"Uzbekistan's Golden Valley" Fergana by TheWanderingCamel

Fergana Travel Guide: 32 reviews and 117 photos

In Uzbekistan they say there are three things that are essential in Paradise - water, a fig tree and a pomegranate tree. We found all these things in abundance in the eastern reaches of the country, a region we had not visited on our first visit to the country in 2005.

Things were very tense in the Ferghana Valley then. Violent civil unrest had brought the Uzbek military out in force, not the sort of situation to go wandering into as a tourist so we took it off our itinerary and said we'd come another time. That time came this year and three days in the Valley was the first stage of a journey around Uzbekistan that took us from Tashkent to Khiva.

Separated from the rest of the country by the Chatkal mountains, a spur of the Tien Shan range, and surrounded by other Tien Shan spurs, the valley is only 300kms long and 170km wide, a tiny area compared to the rest of the country, and yet fully one-third of the population lives here, making it the most densely populated region of all Central Asia, and it is the country's foodbowl. It is also the centre of Uzbekistan's valuable silk industry, a major cotton- (Uzbekistan's white gold) growing region and its other resources include oil and gas, gold and copper. Add to these riches a wealth of natural flora and fauna and the centuries-long traditions of master craftsmen and you can see why, from ancient times, it earned the name The Golden Valley.

For all that the valley is named Ferghana, the city that carries that name is the administrative centre of the region, and it was where we stayed, most of our time was spent visiting the surrounding towns of Kokand, Margilan and Rishtan - or, to use their Uzbek names - Qo'qon, Marg'ilon and Rishton.

Each town has its own attractions -

Kokand was the seat of the powerful Kokand khanate, which together with the Khanates of Bukhara and Khiva, constituted the Central Asian region known as Turkistan for the centuries prior to the Russian takeover. A royal palace, a museum and a museum are the main sights here.

You can't go anywhere in Uzbekistan without seeing the blue and green ceramics that come from
Rishtan. The vast majority of it is mass-produced in the Rishtan Art Ceramics Factory - tours available. We went instead to the family-run workshop of master ceramicist Rustam Usamov.

Silk is
Margilan's industry - two huge factories employ thousands of workers but we visited a traditional silk factory where most of the work is done by hand and the few machines used are over 100 years old.

History and handicrafts were not the things to occupy our time in the Feghana Valley. Margilan's bazaar is as vibrant and lively as any in Uzbekistan, with mountains of melons and the most tactile hand-turned fruitwood rolling pins just some of the things that caught my eye. A walk down Ferghana's shady main street brought us to the city's park, complete with the inevitable statue of a mediaeval scholar and parading wedding party. A long lunch beside a river, chaikhana tea-breaks and al fresco dinners under a full moon at our hotel gave us plenty of time to relax and, when it came time to leave and head back to Tashkent, the 300+ kilometre drive took us past miles and miles of irrigated cotton fields, orchards and vineyards, through the the mountains and the spectacular scenery of the Ankhangaran River valley to our rendezvous with the bus that was to take us on the next stage of our journey, Samarkand.

  • Last visit to Fergana: Oct 2009
  • Intro Updated Nov 18, 2009
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (17)

Comments (15)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Jun 14, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    You certainly got a lot of detail about the culture and family traditions of making things; however you got such great pictures and comments about it is a wonder. Nice job of it.

  • Elisabcn's Profile Photo
    Jan 27, 2010 at 7:54 AM

    Excellent page Leyle. Reading it you made me travel again to this beautiful country. Like you there will be another time to visit the Valley :-)

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Jan 23, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    You really know how to do a proper trip to OTBP places like this! Fantastic tips on your Fergana experiences - I think I'd love it too! Your accoms in Club 777 sounds very enticing and thanks too for educating me on silk in your excellent Travelogues!

  • nada1712's Profile Photo
    Dec 6, 2009 at 1:08 PM

    Extremely helpful and fascinating tips and advice for my trip to Fergana next May

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Dec 6, 2009 at 7:11 AM

    What an amazing destination, Leyle, thanks for sharing !

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Dec 5, 2009 at 11:46 AM

    Interesting tip on silk production. Amazing shoping medersa! Your whole page is a wonder to visit!

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo
    Nov 29, 2009 at 12:57 PM

    White gold is a strategic product, and silk is even more precious! Wonderful reading, Leyle. Memories. . . I visited silk workshops in Margilan, and had my camera stolen; with you I now discover the pottery and ceramics. GREAT, great page. Catch a yak ;)

  • tiabunna's Profile Photo
    Nov 28, 2009 at 2:02 AM

    I'm glad I set aside enough time to thoroughly read this page and enjoy the photos, Leyle. Fascinating. I loved the Rishtan pottery and suspect Oz could well take on board your comments about cotton.

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Nov 27, 2009 at 12:03 PM

    Will definitely add this to the itinerary if we go back to Uzbekistan (tho like Ingrid when the weather is more temperate). Love the market, the house of the Usto, the handicraft centre - everything! And so well photographed and vividly described :-)

  • Nov 23, 2009 at 8:16 PM

    good lord, there is no way i would be going on the yak! lol. im not a fan of those old soviet planes. lol! lovely page here leyle, i just adored the chaikhana tip and photo, nice place to rest up!

Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 0 2 6
Forum Rank:
0 0 0 6 2

Badges & Stats in Fergana

  • 17 Reviews
  • 84 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 3,121PageViews

Have you been to Fergana?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Fergana

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)