About Uzbekistan

Uzbek Khan Atlas
14 September 2017
Uzbek Khan Atlas

"Davron's workshop in the Fergana valley made traditional atlas silk - the national fabric of Uzbekistan. Most atlas silk was made on machines, but in Marghilan they had retained the traditional approach, making their workshop a mecca for textile enthusiasts. I visited his workshop a couple of months later and watched the complicated process of dyeing atlas silk using ikat dyeing, in which warp threads are bound according to a pattern and then immersed in dye-baths, building up a colour pattern through resist-dyeing, a kind of tie-dyeing. The reassembled warp threads are then woven with just one weft colour, creating a vertical blur of colours subtly bleeding into each other. A young weaver in love is credited with the invention of atlas silk. The object of his affections was the daughter of a wealthy landowner who showed no interest in the humble weaver. His only hope, she told him, was to dazzle her with the most beautiful fabric ever created. The besotted weaver set to work, but nothing he produced received more than a scornful glance. Finally - his hands worn to shreds - he gave up. Dejected, he went to a stream that ran near his workshop, dipping his bleeding hands in the waters. Blood-red blended with the shimmering yellow of the reflected sun and dashes of green from the overhanging trees and the patches of blue sky. Inspired, he rushed back to his loom and wove atlas silk. His shallow sweetheart fell passionately and predictably in love with both the design and the designer."

Christopher Aslan Alexander "A Carpet Ride to Khiva" 2010

Production of Khan Atlas

History of Khan-Atlas tells that long time ago one of the rulers of Margilan who had four wives decided to marry for the fifth time. His choice fell on the young daughter of a poor weaver. Being annoyed, the girl's father fell on his knees before the old khan, asking him to withdraw from the girl. The khan replied that he would fulfill the request of a poor man, if the next morning he created something extraordinary that would make the Khan forget about the beauty of the girl. The sad weaver sat on the bank of the channel, not knowing what to do next. And suddenly he saw the reflection of clouds in the water, which were painted with a rainbow of colors after the last rain. "Oh, heavens, thank you for the idea!" - He cried and ran home to get to work immediately.

The next morning he wove an unusual cloth: light and airy as a cloud, cool like a pure mountain air and as iridescent as a rainbow. When the master brought this extraordinary fabric to the khan, he was shocked with its enchanting beauty, "How did you do that?" - He asked the weaver. And the weaver said: "I took green rain-washed leaves, added colors of tulip petals, the blush of dawn, blue night sky, patches of sunlight on the water and bright eyes of my beloved daughter and mixed everything up." The unusual fabric was called Khan-Atlas ("Khan silk"), and the khan married the weaver's daughter to his beloved son.

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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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