Fergana - The Nature Beauty and Handicrafts Center of Uzbekistan

fergana, nature, silk, history, arts, margilan, ferghana, kokand, valley 
The Fergana Valley is a region in Central Asia spread across eastern Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. A large triangular valley in what is an often dry part of Central Asia; the Fergana owes its fertility to two rivers, the Naryn and the Kara Darya, which run from the east, joining near Namangan, forming the Sir Darya River. The valley's history stretches back over 2300 years, when its population was conquered by Greco-Bactrian invaders from the west. Chinese chroniclers date its towns to more than 2100 years ago, as a path between Greek, Chinese, Bactrian and Parthian civilizations. According to information of Chan Tsian, a Chinese diplomat, who visited the territory of this region in 128 B.C., it is known that Fergana Valley, where 3 regions: Fergana, Andijan and Namangan, of modern Uzbekistan are located, was named as Davan in ancient times. This area used to be a prosperous agricultural country with highly developed economy, agriculture and craftsmanship. Agriculture, especially, Lucerne growing, viticulture and wine-making had large significance for the economy. Wine was produced in large quantities. Rice and wheat growing in Davan was widely practiced and developed. There was given special attention to specialized horse-breeding, in particular, breeding of “glorious argamaks” originating from “heavenly horses” which had caused the Chinese-Davan War in 104-102 B.C. Subsequently, there had been established diplomatic relations between the two states.
A number of ancient cities existed on the territory of Fergana region among which following are distinguished: Kokand, Margilan and Kuva. Kokand was the capital of Kokand Khanate in ХVIII-ХIХ centuries as well as the religious center for the entire valley; there have been preserved many madrasahs and mosques.
In ancient time, Margilan was widely noted for its craftsmen producing carpets and fabrics, especially, khan-atlas. This city has its unique architectural traditions. Margilan is included in the list of world cultural heritage by UNESCO.
Kuva is a memorial complex of the famous medieval scientist Al-Farganiy who was known in Europe as Alfraganus. 
It was home to Babur, founder of the Mughal Dynasty, tying the region to modern Afghanistan and South Asia. The Russian Empire conquered the valley at the end of the 19th century, and it became part of the Soviet Union from the beginning of the 20th. The area remains Muslim, populated by ethnically Uzbek, Tajiks, and Kyrgyz, often intermixed and not matching modern borders. As well there historically have been substantial Russian, Uighurs, Kipchak, Bukharian Jews and representatives of other small minorities. Mass cotton cultivation, introduced by the Soviets, remains central to the economy, along with a wide range of grains, fruits and vegetables. There is a long history of stock breeding, leatherwork, and a growing mining sector, including deposits of coal, iron, sulfur, gypsum, rock-salt, lacustrine salt, naphtha, and some small known oil reserves.
Fergana Valley Sights:

-       Fergana –

The Fergana region is located in the south of the Fergana valley. It borders with Namangan region in the north, the Andijon region in the southeast and the Republic of Kyrgyzstan in the south, The Republic of Tajikistan in the west. Major cities of region are Kokand, Fergana, Margilan, Kuva, Rishtan, Kuvasoy, Besharik, Yaypan, and Oltiarik.  The administrative center of region is the city of Fergana which is the most “shady” city in Uzbekistan. Almost all streets, parks and avenues of the city are planted with trees such as plane-trees, oaks, poplars, pine-trees among others. A green plant-tree is a symbol of the city. Ancient cities as Margilan, Kokand and Rishtan are also located in the territory of the region. The amazing dark blue ceramics of Rishtan are well-known far beyond Uzbekistan.

The Fergana region has a various natural resources. The largest deposits of quartz in Uzbekistan, and also large deposits of gold, silver, aluminum, copper, iron, tungsten, uranium, molybdenum, granite, coal, marble, are found here as well as large oil reserves.

Fergana sights:

-          Museum of Local Studies – with displays of natural history and local handicrafts.

-          Regional Theatre – in 1877 the house of General Governor Mikhail Skobelev.

