Jalal-Abad province, Kyrgyzstan

Cities and places in Kyrgyzstan

Jalal-Abad is the administrative, economic and cultural center of Jalal-Abad Province. It lies in the south of the Kugart valley, near the foothills of the Babash Ata mountains to the North.

The climate is noted for dry, hot summers, warm and sunny autumns with rare precipitation and warm winters with high humidity. The region is a major center of fruit and vegetable farming.

One of the main branches of the Silk Road passed through Jalal-Abad, and the region has played host to travellers for thousands of years, although few archaeological remains are visible today - except in some of the more remote parts of the province - such as Saimalu Tash and the Chaktal valley. These have included travellers, traders, travelers and pilgrims (to the various holy sights) and sick people visiting the curative spas such as that at Ayub Tau mountain, at an altitude of 700m above sea level, some three kilometers from the city.

Jalal-Abad is famous for its spas. There is a legend that the water from the Hozret-Ayub-Paigambar spa cured lepers. According to the legend there was a grave, a mosque and the Khan's palace near the spa.

Abad is often used in Asian place names to refer to the person who founded the community. It is said that DJalal-Abad was named after Jalal ad din, who was reknowned for setting up caravanserais (silk road hotels) to serve travelers - especially the many pilgims who came to the holy mountain.

In the early 19th century, a small Kokand fortress was built here, and a small village (kishlak) grew up around this. The local people were engaged in agriculture and trade and provided services to the pilgrims visiting the spas. Then, in the 1870's, Russian migrants came to the region. They set up a garrison town and military hospital. Jalal-Abad developed as a market town, where cattle were bought and sold, and so became known as a place of interaction between settled and nomadic peoples.

The town had medieval narrow curved streets and the houses were surrounded with high clay walls. Only mosques were decorated with colorful ornaments.

In 1916, a railway was built from Andijan to Jalal-Abad. When the Soviets established their power in the region, great importance was attached to the Jalal-Abad spas. Health resorts were built and both agriculture and the food industry developed rapidly. The city underwent a major period of reconstruction in the 1950's. These days, Jalal-Abad is home to enterprises in the oil, construction, wood processing, electro-technical, light and food industries. As in all former Soviet towns, the main street was called Lenin Street - and in DJalal-Abad it has retained it's name, with fountains and a statue of Vladimir Illych.

There is an Historical and cultural museum, as well as a Community Based Tourism Project which can arrange accommodation and services in DJalal-Abad and throughout the region. Jalal-Abad is also famous throughout Kyrgyzstan and many adjacent countries for producing the finest mineral water in Central Asia, with several brands being sold as far away as Europe.