About Uzbekistan

Tourism in the Fergana Valley and the Unique Arts and Crafts Heritage of Uzbekistan
07 June 2020

A working group of the Uzbek State Committee for Tourism Development representatives visited Fergana region, and together with Fergana Regional Administration examined its readiness for the touristic season, particularly checking the health and safety travel conditions in the area.

The Fergana region is known for its high potential not only in ecotourism, agro and medical tourism, but in arts and crafts as well. It is famous for its unique historical production of silk, atlas & adras ikat and beautiful glazed ceramics artworks.

The working group visited the Artisans Center, founded by the initiative of the master Ibrahimjon Sultanov, based on public-private partnership. The center has more than 200 variations of the national fabric Atlas and Adras, the technologies of which were recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2017.

The history of ikat atlas and adras-making technologies in the territory of modern-day Uzbekistan dates back to the Late Antique Period. Historically, Margilan was the center for making atlas and adras – vivid and fine traditional fabrics. Due to the acute need to revive and safeguard traditions at risk of disappearing, the local community came up with an initiative to launch the Crafts Development Centre (CDC) in 2007.

Another area the working group visited was Rishtan, which is a part of the Fergana valley and one of the oldest towns on the Great Silk Road and in Central Asia. This place is the largest center for the production of unique glazed ceramics in Central Asia.

During the visit to Rishtan, the working group visited the houses of Alisher Nazirov, Said Akhmedov and the Koron Ceramics Center, where they examined national artisan products and souvenirs. Handicraft products have been produced here since ancient times. The secrets of production are passed down from generation to generation.

Here in the center you can not only buy fine national handmade products, but also participate in the production process yourselves. According to the artisans, this aspect also would encourage foreign tourists to visit Rishtan. Creating family guest houses in the houses of craftsmen is another great convenience and fun local experience for tourists visiting Rishtan, since guests can live there, communicate with the owners and enjoy obtaining crafting skills.

During the visit, The Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan, Chairman of the State Committee for Tourism Development, Aziz Abdukhakimov, has also commented about the measures on developing tourism in post-pandemic period:

“Tourists used to visit our country for our rich culture and with the aim of travelling to the number of Uzbekistan’s ancient cities, which are in the UNESCO list. However, today, in the post-pandemic period, tourists will pay a great attention to the health and safety conditions as well. That is why we have developed a special program: Safe Travel Guaranteed, which enables us to guarantee COVID-19 free travel for visitors. If we become one of the safest countries that meet the health and sanitary requirements, the travel industry will be developing even faster”.

In 2019 Uzbekistan was developing as a historical travel destination only, but now the country will be focusing on medical, eco and gastronomic tourism types as well.

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Did you know?

Uzbekistan is one of only two countries in the world to be ‘double landlocked’ (landlocked and totally surrounded by other landlocked countries). Liechtenstein is double landlocked by 2 countries whilst Uzbekistan is surrounded by 5!

Did you know that Uzbekistan lies in the very heart of Eurasia, the coordinates for Uzbekistan are 41.0000° N, 69.0000°

Uzbekistan is home to the Muruntan gold mine, one of the largest open pit gold mines in the world! The country has 4th largest reserves of gold in the world after South Africa, USA and Russia

Uzbekistan is the world capital of melons. They have in excess of 150 different varieties, which form a staple part of the local diet, served fresh in the summer and eaten dried through the winter.

It is Uzbek tradition that the most respected guest be seated farthest from the house’s entrance.

Tashkent’s metro features chandeliers, marble pillars and ceilings, granite, and engraved metal. It has been called one of the most beautiful train stations in the world.

The Uzbek master chef is able to cook in just one caldron enough plov to serve a thousand men.

When you are a host to someone, it is your duty to fill their cups with for the whole time they are with you.  What you must not do, however, is to fill their cup more than half-full.  If you do that as a mistake, say it is a mistake immediately.  Doing it means you want them to leave.  Wow!  Amazing, right?

To Uzbeks, respect means a whole lot.  For this reason they love it if, even as foreigners, you endeavour to add the respectful suffix opa after a woman's name; and aka after a man's.  Example: Linda-opa and David-aka.  You could also use hon and jon respectively.

Having been an historic crossroads for centuries as part of various ancient empires, Uzbekistan’s food is very eclectic. It has its roots in Iranian, Arab, Indian, Russian and Chinese cuisine.

Though identified with the Persia, the Zoroastrism probably originated in Bactria or Sogdiana. Many distinguished scholars share an opinion that Zoroastrianism had originated in the ancient Khorezm. Indeed, today in the world there were found 63 Zoroastrian monuments, including those in Iran, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Thirty-eight of them are in Uzbekistan, whereas 17 of these monuments are located in Khorezm.

One of Islam's most sacred relics - the world's oldest Koran that was compiled in Medina by Othman, the third caliph or Muslim leader, is kept in Tashkent. It was completed in the year 651, only 19 years after Muhammad's death. 

Tashkent is the only megapolis in the world where public transport is totally comprised of Mercedes buses. And due to low urban air polution it is one of the few cities where one can still see the stars in the sky.

You would be surprised to know that modern TV was born in Tashkent. No joke! The picture of moving objects was transmitted by radio first time in the world in Tashkent on 26 of July 1928 by inventors B.P. Grabovsky and I.F. Belansky.

Uzbekistan is the only country in the world all of whose neighbours have their names ending in STAN. This is also the only country in Central Asia that borders all of the countries of this region

Uzbeks are the third populous Turkik ethnicity in the world after Turks and Azeris (leaving both in Azerbaijan and Iran)

Did you know that there was silk money in Khiva? Super interesting right? Of course, but the best part of having silk money was that it could be sewn into your clothing.

Famous Islamic physician Ibn Sina (Avicenna in the Latin world) who was born near Bukhara was the one of the first people to advocate using women’s hair as suture material – about 1400 years ago.

Uzbekistan has a long and bloody history. The most notorious leader of Uzbekistan was Timur (or Tamerlane) who claimed descent from Genghis Khan. His military campaigns have been credited for wiping out some 5% of the world’s population at the time.

If you have thought that some of the Islamic architecture in Uzbekistan resembles that from Northern India, then that is because Timur’s great great great Grandson, Babur Beg, was the founder of the Moghul Empire that ruled much of India for almost four centuries! Babur’s great great Grandson was Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal.

Uzbekistan was once a rum producig country. There is still a real arboretum in Denau (city near Termez on the border with Afghanistan), grown from a selection station that studied the prospects of plant growing in the unusual for the Soviet Union subtropical climate of Surkhandarya region: only here in the whole of the USSR sugar cane was grown and even rum was produced!

Uzbekistan has been ranked one of the safest countries in the world, according to a new global poll. The annual Gallup Global Law and Order asked if people felt safe walking at night and whether they had been victims of crime. The survey placed Uzbekistan 5th out of 135 countries, while the UK was 21st and the US 35th. Top five safest countries:

  • Singapore
  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • Finland
  • Uzbekistan
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