Urgut

Geographical coordinates: 39°24'00" N 67°15'00" E
Population: 350,000 (2003)
Time zone: UTC+5
Phone code: 366

Situated only 40 kilometers from Samarkand at the foot of Zarafshan Mountains at a height of 1000 metres, the traditional Central Asian handicrafts and market town of Urgut makes for a very interesting excursion for the visitor, particularly on Saturday and Sunday, which are the main market-days.

Urgut has the largest market in the Samarkand region selling traditional handicrafts, both old and new, particularly suzanne, carpets, jewels, metalwork and ceramics. The market also has smithies, tin workshops and stalls selling locally produced tea sets, clothes and traditional leather boots.

There are also food stalls serving plov and manti. The secrets of the production of traditional Urgut ceramics, with their characteristic streaky glazes of mustard-gold, brown, green and pale-citric colours, have been transmitted through seventeen generations by the Oblakulov family.

It is possible to see and buy these attractive traditional wares at the workshop and house of the Oblakulov family, who also produce traditional suzani embroideries with natural dyes.

Other interesting Urgut sights include the Chor Chinor garden with its fifty ancient plane trees, irrigated with waters from a sacred spring; it is said that a hollow in one of the plane trees was used as a school in the past.

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