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Main / / / Fergana – Golden Valley

Fergana Valley is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations of Uzbekistan, which attracts the attention not only by its ancient history but also by its surprisingly beautiful nature, flora and fauna. For wealth and scenic landscape it was nicknamed as "Golden Valley". The territory of the valley is about 80 thousand square km and it represents a huge bowl surrounded on the south-east with the Alai, and from the north - the Tien Shan mountain ranges of 300 km and a width of up to 150 km. The height of mountain ranges that surround this beautiful piece of nature, reaches 6000 meters. Nature has generously endowed this region; there are all kinds of landscapes, from semi-desert, riparian woodlands and cultural farming on the plains to alpine meadows and snowy mountainous peaks. For irrigation of the valley there has been established an extensive network of canals fed by the waters of the river Syr Darya, Naryn River and tributaries that feed on snow and glaciers of the Alai Range.

The region is rich in oil, gas, coal, ore, mercury, sulfur, limestone, salt and other minerals.

Fergana Valley has contributed a lot to the history, culture and art of Central Asia. The first information about Fergana and its people belongs to the II century BC.The fact that in ancient times the valley was the center of various civilizations indicate traces of ancient settlements and medieval monuments (finds from burials of Karabulak and Isfarin oasis).

In the Chinese sources Fergana, or the state of Davan, was described as a rich agricultural country with a highly developed economy, agriculture, crafts and many cities. Chinese diplomat and spy Chang Jiang during his visit to the area in 128 BC wrote that lat the head of  Davani was ruler (named Mozai, Chan-fyn), and state administration was conducted by the Board of Elders.  From times immemorial the inhabitants of this area cultivated wheat, rice, alfalfa; there was developed horticulture and viticulture. Fergana Valley was known for its "heavenly horses" as they were called by the Chinese. Davan "argamaks" were very much in demand at the court of the Chinese emperors. Scientists have proved that these horses were the progenitors of the famous Akhal-Teke and Arabian horses.

In antiquity and the Middle Ages one of the routes of the Silk Road connecting East and West - trade transit from China to Europe was held through Fergana Valley. For thousands of years this way moved numerous caravans with expensive silk, exotic spices and precious stones, along the road grew immense caravanserais, majestic mosques and madrassahs.

In the IX-X centuries Akhsikent, the capital of Fergana, was one of the biggest trading centers, where coins were minted and first-class steel was produced. In medieval times the valley has become one of the leading portions of Maverannakhr.  It is homeland of the famous medieval astronomer Ahmed Al Fergani and Zakhiriddin Bobur (1525) - the founder of the Mogul state in India.

Cities of the Valley were destroyed during the Mongol invasion and were restored only in the sixteenth century. Under Temurids, Ferghana was a favorite residence of the dynasty.

Under Sheibanids reign in the XVI century trade relations revived not only with China and India, but also with the West. At the end of the XVII century Fergana formed separate ownership and established trade relations with Moscow State.

In the XVIII century in Fergana Valley was created independent state - the Kokand Khanate with the capital of the same name. By the end of the XIX century the territory of the khanate included the Seven Rivers territory (territory of modern Kyrgyzstan and south-eastern Kazakhstan), Tashkent oasis and flat part of Tajikistan.

Since 1924, Fergana region has become part of the Uzbek SSR.

Today Fergana Valley, the most populous and most fertile territory of Uzbekistan, is home to over 4 million people. It brings together three areas of Uzbekistan - Andijan, Fergana and Namangan with wonderful cities - Andijan, Fergana, Margilan, Namangan, Kokand, Rishtan, and others. The best cotton, delicious fruits, and the famous Namangan apples known in many countries grow in this land. Fergana Valley is a large area of silk-weaving with a millennium and half history of silk production. It is home to wonderful artisans preserving the traditions of their ancestors and producing for generations beautiful silk fabrics, ceramics and famous Chust knives.

Margilan is one of the oldest cities in Fergana Valley. The town lies in the foothills of the Alai Range at an altitude of 475 meters above sea level. Margilan area is 50 square km and is home to about 200 thousand people.

