With eight million people (a third of Uzbekistan’s population” the valley is the most densely settled area in Central Asia, and thoroughly Uzbek – 90% overall and higher in the smaller towns. This is a kind of Uzbek heartland in terms of language, population and tradition (the people of Andijan are said to speak the purest form of Uzbek). Fergana valley is a big flourishing oasis with a fine climate. It is also known as a “Golden Valley”. IfSamarkand is known as a “Pearl of the East”, Fergana is famous as a “Pearl of Uzbekistan”. In Fergana valley you can find small sleepy towns with many hidden treasures, such as “City of Angels”, natural silk, great fruit and vegetable plantations, the forests of mulberry trees and the wide cotton plantations.
There are a lot of beautiful canyons with Tien-Shan spruces and fir-trees there.Kokand – one of the most famous cities in Uzbekistan, formerly the capital of the powerful Kokand Khanate which once dominated the whole Fergana valley.
Fergana. This is the valley’s least ancient and least Uzbek city. With the central streets shaded by huge plane and poplar trees and dotted with pastel-plastered tsarist buildings, Fergana is called among locals as a “Sleeping beauty”.
Fergana’s most appealing attraction is the bazaar, its good natured Uzbek traders leavened with Korean and Russian vendors selling home-made specialties.
Fergana, Margilan in fact came first by a couple of millennia, having been around since at least the 1st century BCE. Margilan has long been known in Central Asia for its silk; Uzbekistan’s most famous silk factory, the Yodgorlik, is here. The factory employs traditional methods of silk production, unlike the vast and increasingly moribund Margilan and Khanatlas mass-production factories that are also on the city. It is possible to see the whole production process here, from steaming and unraveling the cocoons to the weaving of the dazzling khanatlas (“King of satins”) patterned fabric. The factory has recently diversified into carpet making and embroidery.
Rishtan. This mainly Tajik town near the border with Kirgizstan, 50 km west of Fergana, is home to a group of master potters utilising the fine local clay. Their ceramics use mostly traditional designs on a white background in shades of green and cobalt. Rishtan pottery center – famous potters and ceramic products of the region are came from Rishtan. They are also well known in whole Central Asia. In local ceramic art there is a special style, named Rishtan style.
Kokand – was the capital of Kokand khanate in the 18th and 19thcenturies, and in those days – second only to Bukhara as a religious centre in Central Asia, with at least 35 madrassahs and hundreds of mosques. But if you walk the streets today you will find only a polite, subdued Uzbek town, its old centre hedged by colonial avenues.
- Khudoyar Khan Palace (XIX c.) – the Palace of last khan Khudoyar. The Palace with 7 courtyards & 113 rooms, was completed in 1873, just three years before tsar’’ troops arrived.
- Norbutabey madrassah (XVIII c.) – one of two acting madrassahs was closed in 1799 and reopened again.
- Djuma mosque (XIX c.) – The city’s Friday mosque reopened in 1989 after decades of neglect & today accommodate up to 10,000 worshippers.
- Modari Khan mausoleum (XIX c.) – built in 1825 for the khan’s mother.
- Dakhma Shokhon (XIX c.) – “Grave of King”, the tomb of the Khan and other family members.
Andijan – dates back to at least 9th century, but it claim to historical fame is as the birthplace of Zaheriddin Babur. Today it is Uzbekistan’s main oil-producing region, and the town with the most traditional bazaar in the valley.
- Juma mosque & Madrassah (XIX c.) – the only building to survive the 1902 earthquake.
- Regional Museum – with the usual historical exhibits and examples of local fauna & flora
- Babur LiteraryMuseum – occupies the site of royal apartments where Babur lived and studied.
Kuva. In 1979 the remains of a large Buddhist temple, dating from the 4th to 7th century and destroyed by the Arabs, were excavated at Kuva.