tomb was built on the orders of his spouse Makhlar-Ayim (Nodira) ,

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “In Fergana valley have received development the compound architecturally-spatial memorial complexes called “khazira”. A core of such complex is the esteemed burial place allocated by fencing and erected near the memorial mosque-ziyaratkhona. Khazira is one of those techniques in medieval architecture history where has been reflected the influence of Islam and architecture forms. Khazira Dahman-Shahon (the gravestone of shahs) represents a family tomb of Qoqon governors. Its architecturally-spatial composition consists of smart portal-dome entrance (9. 4х11. 7), lead to the courtyard with burial places, and two-columned mosque-ayvan. Carved entrance doors, paintings of the interiors and plafonds of the mosque make decorative furniture of the complex. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

“In Khazira Modarikhan (mother of khan) were buried women, representatives of khan's dynasties. It was kept only the entrance portal-dome building from the complex with the sizes on the sides 7. 5 х 7. 5 meters, with two faceted towers, which flanked the corners of the main facade. As distinct from Dahmon-shahon, there are proportions which are more graceful and considerably smart decor of portal here, where mosaic tiled geometrical figure is combined with majolica gentle, fine vegetative ornament and ganch (Uzbek-style stucco) stalactite filling of lancet niche. On the right on the portal, architect has left in one of the hexahedral tiles under glaze the date of the construction 1241 khidjra (1825). An interior of the dome is originally furnished that decorates spirally-ridge of ganch (Uzbek-style stucco) figure. ”

Madrasah of Norbuta-biya at Kokand

The Narbutabey Madrasah is one two working madrasahs in Kokand. It currently is home to around a hundred students and is not open to the public. Adjacent to it is a mosque that was open in Soviet times. It contains a cemetery with several large mausoleums, where a few khans and their family members were buried. Particularly impressive is the Dakhma-i-Shokton (Grave of the Khan), which features a lovely wooden portal, with carved verses of the Koran.

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “The category of earlier architectural constructions of Qoqon concerns the Madrasah of Norbuta-biya (18th century), constructed on the area of Chorsu. Here listeners received the highest spiritual education. Madrasah represents a one-storey building of the symmetric domestic composition by the form of the rectangular (52х79) with cylindrical towers at the corners. A square courtyard (38х38) with the oblique corners built up vaulted inhabited hudjras. The front entrance marked out with the portal, focused to the north. By the sides from it has constructed the mosque with the dome on the crossed arches and cylindrical drum that is cut by twelve lancet windows, and darskhana. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

“The brick building is completely deprived decorative furniture. The laying of the facade is naked and interiors shine white ganch (Uzbek-style stucco) plasters. The hall of the mosque with stalactite under domes eaves and stellar filling of mihrab looks more beautiful than darskhana. Front doors have decorated with simple geometrical figure that the superficial carved vegetative ornament fills internal space.

“The form of the portal and volumetric-spatial construction of Madrasah remind similar monuments of Bukhara (Madrasah Kukaldosh, Abdulaziskhon, Mir-Arab). Probably, Bukhara masters took part in the construction of Qoqon Madrasah, and Bukhara school of architects was reflected on this Madrasah. The latest architectural monument of Qoqon is mosque Gishtlik (brick). It constructed at the beginning of the 20th century by local masters for parishioners of its quarter-guzar (city center).

“The symmetric building consists of various area of the hall and ayvan (7,8х18,4), oriented to the east. On an axis of symmetry on the western winter room walls and ayvan are mihrab niches in the form of lancet deepening. 12 wooden columns installed in two ranks support flat ceiling of the summer part. Joist ceiling is laid out from vassa - semi-cylindrical poles laid by the convex part downwards that enriches the plastic view of the overlapping. In the construction of overlapping halls, has affected the influence of Russian engineers, the system of wooden rafters with false ceiling, excluding traditional intermediate support here is used.

“Special value on the monument is represented with decorative furnish of the mosque. Transition from trunks of columns to figured bolsters is carried out through original wooden flat triangles with the through openwork ornament. Plafonds of the ceiling were covered only worked ornament of vegetative motives in which red and green colors are prevail. The laconic plan and original decor put mosque Gishtlik in the line of the best monuments of Qoqon architecture. The building after restoration has used on an initial function. The quarter mosque of Mulkabad constructed in 1332 hidjra (1913) is originally intertwined in the housing estate. Frontal raised ayvan and magnificent painting of eaves marked out it among surrounding buildings and underline former public destination. Symmetric in the plan mosque with flat ceilings consists of various sizes by the area of the winter hall and ayvan, attached with the east part. Convolvulus and flowers are masterfully entered in the geometrical frame on the green background of the ceiling, testifies to fine feeling of the artist that finished an interior. Originally planed construction and decor of interiors in the apartment house of Ayubbay, house Alimjan-khoji, the house Qozi (judge) Abdurakhman, the house of Qazi Saidkhan. The simplicity of the plan made in local traditions, and original decorative elements allow referring these houses to uncommon creations of the Fergana architects. ”