Archaeological research indicates that the town emerged approximately in the II-I centuries BC. In 2006 Uzbekistan, under the auspices of UNESCO noted 2000th Anniversary of Margilan. In ancient times the city was a center of international trade on the Great Silk Road, the center of culture of the Fergana Valley, the city of the great scientists, artists and craftsmen - artisans, competing with other ancient cities of Uzbekistan - Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva. Written mentions of the city are found in the Chinese and Arab chronicles of the early Middle Ages. They distinguished Margilan from other cities in the Fergana Valley, calling it "silk capital". It is known that at the beginning of the first millennium Fergana Valley dwellers started doing precious fabrics of raw silk imported from China, and in the VII-VIII centuries the inhabitants of the valley began to cultivate the cocoons of the silkworm. Famous Margilan silk fabrics, such as shoyi, satin, khan-atlas, atlas and adras and beautiful horses on the road Silk Road were taken to Baghdad, Kashgar, Khorasan, Egypt, Greece and other countries. One of the historians of the tenth century, wrote about the beauty of fabric, saying that "... one segment of Margilan silk worth a lot of land".

Margilan was also famous for its artistic embroidery - suzani, skullcaps, gold and silver jewelry, rugs, highly estimated in Eurasian countries. In antiquity poets composed poetry where they praised the blessed orchards and the generous nature of the region.

Margilan is home of a prominent member of Islamic jurisprudence, Imam Burkhaniddin Marginani (XII century), for his work "Al-Hidoya," he received the title of "Fiqh Imami" - "Imam of law." At the end of the XV – the beginning of the XVI century Margilan became one of the most significant cities of Fergana Valley. Here was born and grew up one of great-grandchildren of Amir Temur - Zahiriddin Sultan Babur - an outstanding statesman, poet, historian and geographer. At the age of 11 he was the ruler of Fergana, and in 1525 he founded a state of Great Moguls in India and marked the beginning of the approval of a new dynasty of Boburids which lasted until the middle of the XIX century. Here was born the famous poet of the XIX century - Uvaysi.

Since the eighteenth century Margilan has become the center of Margilan landowners in the Kokand Khanate.

In the late nineteenth century in the city one could see the remains of the ancient adobe walls of the city with towers and twelve fortified gates. The main streets led from the gates to the center of Margilan, with the government palace - Urda and market.

In the second half of the XIX century Margilan was the biggest wholesale market for cotton and silk in the valley.

Today Margilan is one of the largest centers of silk-processing industry in Uzbekistan. It produces the famous "khan-atlas", woven and dyed by hand according old technologies in factories "Yodgorlik", "Khan Atlas" and various other private silk-processing companies, where you can see all the stages of production of silk fabrics. National fabrics amaze by its color palette, softness, lightness and ease. Silk fabrics of Margilan are shown at major international trade fairs in Germany, Japan, France, India, Russia and other countries.

In Margilan due to frequent earthquakes there were almost not preserved monuments of medieval architecture. Existing monuments of the city date back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it is interesting monumental buildings with modern architecture, among them - the cult complex Pir Siddiq, the Mausoleum of Khoja Magiz (XVIII c.), Mosques Chakar and Toron Bazaar, madrassah of  Ahmad Hodja (XIX c.).

Contemporary Margilan is a modern city with wide streets and high-rise buildings that harmoniously interact with the architecture of the XVIII-XIX centuries and bustling oriental bazaars. Guests of Margilan will not remain indifferent to this ancient and beautiful city.

Fergana - the city is located in the eastern part of Uzbekistan, at the southern edge of Ferghana Valley, and is the administrative center of the Ferghana region with a population of over 230,000 people. Fergana oasis has been one of the oldest commercial and cultural oases in Central Asia. In ancient times, this farming area with a highly developed economy, agriculture and crafts was called "Davan" or Dayuan (Da-Wan means Big Wan). Its population has been involved in breeding alfalfa, viticulture and winemaking. In early Chinese sources the name of Fergana in different time had been different: in the V century BC it was mentioned as "Lona" or "Polona", in the VI-VII centuries BC - "Bohan", and in the VII-VIII centuries BC it was called "Ninyuan." In Persian sources the name of the city is treated as a "pari" - the angel and "hona" - a house, that is City of Angels (Parihona).

The city was founded in 1876 by M. D. Skobelev, the first military governor, under the name New Margilan. From 1910 to 1924 the city was called Skobelev in honor of its founder, and from 1924 it received the name Fergana.

In 1875, the Kokand Khanate was annexed to the Russian Empire. After the collapse of the Kokand Khanate there was formed Fergana region with administrative center in New Margilan, located 12 kilometers from the old Margilan. The city was established as a military and administrative center of the region. The main building of the city was a military fortress, which occupied a large area of it in radius were laid three new streets. According to the plan of the XIX century the city was built on fan radial-ring system, the center of which was a fortress, erected on the high ground south of the city. Plan of Ferghana repeated Plan of St. Petersburg. It was planted with slim poplars and plane trees in the center of the city was located a large park down the runs throughout the Margilan-sai.

