House-workshop of Turgunbay Mirzaakhmedov in Margilan

In ancient times silk was considered as a luxury. It was the most precious commodity, which was used for the production of money, as a tribute and as an instrument of payment. Pieces of silk cloth found in Northern Bactria (Kampir-Tepa, 3rd-2nd century BC) are evidence of the complex development of silk production in ancient times in Central Asia. Bukhara was initially the center of local silk production, after which the center was moved to the Feghana Valley in Margilan.

Many dynasties of weavers have lived in Margilan, one of the most famous of which is the Mirzaakhmedov family. Turgunbay Mirzaakhmedov, the head of the family, is a leading master. He is a master of the seventh generation. Silk cloth woven by his hands represents the best patterns of national Uzbek cloth. Turgunbay Mirzaakhmedov was born in 1944 into a family of hereditary weavers. He was also among those who founded the Yodgorlik factory. This factory is the only place for handcrafted textile production in Central Asia. Working there, Turgunbay Mirzaakhmedov created more than 100 cloth designs.

Turgunbay-aka is not only a gifted master, but also a man who worries about the preservation and revival of the traditions of Uzbek hand weaving. He has restored for production such types of silk cloth as "Shoiy", "Adras", "Bekasab", and "Banoras" which were discontinued during the 1950s and 60s. Turgunbay Mirzaakhmedov is a first-class master of Uzbekistan who has received UNESCO certification for his contribution to the preservation and development of weaving traditions.

Handcrafted silk production is a long and labor-intensive process involving 38 stages. And, thanks to such masters as Turgunbay Mirzaakhmedov and others, this process and its technology have been saved to be passed on to future generations.

Turgunbay Mirzaakhmedov has imparted his knowledge to his son Rasul. Rasul treats with care his father's heritage, and creates very beautiful silk and semi-silk cloth. From year to year Turgunbay and Rasul Mirzaakhmedov establish new color combinations and patterns. Rasul Mirzaakhmedov has surpassed even his father. Since the end of the twentieth century, he has begun work on the restoration of a unique type of silk cloth named "Ala-Bakhmal". Production of this kind of silk ceased about a century ago. This particular silk has been used only for the tailoring of expensive festive attire. A rare specimen of "Ala-Bakhmal", with a length more than 6 meters, is kept in the collection of famous collector Gvido Goldman. This length of material includes a pattern of alternate white and blue stripes. "Ala-Bakhmal" was produced only in Bukhara. As such, it has been prestigious to wear garments made from it. "Ala-Bakhmal" was produced during a short period from 1860 to 1910. Fortunately, Rasul Mirzaakhmedov has revived these forgotten technologies.

During your visit to the home workshop, you will not only admire the unique silk creations of the Mirzaakhmedovs and observe the process of silk production, but take pleasure in Uzbek national cuisine in a warm family atmosphere. The cordial owners set the table abundantly with the gifts of the rich lands of the Ferghana Valley.

Guests can also stay in the house of the Mirzaakhmedovs for several days. Here, cozy rooms and delicious lunches and dinners in the family circle can be offered to guests. And, of course, you will have the exclusive opportunity of being plunged into the world of silk tailoring in an atmosphere of carefully preserved traditions.

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