Fergana City

Fergana City (100 kilometers east of Kokand, 420 kilometers east of Tashkent and less than 20 kilometers from the Kyrgyzstan border) is a modern city with 265,000 people. Founded by the Russians, it is an easy going place and resembles a scaled down version of Tashkent. It contains large tree-lined avenues and tsarist-era and Soviet-era buildings and has a large Russian and Korean population. Worth checking out are the bazaar, with Russian, Uzbek, Korean and Kyrgyz traders; and the Museum of Local Studies, with displays on natural history, local history and a 3-D map of the Fergana Valley. You can visit an ancient military fortress.

Founded in 1876, Fergana is a relatively young city However, the Fergana Regional Museum of Local Lore is one of the oldest in Uzbekistan. Much of the collection dates back to a regional agricultural and industrial exhibition held in New Margilan (now Fergana) in 1894. A year later the museum was opened in four rooms in the upper floor of the Russian governor’s house. At that time contained 1,200 items and books.

Over the past ten years, the museum staff independently conducted a number of expeditions. With the assistance of the museum staff, international events such as the 1200th anniversary of Ahmad al-Fergani and the 900th anniversary of Burkhaniddin al-Marginani were organized. The museum has more than 10,000 archeological items, including works of decorative and applied art, collections of Rishtan and Gurumsapay ceramics, jewelry and embroidery. Address: Fergana region, Fergana, St. Usmankhadzhaev 26. Tel: (3732) 243191, 243621, 243261

Margilan and Its Silk Factory

Margilan (adjacent to Fergana) is regarded as the sister city of Fergana but actually it is the other way around. Margalin has a history that dates back to the 1st century B.C. and was an important stop on the Silk Road as well as being a silk producing center in its own right, a tradition that continues to today Many centuries ago, Fergana masters invented a unique technology for extracting threads from a cocoon and dyeing fibers. In terms of quality and beauty, Margilan silk is said to rival Chinese silk. A lot silk transported west by caravans originated from Fergana not China.

In Margilan, check out the Turan mosque, Khanaka mosque, Said Ahmad Haji Madrasah, and the Yodgorlik Silk Factory, where the old traditions of silk weaving are preserved. There are also a couple of mosques in the town. Margilan is best known for its bazaar, which is especially active on Sundays and Thursdays and is dominated by old Uzbek men selling traditional crafts while chatting and exchanging greetings over cups of tea and old Uzbek women dressed in local silk garments. In the late summer and early autumn the bazaar is filled with locally-grown melons and vegetables. There is another interesting bazaar two kilometers outside of town that is most busy on Sunday.

Yodgiorlik Silk Factory allows visitors to observe silk being made the traditional way: the steaming of the cocoons, the unraveling of the silk, the production of natural silk dyes, the weaving of famous Uzkek-style rainbow patterns and the transformation of patterned fabric into garments and carpets. The shop sells silk at around $5 a square yard and offers variety of dresses, carpets and embroidered items. Margilan Yodgorlik Factory opened in 1972 and is particularly known for its satin, han-atlas, semi-silk fabrics — adras, shokhi and snipe.

Shakhimardan: Uzbekistan’s “Island” in Kyrgyzstan

Shakhimardan (55 kilometers south of Fergana City) is an Uzbekistan “island” that lies completely within Kyrgyzstan. Located in a 1,500-meter-high Alpine valley, it is a popular weekend retreat and hiking area. Visitors in Uzbekistan are usually allowed to pass through Kyrgyzstan without a Kyrgyzstan visa to Shakhimardan after Muslim extremists became active in the area access was sometimes denied. The presence of Muslim extremist has also made trekking in the area a somewhat dicey proposition.

The main attraction is Hazrat Ali Mosque, which contains the mausoleum of Ali, the son-in law of Mohammed and the forth caliph, and the man credited with creating the split between Sunnis and Shiites. Six other places in the Middle East and Central Asia say they contain the tomb of Ali. In July 1998, a large piece of a glacier broke free, triggering an enormous flood that swept away a holiday camp and left hundred, perhaps thousands dead.

