The Fergana Valley is a picturesque area that lies at the junction of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, surrounded by mountains and fed by the Syr Darya River. Uzbekistan’s most populous region, the area is known for its conservative traditions and diverse cities:
- Rishtan – famed throughout Uzbekistan for its production of brightly-patterned blue and green ceramics;
- Fergana – the capital of Fergana region, it stands apart in the Valley for its Soviet-style boulevards and tree-lined streets;
- Kuva – an overlooked little city with well-kept gardens and fascinating Buddhist temple remains;
- Margilan – founded around the time of the Silk Road, it’s now home to Uzbekistan’s largest silk factory;
- Kokand – situated at the ancient crossroads of the Fergana Valley and still the main transportation hub of the region.
A two-day Fergana Valley Tour is the absolute best way to maximize your time in eastern Uzbekistan. While there is so much to see and experience in the valley, the region’s most popular sites and workshops are spread throughout several different cities, making it a challenge to see them all in a short period of time without the use of private transportation and a knowledgeable guide, both of which will be provided for the duration of your two-day tour.
Day 1: Tashkent – Kokand – Rishtan – Fergana
To begin your tour of the Fergana Valley, you’ll head to the Tashkent South Railway Station at 07:00 am. Your train will depart at 08:07 and arrive in Kokand at 12:11. Your guide will meet you at the train station to start your city tour of Kokand, once the capital of the entire Kokand Khanate. Your tour will include:
- Excursion to the Palace of Khudoyar-Khan, an impressive 19th century mosque and most famous attraction in Kokand;
- Visit Jami Mosque, the iconic centerpiece of Chorsu Square;
- Tour of Norbutabiy Madrasah, built in the 18th century yet serving as a functional madrasah even today.
You’ll then drive to Rishtan (50 km) to the house of well-known ceramic masters Rustam Usmanov and Alisher Nazarov, whose works are exhibited in world exhibitions. Your visit at the pottery master’s home will include:
- tour of the pottery workshop;
- instruction in the pottery process;
- seeing the collection of local ceramics.
Your tour will continue onward to Fergana city (50 km). Arrive in Fergana and check-in to your hotel for the night.
For an additional payment, one of Rishtan’s artisans can give you a master class in ceramics making. The cost is 10 USD per person.
Day 2: Fergana – Kuva – Margilan – Tashkent
Begin your day with breakfast at the hotel and continue your tour in the Fergana Valley:
- Shop at Kumtepa Bazaar, the largest market in Fergana Valley (Thursday or Sunday only);
- Drive to Kuva (35 km). Visit the ancient Buddhist settlement for which Kuva is famous in the region, and see the Al-Ferghani Memorial Complex, the famous medieval astronomer and mathematician.
Continue to Margilan (30 km), where your tour will include:
- Visit to Said Akhmad-Khoja Madrasah, currently a home for several craftsmen producing handmade carpets and silk;
- Walk through the traditional market;
- Tour of the Yodgorlik Silk Factory and workshop, where you can observe the process of silk weaving with traditional Ikat patterns and shop for handmade khan-atlas material (closed on Sundays).
Drive back to Tashkent through the mountain pass Kamchik with its gorgeous, panoramic views (2267 m above the sea level, 320 km, 4-5 hours).
Arrive in Tashkent, where your tour will end with your guide and driver dropping you off at your hotel.
- Private, local guide;
- Entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary;
- One-night accommodation and breakfast;
- Economy-class ticket for train from Tashkent to Kokand;
- Transport throughout the city tour.