Nadezhda Dukhovny
Nadezhda Dukhovny

Ancient and Unique Uzbekistan: Andijan region I

The Andijan region is famous for its main city the city of Andijan, which in ancient times was located on the Great Silk Road, and is also known as the birthplace of the founder of the Mughal Empire, Uzbek poet and writer Zakhiriddin Muhammad Babur.

The Andijan Region. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The history of the region, the smallest in area, and at the same time the most densely populated one of Uzbekistan, begins with the mention of the ancient state of Davan, which emerged here in the 6th century, in which agriculture with artificial irrigation, cattle breeding were developed, and in which also the so-called “Heavenly Horses of Fergana” were bred here.

This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

Andijan can rightfully be considered ancient since archaeologists have established that people lived in the city 2500 years ago.

Andijan. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

In the distant VI century BC, when the Achaemenids conquered Central Asia, Andijan managed to maintain independence and this contributed to the creation of the Davan state.

And during the transition period, when people left bronze tools of labor in the past and switched to iron, Davan was attacked by the Chinese Empire. The reason for this attack was the desire of the Emperor Wu of Han to capture the argamaks, the oldest and most valuable breed of horses. But China lost this battle and the subsequent one, by the way, too.

In the 9th century, the city became part of the Samanid state and one of the main cities of the Fergana Valley. During this time, he was referred to as Andukan. Then, in the XIV century, during the reign of Amir Timur, the city reaches the peak of the development of science, culture, and economy.

Also in the Andijan region, the city of Akhsikent, was born Zakhiriddin Muhammad Babur – the famous poet and military leader, who at the age of 11 became the ruler of Andijan. He is a representative of the Timurid dynasty and later the founder of the Mughal Empire in India. It was his direct descendant, Shah Jahan, who built one of the Wonders of the World – the Taj Mahal!

At present, Andijan is the center of industry and mechanical engineering. The city has a passenger car plant and many large manufacturing plants.

The city of Khanabad is located in the eastern part of the Andijan region on the coast of the Karadarya River in a picturesque area at an altitude of 850m above sea level. There is also a unique sanatorium of the same name with an area of ​​10.5 hectares.

Sanatorium Khanabad is a resort specializing in the treatment of diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract, nervous system, and cardiovascular system. The Khanabad sanatorium also treats patients suffering from chronic gastrointestinal, gynecological, and urological diseases, diseases of the peripheral nervous system, as well as bones and joints.

Pine, poplar, oak, acacia, walnut, chestnut, maple, and other trees grow on the territory of the sanatorium. The natural conditions of the region are an ideal source of oxygen-rich air, which provides an excellent opportunity not only for the treatment of various diseases but also just for a good rest.

The Khanabad sanatorium. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

More than 400 tourist sites are located in the Andijan region. These are museums and parks, archaeological and historical monuments, places of pilgrimage for Muslims, as well as picturesque recreation areas with excellent climatic conditions.

Ruins of an ancient settlement are located in the Markhamat district of the Andijan region, 38 km from the city of Andijan. These are the ruins of the ancient city of Ershi, the capital of the Davan state, which existed here from the 5th-4th centuries BC to the 4th century AD. Ershi was later renamed Mingtepa. Once the Great Silk Road passed through this trading city. The ancient capital of Davan was mentioned in Chinese written sources. Here, crafts and agriculture were developed, and it was from here that the famous “heavenly horses” were exported for the Chinese imperial court, of which Alexander the Great himself dreamed.

For many years the ancient settlement of Mingtepa kept a secret that was revealed to the world only recently.

Mingtepa. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The two-thousand-year-old fortress served in antiquity not just as a garrison, as archaeologists believed earlier, but as a full-fledged city.

Having visited this place, you can form a complete picture of the defense of the ancient Central Asian cities since here you can see the ruins of six-meter walls and towers with loopholes. The city itself consisted of three parts: its external part, the internal part, and the citadel.

Mingtepa. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

Mingtepa helped archaeologists learn more about the history of the ancient Fergana state of Davan, and their excavations have not stopped until now, since many of Mingtepa’s secrets have yet to be revealed.

Another famous ancient archaeological site of the Andijan region, dating back to the Iron Age, Sarbon Tepa is located in the northwestern part of the center of Andijan at the intersection of Tutzor and Sujaat streets.

The first excavations of the ancient settlement were carried out in the 60-70s of the XX century. Then the first cultural layers dating back to the 5-8 centuries BC were discovered.

Sarbon Tepa. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

In 2001, excavations were carried out here by a small group of scientists, as a result of which cultural layers with clay products and stone tools related to the primitive period of human life were discovered.

