The Fergana Valley

The Embassy of Uzbekistan, n.d. [ca. 2003]

The Fergana Valley is known as the Garden of Uzbekistan. Surrounded by mountains, and crossed by the Syr-Darya and Naryn rivers, it has the soil and climate most favourable for agriculture, which has prospered here for thousands of years.

This green valley is the most picturesque oasis in Central Asia, and provides the opportunity to combine mountain trips with visits to old cities and archaeological sites. In the geographical center of the valley is Fergana, the administrative center of the region. Just a small village only two hundred years ago, it developed into a political center in the time of Russian expansion in Central Asia and played a significant role in the Great Game, a rivalry between the Russian and British Empires for domination of Asia.

The architectural style of Fergana and the valley is a mixture of Central Asian and Russian. The most beautiful building of Fergana is Skobolevs' House, a palace built for General Skobolev, head of the Russian troops who annexed Central Asia to the Russian Empire. It is today used as a theatre.

North of Fergana on the road to Namangan and Kokand, on the high bank of the Syr- Darya river, there still stand the great walls of Akhsikent, the native city of Zakhiriddin Babur, the founder of the Mogul Empire. It was totally ruined in an earthquake in the 16th century. The walls follow the river and disappear in the distance on both sides of the road. Across the river, one can still see the mouth of a tunnel dug under the city as an escape route if the city should be conquered.

Kokand, 1 10 km north of Fergana, is the traditional religious center of the valley, with some interesting mosques and madrassahs from the 16th to 20th centuries.

Margilan, 6 km from Fergana, is one of the oldest Central Asian towns still retaining its traditional medieval silhouette.