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UZBEKISTAN: Margilan Bazaar

Located in the south of the Fergana Valley, Margilan lies in a picturesque place that formerly was right at the crossroads of trade caravans from China to the West and vice versa. The origin of Margilan is closely related to the opening of the Silk Road. Even though the birth of city is not regarded to this ancient caravan route, then certainly the Silk Road made Margilan the center of silk and chief keeper of its secrets. As far back as in the 10th century Margilan - the largest city in the Ferghana Valley - was widely known for its silk products on far West and East. Since time immemorial, it is famous for great masters - craftsmen of silk fabrics such as adras khan-atlas, and many others. Beautiful silk, manufactured in the city and its surroundings, was exported to Europe and the East along the ancient Great Silk Road routes into Baghdad, Kashgar, Khurasan, Egypt and Greece. Even today Margilan considers as the silk capital of Uzbekistan. It produces the famous khan-atlas, woven and dyed by hand under the ancient technology. Amazing in beauty and originality Margilan embroidery - Suzanne and skullcaps say about the variety of beautiful Margilan atlas. ,  In 2007, the country widely celebrated the 2000th anniversary of Margilan. This is another city in the list of famous historical cities of Uzbekistan with a millennia history. On our Uzbekistan Silk Road Tour we visit the colourful and wonderful Thursday Bazaar in Margilan in Uzbekistan as it is considered one of Asia's largest market

At the end of the 15 - beginning of 16th century Margilan became one of the major cities of the Ferghana Valley. This land is the hometown for one of the great grandchildren of Tamerlane - Zahireddin Bobur. He was the ruler of Ferghana, and then founded in India the State of Great Moguls. Bobur said in his work "Bobur-name" that the city was famous for its fruit orchards, sweet pomegranates and dried apricots. Being buried in vendure, it was a favorite spot of rest for caravans. Since ancient times, it was inhabited by proud and hardworking Sogdian people, famous farmers and horse breeders. But most of all Margilan was famous for its khan-atlas with flowing arabesques of bright patterns.


Almost over 3 centuries - from 1598 to 1876 Margilan was in the structure of the Kokand Khanate. Later, when it was included in Russia, it became a district town. Back in the late 19th century the city was surrounded by adobe walls with towers and twelve fortified gates. The main streets led from the gate to the center of Margilan, where the palace of the governor - Urda and local market were situated. Residential areas were organically combined with religious buildings, very few of which have survived. The most famous ancient monuments in Margilan are the Complex Pir Siddiq, the architectural composition Pir Siddiq, the Mausoleum of Khoja Magiz and many others.


Abrbandi is the gloriously romantic, Uzbek term for the resist-dye technique perfected in the lush Ferghana Valley, usually referred to as ikat. It means 'to bind or tie the clouds' and if textiles are your interest, a trip to the Ferghana Valley is indeed a heavenly experience.

Ikat differs from tie-dyeing in that the patterns are dyed onto the threads before the fabric is woven. (In tie-dyeing, the fabric is woven first and then the resist bindings are applied to the fabric which is later dyed). 


There is a legend about the appearance of the city name, connected with the invasion of Alexander the Great. Local residents, having known about the intention of Alexander to visit their city, prepared a red carpet for him. One of the elders of the city offered to welcome the guest with chicken and bread. Alexander the Great asked after the feast what was the name of the dish. He was replied: "Murginon", that means "chicken and bread". On the way back, he tasted this dish again, and after called this area as "Murginon". Since that time, the city carries the name Margilan.


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UZBEKISTAN: Margilan Market

UZBEKISTAN: Rishton Ceramics

The small city of Rishton is in the Ferghana Region of Uzbekistan located east of Tashkent, halfway between Kokand and Ferghana. Rishton is one of the most famous and oldest centers of ceramics in Uzbekistan. Legend claims that the art is over 800 years old, passed down from generation to generation. A fine quality reddish-yellow clay deposit 1-1.5 meters deep and 0.5-1.5 meters thick underlies almost the whole Rishton area. The clay can be used without refinement or addition of other types of clay from other regions. Besides clay, the potters of Rishton extracted various dyes, quatz sand, and fire clay from the surrounding the mountains.  

The history of producing ceramics here goes back to the seventh century. In the late 19th – early 20th centuries, almost all the population of Rishton were potters. Its clay is suitable for making the whole variety of ceramic goods and the repertoire of ornamental patterns in the Rishton ceramics is one of the richest. Today, over 2000 craftsmen use both traditional techniques and modern machinery to produce over 5 million items per year. The traditional design has a blue-green glaze called “iskor”. It is produced by hand from natural minerals pigments and ash mountain plants. Meet the Master of Rishton ceramis on our Uzbekistan Silk Road Tour.

In the 1960s, this technique had almost died out, but has now recovered, thanks to the efforts of the artisans themselves. Today they have diversified their glazes to all possible colours – responding to market demands as they say. While these new age colours and ceramics are pretty, they lack the depth and pure lure of the classic cobalt blue, lapis turquoise classics that are found only in their private museums or made to special orders.

Of the thousand local potters who make a living from the legendary local loam, only a handful are considered true masters who still use traditional techniques. Among them is Rustam Usmanov, and  runs a ceramics museum out of his home. Usmanov family gives free tours of the workshop, its a fascinating insight into their world.

Rishton called the cradle the art of ceramics in Fergana valley. Modern creations Rishtan masters adorn the museum exhibitions in France, Italy, Hungary, Belgium and Russia. Many collectors want to become the owner of a blue ceramic sample, as each piece is unique in shape and ornamentation.

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UZBEKISTAN: Rishton Ceramics
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