Ferghana Valley


Fergana, Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan, October 2008.

I almost gave the region a miss. For one it is almost cut from the bulk of the country by the weirdest borders, there are even Uzbek spots that are entirely in Kyrgyz territory, others have Uzbek people but are Kyrgyz land, like the village of Arslanbob (see Kyrgyzstan). So we had a double entry Uzbek visa and a triple entry Kyrgyz one just for this purpose. Then there seemed not much to see. And it’s not even a valley, but a flat plain between the Tian Shan in the north and Alay in the south, so far that you never saw these big mountains – the Fergana Valley turned out great for its people (of course it is much less touristy than the rest of the country), and we discovered pottery workshops, and we found a madrassa with beautiful woodwork, and we met Jean-Francois. These two 9-year olds, Musliva and Diora, playing hide and seek in the Museum of Local Studies are just some of the many wide smiles we found in the Fergana Valley.


Kokand, Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan, October 2008.

As I said, one of the bonuses in the Fergana Valley was Jean-François — a rare Frenchman, i.e. sweet and not arrogant — he is the one who led us to what I think is the Juma (Friday) mosque & madrassa, although it is not clear because there were a couple of places with similar names, and in the real Juma one you are not supposed to enter. Here we went in freely through a tall, carved wooden door and, past a very large courtyard with a minaret in the center, on to a very long, open hall, its roof supported by tens of wooden columns. In any case, this place had amazing paint and woodwork.


Kokand, Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan, October 2008.

And the son of the keeper to whom Jean-François gave a set of color crayons.


Kokand, Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan, October 2008.


Fergana, Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan, October 2008.

More smiles of the Valley residents.


Kokand, Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan, October 2008.

These could be Turks, by the way they dress.


Kokand, Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan, October 2008.

We ended our visit with the Muqimi park, but ignored the Khan’s palace and instead concentrated on Muhhabat and her friend who had accosted me, two 14 year-old schoolgirls in uniform who were eager to practice and befriend foreign visitors, two more interesting female adolescents, two more smiles, two more life stories.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

mahdi August 12, 2011 at 4:41 pm

hello my old iranian friend!
i am from iran.from old big khorasan.

i hope to travel to uzbekistan and tadjikestan.

درود بی پایان بر هموطنان ایرانی کهن

درود بر دوستانی از خراسان بزرگ

امید که روزی بتوانم سفر کنم به بخارا که زادگاه جد مادری من است

شما از سرمایه داری کثیف به دور بودید
قدر سالهای شوروی را بخاطر نبودن سرمایه داری بدانید

سرمایه داری و امریکا بزرگترین انقلابها را به انحراف میکشد حتی انقلاب ایرانم را نیز الوده کرده

ساده زیستن همراه با علم اندوزی ارزشمندترین چیز است

به یاد جد بزرگمان ابو علی سینا


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