Lo! some we loved, the loveliest and best
That Time and Fate of all their Vintage prest,
Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to Rest.

Ferghana

FERGANA-MARGILAN-KOKAND-RISHTAN-KUVA-THE FERGANA VALLEY

 The Fergana valley - is situ­ated in the east of Uzbekistan and surrounded from all sides by moun­tain ranges: Chatkalskiy range, Kuramiskiy, Ferganskiy, Alaiskiy and Turkenstanskiy. Through the valley, flows the river Sirdarya with its numerous tributaries. It is well-known, that 5-6 thousand years ago agriculture was already ad­vanced here: pomegranates, ginger, grapes, walnuts and cotton were introduced by the Chinese in only II B.C. On the boundary of centu­ries through the Fergana valley the main transit road from China to Europe (Silk Road) passed. The Fergana valley was famous for its «celestial horses» as the Chinese called them. According to Chinese chronicles in II B.C., in this area one could count more than 70 cit­ies in Fergana valley, the largest of them covering an area up to 40 hectares. One of the most fa­mous medieval astronomers and mathematicians Akhmed Al Fergani was born here. After the Mon­gol invasion, the Fergana valley was destroyed and was only restored around XVI-th c. In XVIII-th c. the Fergana valley was created an in­dependent state - Kokand Khanate with capital in Kokand. Khanate became stronger and towards the end of XIX-th c. (before the invasion of Russian troops) claim­ed a huge territory, including Semirechie, Tashkent oasis, the ma­jority of Kyrgyzstan and the flat part of Tajikistan.

Kokand is a city with more than 200 000 inhabitants and is considered to be the gates to the Fergana valley. The city is famous for its Khudoyarkhan's palace (XVI), in which there is now a local history museum Norbuta-Bia madrassah and Modarikhon mausole­um are also of interest to tourists.

Margilan is a small city near to modern Fergana. The city was already well known in X-th c. by its silk industry. Today the only fac­tory in the whole of Central Asia which produces silk fabric by hand is situated here. Here tourists can acquaint themselves with the man­ufacturing processes of silk, start­ing from unreeling cocoons till their painting. The complex Kaftarlik (XVIII) with a mosque, minaret, portal-dome mausoleum and origi­nal pigeon loft has been maintained.

Andijan is the motherland of Zakhritdin Babur, descendant of the Timurids, founder of the great em­pire of Mongols in India. In the city there is a museum named after Babur.

Near Fergana there is the fa­mous resort settlement of Shakhimardan. In order to reach this beautiful place you have to pass through Vuodil village and see the ancient plane tree which is more than 500 years old.

Rishtan, a small village situ­ated 50 kilometers from Fergana, is famous for it skilful potters. Tour­ists can acquire this wonderful tra­ditional Uzbek pottery right at the factory and the private workshops.

The nature of the valley is re­markable.

The Fergana valley is also the departure point for many trekking routes in the mountains of the Alay and Turkistan ridges, as well as for high-mountain expeditions heading for Lenin Peak (7134m) and Com­munism Peak (749,5m).