Shakhimardan (Shokhimardon) was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: Shokhimardon is located in the northern large slope of the Alay ridge in the medium mountain zones of the name river basin. The territory has rich and in many respects unique recreational potential. Aesthetic value of natural complexes has recognized long ago and it attracts many tourists. There are some large glaciers, huge mountain rivers and high-mountain lakes. Natural heritage is represented with the unique areas of nut forests - relicts of tertiary broad-leaved forests of Central Asia. A large amount of rare species of flora and fauna are preserved, some of which have been included in the Red book of Uzbekistan. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekinstan for UNESCO]

Andijan Region

Andijan region is the smallest but the most densely populated region of Uzbekistan. Located in the eastern part of the Fergana valley in the east of Uzbekistan, it covers an area of 4,200 square kilometers and borders Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, southeast and east and the Fergana and Namangan Regions of Uzbekistan to the west, northwest and southwest. Its population is slightly over 3 million. Andijan City is the capital of region. Other major cities are Asaka, Khanabad, and Karasu The name Andijan has originated from the Persian word of Andakan. Traditional etymology links it to the pre-Islamic Gandhi Turks, Even though there are not so many preserved architectural and historical monuments, there are almost 380 sites of cultural heritage in Andijan. Some of them are quite ancient. The ancient settlements of Ershi settlement in an Andijan surburb dates back to the 12th-7th centuries B.C. Since Uzbekistan became independent in 1991, Andijan is known outside of Uzbekistan for being the site of the Andijan massacre that left at least 300 — and maybe more than 1,000 — dead in 2005. ( factsanddetails.com ).

Andijan today is the largest industrial, scientific-research, educational, tourist-cultural and transport center of the Fergana valley. Natural resources include deposits of petroleum, natural gas, ozokerite and limestone. As with other regions of Uzbekistan, it is famous for its very sweet melons and watermelons, but cultivation of crops can be accomplished exclusively on irrigated lands. Main agriculture includes cotton, cereal, viticulture, cattle raising and vegetable gardening.

Industry includes metal processing, chemical industry, light industry, food processing. The first automobile assembly plant in Central Asia was opened in Asaka in Andijan Region by the Uzbek-Korean joint venture,UzDaewoo, which produces Nexia and Tico cars and the Damas minibus. The plant was launched UzDaewoo with help from the American automobile company General Motors.

Andijan City

Andijan (250 kilometers southeast of Tashkent, 80 kilometers northeast of Fergana and 50 miles northwest of Osh in Kyrgyzstan) was founded in the A.D. 9th century and was the most important Silk Road trading centers in the Fergana Valley. It was claimed the Russians in 1876 and leveled by an earthquake in 1902 that left at least 4,000 dead. It was also the site of Andijan massacre that left at least 300 dead in 2005. ( factsanddetails.com ).

Andijan was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. It is the birthplace of Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire, the last descendant of the Timurids. Later Babur’s grandson Shah Jahan ruled to build the famous Taj Mahal in Agra (India). Babur was also famous medieval poet and author. In Andijan you can visit the memorial park named in his honor.

Andijan today is a city of 350,000 that lies in the middle of the most densely populated area of the Fergana Valley. It is a major oil production center, cotton growing area and road and rail transport hub. The main draw is the main bazaar, which colorful and is busiest on Sunday and Thursday mornings. Also worth a look are the 19th century Juma Mosque and Madrasah, the regional museum and the Babur Literary Museum.

History of Andijan City

Оne of the oldest cities of Uzbekistan, Andijan founded in the 6th - 4th century B.C., Ancient Andijan was located at the intersection of the Silk Road trade roads. In the 6th century B.C. the region was occupied by the ancient state of Davan which had its capital in the city of Ershi (a suburb of Andijan). The ancient people that lived there developed agriculture with irrigation, engaged in cattle breeding and also breed “white horses”, for which the Fergana Valley became famous.

Ancient Andijon Site

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Andijon is the biggest historical and cultural centre in Central Asia. It is one of the ancient cities located in the busiest crossroad of the Silk Road. Andijon had a significant role in economic and cultural relations of Bactria, Sogdia, Shosh with China (Southern Turkestan). As the other countries of Central Asia, Andijon also consist of "Old" and "New" part of the city. Many of historical sites are located in the old part of the city. Since 30-40 years of the past millennia, these sites are researched. In particular, many materials on medieval building of the city were collected. Till the present citadel and site of ancient settlement of the city were defined and carried out archaeological research. Total area of the citadel is 9 hectares, site of ancient settlement is located in the North of the citadel and its territory is 100 hectares. In the place of the medieval citadel is located "Ark ichi" ("Inner side" of the citadel) quarter. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

“According to the Chinese manuscripts more than 70 large and small cities were in Fergana Valley in the first and second centuries B.C. Location of the cities like Ershi (Mingtepa), Yuchen (outskirts of Uzgan), and later Khumin (Quva) near Andijon is acknowledged by the archaeologists. Undoubtedly, that one of the mentioned city in the Chinese chronicles is Andijon. Further medieval cultural layers were marked in Chordona, Qoshtepa, Ark ichi, Shakhriston. According to the sources, since 10th century, the city was mentioned as "Andukon" for the first time. In the first quarter of the 13th century Andijon was the capital of the Fergana. Later, according to the Bobur's written sources Ark of Andijon was considered by its size in the third position after Samarkand and Kesh. Since that period Andijon had own mint.

