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Rishton
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  • At 50 km west of Fergana, there is a village of Rishtan (pop. about 22,000), whose residents are known for their pottery. Famed for its blue and green plates, coated with the unique ishkor glaze, it is said that the residents of Rishtan have been making items from the local red clay, decorated with natural pigments, for more than 800 years. Skills and designs are passed down from father to son. Rishtan pottery differs with richness of decor, which is dominated by blue.

    This unique blue glaze "ishkor" is produced by hand from natural mineral pigments and ash mountain plants. The products are made from red clay that is mined only here. From generation to generation craftsmen pass the secrets of their skillful mastery. Big dishes - "lagans", deep bowl "kosa", spit water-jugs, vessels for milk, ornamented with glaze "ishkor" unforgettable turquoise and ultramarine colors, made  Rishtan and its masters famous on numerous international exhibitions. They decorate exposure of many museums in the world and private collections. About 90% of the ceramics you see in souvenir stores across Uzbekistan originates here – most of it handmade.

    Some 1000 potters make a living from the legendary local loam, which is so pure that it requires no additives (besides water) before being chucked on the wheel. Of those 1000 potters only a handful are considered true masters who still use traditional techniques.  One of the masters says that Rishton potters are facing a potential crisis, as the purest clay is becoming scarce. 

    In 1920 the government collectivised 30 small, artisanal workshops into the Rishtan Art Ceramics Factory (6 B Roshidoni; 452 1549; 09.00-18.00 daily). Around 2,000 craftsmen now work here, using a combination of modern machinery and traditional techniques to produce around five million items a year. Visitors are welcome to watch the craftsmen at work as they throw pots, decorate them with delicate designs and then fire them in the roaring furnace. The showroom sells everything from tea pots to plov dishes (which make ideal souvenirs) and, if you fancy having a go yourself, you can mould, paint and take lunch at the neighbouring workshop of Rustam Usmanov.

    Masters give tours and serve lunches as well as offering travellers an informal training course in traditional Rishton ceramic making.  Rishton is best visited as a stop on the way to Fergana from Kokand (or vice-versa).  It’s about a 45-minute ride by car.

    Rishton monuments map
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    Silk factory
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    Margilan
    The city was well known already in antiquity because it made the best silk in Central Asia, able to compete in quality and beauty with that of Chinese one. Caravans with Margilan silk tailed to Kashgar, Bagdad, Khorasan and even to Greece moving along the Silk Road.
    Chakar & Toron-Bazar mosques
    Margilan
    Chakar mosque was built on the site of an old, dilapidated buildings of the cult. Only summer part has been preserved from the building, representing closed on three sides aivan with columns. The ceiling has peculiar painting and dissected into rectangular ceiling beams, each of which contains images of original vases with bouquets of flowers on a green or red background.
    Pir Siddiq Complex
    Margilan
    Pir Siddiq Complex was built in the middle of the XVIII century. With the lapse of time it has been surrounded with an architectural complex including a mosque, minaret, courtyard with a tomb, darvozahona and dovecote.
    Said Akhmad-Khoja Madrasah
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    Margilan
    The Said Akhmad-Khoja Madrasah was built at the end of the XIX century. This is one of the “youngest” Margilan monuments, aged a little more than 200 years. The madrasah boasts harmony of the composition, proportionality of the elements and rational design of the building. The basis of the complex is the madrasah itself and a mosque, consisting of a hall and ayvan with painted ceilings.
    Tours in Rishton
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    Tour to Fergana Valley
    Tashkent – Kokand – Fergana – Rishtan – Margilan – Tashkent
    $220 2 days
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    An exciting cultural 2-day tour to Fergana Valley is a tour for those who are willing to learn more about the culture of this picturesque region of fertile plains and Uzbek traditional crafts. In the Fergana Valley, you will visit Rishtan, the homeland of pottery, wool carpets craftsmen who pass secrets of their ingenuity for generations
    Uzbekistan crafts heritage
    Tashkent – Samarkand – Bukhara – Ferghana – Margilan – Rishtan – Kokand – Tashkent
    $680 8 days
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    This tour gives you an opportunity to observe the first-hand traditional techniques used, from the farming of silk cocoons to the weaving and dyeing of heirloom carpets, and the intricate painting of pottery and tiles. Along the way you'll be treated to stunning landscapes, fascinating ancient sites and regional cuisine
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