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Ferghana valley is a very fertile are between the Alay mountains in the south and the Tien Shan mountains in the north, and is many places you can see both mountain chains at the same time.
The Russians tried to grow as much cotton as they could, but luckily there still is also a lot of fruit and vegetables on the land. The people are more religious here than in Tashkent city. Here the women are mostly covered with long colorful dresses, whereas the majority of (young) women in Tashkent, Russian as well as Uzbek, wears short skirts.
The valley is not only Uzbek, it is shared between Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The borders are not always clear, it can happen that you, on the way from one Uzbek city to another, have to pass the border twice.

The meandering borders have also lead to the existence of some Uzbek enclaves inside Kyrgyzstan, Sokh and Shakhimardon being the most famous ones. Shakhimardon lies about 50 kilometers south of the border and it's altitude is 1500 meters. You can hire nice dacha's and from there a cable car will take you up into the mountains, where you find the white and the blue lake. Actually, in Uzbek the name of the lake is "Kok-Sub", and since the word kok can mean blue as well as green, some people also call it the green lake. It looked definitely blue, though. During the trip in the cable car you see some animals standing on the boulders, that stand too still to be true. A closer look tells you, that they are statues, in the middle of an otherwise totally deserted land.

Shakh-i-mardon in Persian means "King of men"; people say that Ali, the son in law of the prophet Mohammed, has found his last resting place here. Therefore, muslims come to this place to pray.
In 1920 the mosque and mausoleum were burnt down, probably by the Russians who did not particularly like the population to be Muslim. After Uzbek independence in 1991, a small shrine was rebuilt.
In 1998, a piece of the glacier broke off and caused an enormous flood, that took the lives of many people and destroyed most of the enclave. Traces remain visible, especially in the cable cart going to the lake, it seems like a rock shower has been taking place only recently.
The Alay mountains are beautiful and also a bit scary. They are relatively young and therefore very steep and sometimes more than 4000 meters high. Weather conditions can change dramatically within 5 minutes.
You can find a lot of handicraft in Ferghana valley. In Margilan, beautiful silk is made. Bunches of thread are painted with natural colors and woven by hand into fabric. Many people think Margilan is a suburb of Ferghana city, but on the contrary, it is a very old city. It is at least two thousand years old whereas Ferghana is known since 1877, when it started of as "New Margilan", a colonial annexe of Margilan. I was told that the name Ferghana (Farkhona) in Persian means "City of prostitutes" since Russian soldiers came here to pay for their physical love.
Rishtan, a little more to the east, is famous for its ceramics. There are several masters here, who work with their sons. They have passed the tradition for ages from generation to generation. They use mainly green and blue colors on a white background, whereas ceramics for Samarkand and Bukhara are more yellow and red. Another famous article in Ferghana valley are the hand made knifes.

In Ferghana valley, you will not find many architectural monuments like on the Silk Road. One of the few ones stands in Kokand, a city that was once the capital of the "Kokand khanate" and therefore has the Khan's palace. It has 7 courtyards and 113 rooms. It could serve as a nice hotel since all the other ones in Ferghana are absolutely lousy, however, nobody has thought about this yet. There is a harem in which the sultan's concubines slept. His mother slept in a yurt (a Kyrgyz tent) in the middle of one of the courtyards, since she was of Kyrgys origin.