“Andijon has been developing for 25 centuries in one certain place. All these were proved by archeological findings. The quarter "Ark ichi" and is monuments (mosques and Ethnographic craft exhibitions) have been preserved its initial condition. 3-5 meters deep of the present densely populated of area of the old city has been revealed cultural layers. Old part of Andijon and its historical monuments remind specific museum under the open sky. More than 100 artisans work in the "Khunarmandchilik" (handicraft) centre. In this ethnographic territory more than 30 craftsmen are preserved their craft. ”

Namangan Region

Namangan region is one of the most fertile and agriculturally productive regions of Uzbekistan. Located in the southern portion of Fergana valley in far eastern part of Uzbekistan, it covers an area of 7,900 square kilometers and is situated on the right bank of Syr Darya River, bordering Kyrgyzstan to the north and east, Tajikistan and Tashkent Region to the west and the Fergana and Andijan Regions of Uzbekistan to the south. The population is estimated to be around 2. 5 million with over 62 percent of the population living in rural areas. The capital of region is Namangan city. Other Major cities and towns are Chartak, Chust and Kasansay.

The Syr Darya, one of great rivers of Central Asia, is formed in Namangan Region at the confluence of the Naryn and Kara Darya rivers. The Namangan region is rich in natural resources. Oil is found Mingbulak District and gold and diamond have been discovered in Kasansay and Pap Districts. There are large deposits of uranium, silver, aluminum, tungsten, iron, copper, granite, and marble,. There are two big mountain tunnels connecting the Fergana valley with the Namangan region.

Namangan region is an ancient, historical region of Uzbekistan. Several important archaeological sites are located there. Archaeologists have found large areas in the northern part of the city of Chust that were part of a culture that lived in the first millennium B.C. In the 4th - 3rd centuries B.C. the Kushan Empire had an outpost in Kasansai district. The ancient city of Akhsikent, home of some large fortresses, was founded on the banks of the Syr Darya river in present-day Turakurgan district in the 3rd century B.C. Its last fortress endured until 1620, when it was destroyed by a powerful earthquake and its population, it is reasoned, moved to present-day Namangan, regarded as the successor of ancient Akhsikent.

There are 27 historical sites and holy places in Namangan region, including Mullah Kirghiz (built in 1910) and Valihon Ota Madrasahs, Sheikh Ishaq Eshon mosque, the Hazrati Mavlono Lutfullah Chusti complex, Mulla Bosor Ohund the Mausoleum, the Holy Balikli Mazar cemetery, Bulakdi Mazar and Bibi Ona.

Main agriculture includes cotton, horticulture and sericulture, animal husbandry, including breeding of Angora goats for their valuable down hair. Namangan has long been considered a city of flowers, and the region as a whole is known for its gardeners and winegrowers. The Namangan city of Chust is famous for making knives. Since ancient times, these knives have been widely known and were sought in Silk Road trading centers. Otherwise industry in Namangan is primarily based on textiles, In the region there are two large silk production complexes, a non-woven fabric manufacturing plant, cotton yarn processing, and numerous smaller textile, leather and footwear plants.

Ahsiket

Ahsiket is an ancient settlement located on the right bank of Syr Darya river in Turakargan district of Namangan region. Covering more than 25 hectares, the city was founded in the 3rd -2nd II centuries B.C. and functioned up to 1219, when it was obliterated by the Mongols. Ahsiket was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008 and is part of the Silk Roads Sites in Uzbekistan that was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010. .

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The city structure consisted of 1) the citadel, 2) Shakhristan (the city itself) and rabad (suburb of the city). All three parts of the city were enclosed by fortification. The palace of governors and zindan (prison) were situated in the fortress. There was a city market, cathedral mosque, khouz, erected from backed brick in the Shakhristan. The handicraftsmen area was located in the rabad. Metallurgical production of Ahsiket was known far beyond Central Asia. It was the only place in Central Asia, where very high-quality steel was produced. In many places it was better known than Damascus or Damask steel. A bath constructed in the A.D. 2nd century has been discovered, [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO}

Ahsiket had a precise planned layout. It was located on the ancient caravan routes aat a junction between two ways of traveling between Sogdia (Samarkand) and Shash (Tashkent). Traveling eastward on The Silk Road one passed through Ahsiket then Andijon on the way to China. After the Mongol invasion in the 13th century, a new Ahsiket arose around five kilometers to the west of ancient one. According to historical data, Babur, the Mughal founder and grandson of Tamerlane, was governor here.