In Fergana there are no ancient monuments, religious places and sites of pilgrimage, now you can see the buildings of the colonial period - the Governor's House (currently building of the Drama Theatre), House of Governor Assistant (former  Hospital), Military Assembly (House of officers), male gymnasium (administrative building of the University), the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and other buildings. Lack of monuments of ancient history is successfully replaced by the picturesquel surroundings of the city with uniquely beautiful places. To the south of the city, in Shakhimardan valley, is located the mountain resort "Hamzaabad", famous for its mild climate, clean air and purest water. In the vicinity of Shakhimardan in Coxu Valley there is the famous Blue Lake, which attracts tourists with its paradise beauty. In the heart of the Fergana Valley, in the foothills of the Alai Range, is spa resort "Chemion" - one of the largest resorts in Uzbekistan. This is a wonderful oasis, surrounded by green gardens and vineyards, full of mineral springs with healing water.

In 2007 Fergana turned 130. This is a real garden city with picturesque alleys, where there are age-old plane trees, willows, poplars, oaks and pines. Now Fergana is an important industrial center of Uzbekistan, which occupies the second place in the volume of production after Tashkent. There are more than 80 major companies involved in the chemical, petrochemical, light industry, food, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and other industries.

In Fergana you will see a wonderful museum - one of the oldest in Uzbekistan, founded in 1894. Visiting it, you will learn about the ancient history of Fergana Valley, you will contemplate many interesting exhibits of archaeological collections, arts and crafts, get acquainted with the rich collections and Gurumchapay and Rishtan ceramics, jewelry and embroidery. Not impress much, an interesting collection of paintings, including works of Fergana first professional artists won’t leave you indifferent.

Namangan - one of the oldest cities of Fergana Valley, which is the administrative center of the Namangan region with a population of about 450 thousand inhabitants. Namangan region covers an area in the north of the valley, on the right bank of the Syr Darya.

The history of the city began in 1610, when at the site of a settlement "Namakkan" ("salt pit") there was a city, near a small salt lake. After the devastating earthquake in 1620 in the old capital of Fergana Valley, Ahsikent, population moved to the north-east to the village Namakkan, which today is known as the city of Namangan, located 25 km from the ancient city. Aksikent until the thirteenth century was the capital of Fergana Valley. But then it was destroyed by the Mongols, and in the seventeenth century, it was ruined by the strongest earthquake. Archaeological research of Aksikent confirmed that in the past the city had a strong citadel and fortress walls.

At the beginning of the XVIII century Namangan joined the Kokand Khanate as the administrative center of the region. In 1876 the Kokand Khanate was liquidated and Namangan became the administrative center of the five counties in the region.

After accession to Russia (1875), Namangan became a large industrial center of Turkestan with the developed manufacturing industry. Then a new city with European constructions, radial streets and circular driveways started to be built.

In the early twentieth century Namangan was the second largest populated city and the center of cotton processing in Fergana Valley. Population for centuries has been engaged in sericulture, horticulture and gardening.

Namangan land is the birthplace of famous philosophers, scholars and poets of the East - thinkers Boborakhim Mashrab (1657-1711), Isakhan Ibrat (1862-1937), Sufzod (1869-1937) and many others.

Interesting for its history, culture and architecture, Namangan oasis is one of the most important places in the long history of our country. Genuine interest for the guests are religious buildings of the old town - Complex Mavlon - buva (the XIX century), which consists of tomb and shrine of local poet; Mausoleum of Khoja Amin with ornate facades and ribbed dome (the XVIII century), Mullah - Kyrgyz Madrassah (the beginning of the XX century), the mosque of Atavalihon Tur, Attavalik-Hontur mosque and the mosque of Mullah Bozor Ohund. All structures are architecturally and historically valuable.

The city operates Namangan National History Museum, showing the remarkable archaeological finds from the settlement Ahsikent - pottery, jewelry, military weapons (the III-II centuries BC), rich ethnographic museum and collection with unique pieces of applied art, national sewing, ceramics, copper, wood, etc.

Today Namangan is a dynamic region with developed cotton, machinery, electrical, chemical and food industries. Rapidly developing tourist industry and local crafts are rapidly developing in the region.

Andijan is one of the oldest and largest cities of Fergana valley with population of over 350 thousand people, located in the eastern point of the chain of the first settlements of the early civilizations of Fergana Valley, on the ancient river sediments of the Andijansay River.