-          Kokand –

Kokand is a city in Fergana Province with population of over 200,000. One of the versions of the city name comes as “City of Winds”, other one is “Town of the Boar". Kokand is on the crossroads of the ancient trade routes, at the junction of two main routes into the Fergana Valley, one leading northwest over the mountains to Tashkent, and the other west through Khujand.

The history of Kokand is very old, and it has the richest heritage in whole valley. Kokand has existed since at least the 10th century, under the name of Khava-kent and was frequently mentioned in traveler’s accounts of the caravan route between India and China. The Mongols destroyed Kokand in the 13th century. The present city began as a fort in 1732 on the site of another older fortress called Eski-Kurgan. In 1740, it became the capital of an Uzbek kingdom, the Khanate of Kokand, which reached as far as Kizilorda to the west and Bishkek to the northeast. Kokand was also the major religious center of the Fergana Valley, boasting more than 300 mosques. Russian imperial forces under Mikhail Skobelev captured the city in 1883 which then became part of Russian Turkistan.

Kokand sights:

-          The Palace of Khudayar Khan was built between 1863 and 1874.

-          Djami Mosque, a Friday mosque built in 1800-1812, and reopened in 1989.

-          Amin Beg Madrassah, built in 1813.

-          Dakhma-I-Shokhon, a necropolis of the Kokand Khans from the 1830s.


-         Andijan –

Andijan located on coast Karadari, in a place convenient for a settled life, since ancient times has got glory as the important item of the Great silk way having the standard of farming and an irrigation and famous fabrics, clay products and products of national crafts. In historical annals it is underlined, that data on existence in these places of the centers of early civilizations are noted in the Chinese manuscripts of II century B.C. Hence, there is all the bases to consider, that the cultural life has arisen many millennia back. Historical-ethnographic and archaeological excavations have been conducted by A.K. Pisarčik, V.I. Kozenkova, B. Abdulgazieva, S. Jalilov and others. Detailed archaeological research of the city was carried out in the 1980s by the Archaeological Institute of the Academy of Sciences. Information about the structural and spatial location of Andijan, meet on a topographic map, 1893. At stake were the quarters, mosques, mausoleums, the streets of the city. Archaeologists researching historical locations such as Andijan, Čordona, Sarvontepa, Âkkatepa, Koštepa, Ark ichi, Shakhristan.

Andijan was an important stop on the Silk Road, lying roughly mid-way between Kashgar and Khodjend. Destroyed by Genghis Khan, it was rebuilt by his grandson Kaidu Khan in the late 13th century, and became the capital of Ferghana for the next three centuries. It is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur, who founded the Mughal dynasty that ruled much of today's India, Pakistan, and South Asia, born in 1483.

Andijan, in due time presented the first inspiration to such great creators as Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur, Nodira, Abdulhamid Cholpon, has original traditions in the field of the literature, arts, culture.


-          Margilan –

Margilan is a city in Fergana Province in eastern Uzbekistan. According to legends, Margilan was founded long time back and when Alexander the Great was here, he was offered chicken and bread (murgh+naan), from which the town took its name. More reliable records indicate that Margilan was an important stop on the Silk Road by the 9th century AD, along the route going across the Alay Mountains to Kashgar. A simple majority of population in Margilan are ethnic Tajiks, who although primarily Persian speakers, use Uzbek as easily.

Babur, the founder of the Mughal dynasty, mentioned that “the pomegranates and apricots are delicious in Margilan; white deer may be found nearby. The people are Sarts. They are a feisty people, ready with their fists. The custom of exorcism is widespread throughout Transoxiana, and most of the renowned exorcists of Samarkand and Bukhara are Margilan. Margilan merchants were key players in Central Asian commerce, and trade.

The largest traditional silk factory, Yodgorlik Silk Factory is based there. Employing over 2,000 workers, everything is done in the traditional manner, for an annual output of some 250,000 square meters of highly premium silk cloth.


Margilan sights:

-          Said Ahmad Khodja Madrassah

-          Toron Mosque – small 19th-century mosque in Fergana style.

-          Pirr-Siddik Complex

-          Khodga-Maggiz Mausoleum 


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