Ancient Pap

Pap is an ancient settlement with an adjoining urban burial ground located on the right bank of Syr Darya river. The site of ancient settlement is known scientific literature under the name Balandtepa. Local people call it Munchaktepa or Ayritom city. Pap was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008 and is part of the Silk Roads Sites in Uzbekistan that was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010.

The city of Pap or Bab referred to the medieval sources appears to have arisen on the place site of the ancient settlement Balandtepa and gradually expanding moved up to the southern part of the modern regional center. The settlement has a two thousand-year history. For several centuries it played the important role in the trade and economic relations in Fergana Valley and neighboring regions. It developed at least in part because of its favorable geographical position on the trading-caravans routes of the Silk Road. In medieval time the routes were known by the name “Ulug' yol - Great Road”. Traces of the passage include evidence of a ferry on the Syr Darya to Qoqon (Hokand) preserved near Balandtepa (ancient part of Pap). [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “The city necropolis of Pap possesses an exclusive historical value: here organic remains were preserved. It is possible to consider these opened crypts as underground "museum" with unique ethnographic finds (in total more than 5000). This monument is one of few monuments where better and much preserved textile products. In the necropolis of the city of Pap textile products were fixed in 25 cases, little entirely kept silk dresses from them. There are many ornaments have found among the most numerous beads, they are about 10000. Gracefully woven baskets are found out also here (a peach, dried apricots) etc. All this allows investigating musical instruments, wooden vessels, the rests of fruit more authentically to beat and culture ancient Fergana citizens. Valuable materials have received about funeral ceremony and religious system earlier medieval population. Such monuments have been kept very seldom. The safety of the remained parts of city and necropolis are satisfactory. ”

Pap Archaeological Site

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: A site of ancient settlement Balandtepa (Bab-Pap) - ruins of ancient city, the area of more than 9 hectares, it is destroyed, especially from side of Syr Darya river and consists of two parts. Collected archeological materials chronologically covered the period from the I to 8th centuries. Ancient Pap structurally consisted of following parts: 1. A citadel - the raised and strengthened southeast part of the site of ancient settlement. 2. Internal city - more lowered part around the arc. The remains of ancient ditch were preserved between arc and internal city. 3. The suburb (rabad) was in the northern part of Balandtepa (Munchaktepa or Ayrtom city). Definition is conditional since there are materials no earlier than the 9th century in this part, and most likely, is territory of medieval city. At last, the city necropolis Munchaktepa I, II - to the west from suburb, between internal city and necropolis formed a deep ravine. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

“The City necropolis - Munchaktepa adjoins to the northwest part of Balandtepa. In Munchaktepa I are opened single burials soil tombs and tamping pick. Altogether 14, 9 of them are in soil tombs and 5 - burials in tombs with tamping pick. Inventory in tamping pick burials are more various. Vessels (one or two) were put to the legs or heads, on the right or left side of buried. Spindles, rests of leather products are revealed only in female burials. Iron knifes, knifes-daggers were observed in both men and female burials.

“In Munchaktepa II were found out the unique funeral constructions in the form of the underground crypts, which have been cut down in the sand-loess adjournment. They are located by the chain on the line of the west - east in the natural oblong hill. In total, it has opened eight crypts. Underground crypts can be divided into two groups according its dimensions: small groups (the area about 5 square meters.) where have been buried from one to four persons (crypts 2, 3, 4) and big one (6 square meters. and more) where have been marked about 50 burial places (crypts 1, 5, 7, 9). In the design of the crypts is clearly visible its three-private structure: 1. A front of the entrance platform; 2. A corridor (dromos) ; 3. The funeral chamber.

“Thus, burial ground of Munchaktepa is the unique most investigated city necropolis in the earlier medieval epoch of Fergana. Importance of the burial ground consists of good safety of its materials and variety of types of burials for period V-8th centuries. All this gives the unique opportunity for studying a facilities and economy of townspeople, and restoration funeral ceremonies and customs too. ”

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Uzbekistan Tourism website (National Uzbekistan Tourist Information Center, uzbekistan.travel/en), Uzbekistan government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Japan News, Yomiuri Shimbun, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in August 2020

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