In different periods of its history the city had different names. In written sources of the IX century, it was known as Andukan, since the XV century – Andigan, in the later Middle Ages it was named Andijan. There are various opinions about the origin of the name of the city; some experts believe that the name comes from the Uzbek clan "Andy", who lived in the area. Other researchers believe that the term "Andijan" has Turkic-Mongol origin and means "settlement near sai (water)".

Andijan is located in one of the centers of Central Asia, where appeared early agriculture, formed the first examples of urban culture. In this area have been reported early ruins of Dalvarzin settlement (the IX-VII centuries BC) and the ancient Ershi city - the capital of the ancient state of Davan, now mound Mingtepa (the VI-III centuries BC). According to its geopolitical position Andijan served as a bridge connecting Bactria, Sogdiana, and Chach with China (East Turkestan).

The exact date of foundation of the city is unknown to scientists, but during the archaeological exploration and excavations scientists uncovered finds from the VI-IV centuries BC. It was proved that cultural sites associated with the ancient history of Andijan, are located in south-western and central part of the city - Sarvontepe and its surroundings.

In the first century BC, located in a busy branch of the Silk Road, Andijan became part of the Kushan Empire. At the beginning of the VIII century oasis was conquered by Arab invaders. In the X-XI centuries, in the era of the Samanids, Andijan was known as a major trade and commercial center; it was called the east gate of Fergana Valley. In the first quarter of the XIII century Andijan was the capital of Fergana region. During the reign of Amir Temur in the XIV-XV centuries Andijan was a large fortified fortress with a well-guarded gates and government residence Ark, around the city there were many gardens.

In 1483 Babur was born in Andijan - poet, historian, and politician, founder of the Mogul Dynasty in India and the author of "Babur-nama. And today, the city has preserved the house of Babur, which is open to the public.

As Babur wrote, Ark of Andijan in its size was considered to be the next in Maverannakhr after Samarkand and Kesh. Andijan also had its own mint.

In the XV century Andijan became the capital of the feudal state. According to Russian Academician V. Bartold, it was founded at the end of the XIII century by Mongol khans. Various Turkic tribes and clans moved here. At the end of the XV century Andijan was considered to be Turkic city in Fergana region.

In the XVI century Andijan was conquered Sheibanids, and later became part of the Kokand Khanate.

In 1876, after the conquest of the Khanate of Kokand, Andijan became part of the Russian Empire as the county town of Fergana region.

In 1902 the Andijan earthquake destroyed the old architectural monuments.

Andijan is the city with impressive sites. You can visit the architectural complex "Jami" of the XIX ctntury, including madrassah, mosques and minaret. Of great interest to the guests is Bobur museum. The exhibition "Babur and World Culture" has collected rare documents in the history and literature of the peoples of Central Asia. At 30 km from Andijan you can visit the ruins of the ancient capital of the state Davan - fort Ershi (Ming Tepa).

Andijan and the surrounding area are considered to be a paradise of Fergana Valley. Gorgeous are the city parks - the National Park named after Babur, park Khanabad strike by riot of colors, delight their visitors with beautiful shady paths and flowerbeds.

In the center of Andijan there is ethnographic zone "Hunarmandlar Rastas" (artisans’ row), which operates from the beginning of the 18th century, where you can admire the works of talented artisans who continue the tradition of their fathers and grandfathers in the production of silk fabrics, carpets, ceramics, embroidery and unique jewelry. Widely known outside the Uzbekistan are national knives, daggers and swords of Shahrikhon, Karasu and Andijan schools, characterized by originality and beauty.

Today Andijan is one of the largest industrial centers of Uzbekistan, where there are more than 160 large industrial enterprises connected with engineering, production and processing of oil and gas, automotive, light and food industry, etc.

Kokand is one of the largest cities of Uzbekistan on the route to the "Golden Ring of Fergana." It is located in the southwest of Fergana Valley, 100 km from the administrative center in the city of Fergana. It is located in the lower reaches of the river Sokh, at a height of 405 meters above sea level, its population is over 260 thousand people.

It is known that in the first century AD the present-day Kokand had several villages, which, growing on a branch of the Silk Road, eventually formed the city. However, the mention of Kokand, as a city, appeared in written sources of the Arab geographers in the tenth century. The city is named "Hokand" or "Hovokend" (i.e. pleasant). In the XIII century the city was destroyed by the Mongol invasion. In the XVI-XVII centuries Kokand was part of Bukhara Khanate.

For centuries Kokand oasis had been famous for its rich and fertile lands, large caravanserais and developed crafts. Throughout its history the city has repeatedly attacked by the invaders, experienced victory and defeat, suffered endless infighting of the local rulers.

Kokand flowering begins in the XVIII century, when it became the capital of the powerful Khanate of Kokand. Kokand initially was called "Eski Kurgan" (old fortress) or Raimbay Fortress. In place of the city foundation there existed four citadels - Kalvak, Aktepa, Eski Kurgan and Hokandkurgan. In 1740 Kokand was reborn as a city after the Mongol invasion. During this period, Kokand reached the highest peak of its development; it was a large political, cultural and religious center with thriving crafts and trade. During the period of the XVIII-XIX centuries in the city there had been built more than 150 architectural monuments, among them - madrassahs, mosques, caravanserais and trade centers. Nowadays most of them have been destroyed by time and devastating earthquakes.

In 1876 Kokand was conquered by the troops of General Skobelev and became part of the Russian Empire. History of the Kokand khanate lasted almost 170 years.

In 1924, after the national demarcation Kokand became a part of the Uzbek SSR.

Modern Kokand retained its ancient structure; it consists of the old and new parts. The new city was saturated in the XIX century with commercial enterprises, government buildings, banks, mansions of industrialists, and the old part of the city preserved Khan Palace - Urda, traditional residential architecture monuments, mosques, madrassahs and memorial building of the  XIX and  early XX centuries.

The most significant monuments of the city include the palace of the last ruler Khudoyar Khan (1871-1973), 7 yards and 119 rooms of this palace were decorated with openwork carving and ornamental painting. Kokand Museum of Regional Studies is currently located in the palace.

Norbutabi Madrassah was built on Chorsu Square in 1799 with the participation of Bukhara builder and carver Usto Kasymdjan. In the XIX century it was the largest education center in Kokand and the focus of spiritual and elucidative life of the city.

Friday Mosque in Kokand was built during the reign of the ruler Umarkhan (1809-1822). It was basically created for the Friday prayers. Main Mosque of Kokand has hanaka - winter room, surrounded on three sides with terrace ornate in geometric and floral patterns. In 1852, under the rule of Khudoyar Khan, near the Jamia Mosque was built brick minaret 22 meters high in the shape of a truncated cone for calling to prayer.

Kokand is famous for its architectural ensemble Dakhma i-Shahon - "tombstone of Shahs" (1825). This is family sepulcher of Kokand khans. Around the memorial there are flowerbeds and orchards. Another attraction is the mausoleum of Modari Kokand Khan - "Mother of Khan" (1825). The history of the construction of the mausoleum is associated with the name of the famous Uzbek poetess Nadira, who was the wife and mother of Kokand khans. Her poems are included in the golden treasury of Uzbek poetry.

Modern Kokand is a dynamic modern city with developed social and economic infrastructure, industry, tourism facilities and wonderful museums.

Rishtan (Roshidon) is a small town in the south of Fergana Valley, one of the oldest centers of a unique ceramic of Central Asia, where the first craftsmen potters have already appeared in the first millennium. Magnificent production of Rishtan potters have been famous throughout the Great Silk Road from China to Europe.

Rishtan is one of the largest in Central Asia centers for the production of glazed ware, ceramics. From ancient times the ceramics of this town city of pale blue decorated the palaces of nobility and homes of the poor in the cities of Fergana Valley, Samarkand, Tashkent, Bukhara and others. From generation to generation masters transfer the secrets of manufacture of the ceramic products with unique style and distinctive designs. They are made from local varieties of red clay and glazes, from natural mineral pigments and ash mountain plants, giving them rich emerald-turquoise color. Pottery in Rishtan has undergone many stages of development - from home crafts to modern production. Already in the late XIX -early XX century the production of Rishtan masters was exported to international exhibitions. In 1900 they successfully exhibited at the World Exhibition in Paris. Rishtan ceramics was often compared with the best European majolica and thought to compete with them.

In the middle of the twentieth century, on the basis of cooperative of hereditary masters "Yangi hayot" was created Rishtan ceramic factory.

In addition to the factory products, very popular among guests Rishtan are copyright products of local artists - potters Alisher Nazimov, Rustam Usmanov, Mahmoud Azizov. Masters of various products - dishes, bowls, water jugs, vessels, covered with vegetation, geometric and abstract ornamentation of glaze "ishkor" brought fame to Rishtan masters in numerous international exhibitions and fairs of artisans. Highly decorated ceramics of Rishtan is exhibited in many museums and private collections.