According to archaeological research, the territory of Sarbon Tepa was approximately 1 hectare.

This place dates back to the beginning of the Iron Age (6-4 centuries BC) and is part of the cultural center of Eylaton. The study of the Sarbon Tepa complex is very important in the study of the history of the whole Fergana Valley. To date, the territory of the ancient archaeological monument is surrounded by a wall and is included in the list of specially protected areas related to the ancient history of the Andijan region.

Sarbon Tepa. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

Uch Buloq (“Three sources”) is a place of pilgrimage located in the Andijan region, on the southern side of the Andijan-Namanangan highway. The picturesque corner consists of a rectangular garden and a flower garden. In the central part of the garden, there is an aiwan for reading prayers during the pilgrimage. The iwan is decorated with ornamental carvings in the national style.

Uch Buloq. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

Accurate information about the appearance of three sources at this place has not been preserved. However, local legend says that this place was visited by Saint Seyid Burkhaniddin Kilich. After his visit, numerous poplars grew on the territory.

Uch Buloq. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The three springs that have appeared here are located at a distance of 1-1.5 meters from each other and are thermal. Many pilgrims come here to drink some water. It is believed that water can relieve pain and cure many ailments.

In the neighborhood of Dukchi Eshan in Andijan, there is a unique structure – the ancient Kala fortress. The complex was built in 1880-1881 in the city of Andijan as a defensive fortress from the troops of Tsarist Russia.

The height of the walls of the fortress was more than 10 meters so that every district and street of Andijan were visible at a glance. Inside the fortress, there was a defensive mound with barracks for soldiers, an armory, a kitchen, and an artillery base.

Over the following years, the fortress witnessed many events, such as the popular uprising led by Dukchi Eshan in Andijan in 1898.

Kala fortress. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

Each city has iconic places that make it special. In Andijan, such a place is the Devonaboy mosque. This incredibly beautiful building reflects both the rich history of the city and modern architectural solutions.

The Devonaboy mosque. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

It consists of two towering minarets is located in the Eski Shahar (Old City) area.

This cathedral mosque is the largest mosque in the Fergana Valley. It was built in 1899 in the very center of Andijan, and for 121 years it has been one of the most visited religious sites in Andijan.

The mosque got its name from the name of one rich merchant Devonaboy. The most eminent craftsmen of their time were involved in the construction.

The Devonaboy mosque. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

In the 1920s, the mosque was closed. But since 1944, it has been operating continuously.

The building was reconstructed in 2018. It was also was noticeably expanded and now 5 thousand people can pray inside at the same time.

The facade and minarets of the spacious building are decorated in oriental style, the entrance to the mosque has a solemn portal. The height of the minarets was increased to 35 meters.

Surprisingly, the appearance of the mosque combines elements of traditional oriental and modern architecture. The beautiful walls of the building, the prayer hall, verandas, ablution rooms have become a place for a calm and full-fledged stay in the mosque.

In addition, parishioners can visit a library and a computer room on the territory of the mosque. The mosque has become a real landmark of the city.

The Devonaboy mosque. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The Khonako Mosque is another monument of Islamic architecture. Its history dates back to 1560. The Khonako Mosque is located in the Jalabek region, 5 km from the center of Andijan. The building consists of a decorated dome, a khanqah, as well as a covered and open terrace, and a minaret.

The Khonako Mosque. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The mosque was built facing east towards the old guzar. In front of the mosque, to the left of the building, there is a 15-16-meter patterned tower. Near the same place is the old cemetery. The inner courtyard of the mosque is made up of two-story cells decorated with ornamented flowers and poppy patterns dating back to the 16-17 centuries, and in the summer months, visitors to the mosque can enjoy the fresh coolness from a small reservoir.

The inner veranda consists of a rectangular room and three side rows of columns. The foundation of the columns of the mosque is octagonal, decorated with fine carvings and ornamental patterns and mosaics.

The Khonako Mosque. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

Another pilgrimage site, the mausoleum of Khuja Abdulloh Tugdor is located in the central park of the city of Asaka, not far from the Shakhrikhan spring. According to historical information, the capital of the Karakhanid state, Yezgen, was located here in the 7th century.

The Khuja Abdullah Tugdor mausoleum. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

In the historical work of Baburnama, which is the memoir of the great native of these places, Babur, a representative of the respected Sayyid clan is mentioned, descended from the Prophet Muhammad himself, Burkhaniddin Kilich. His family was also associated with Babur himself.

When the Kokand Khanate was formed, the descendants of this family were sent to all neighboring regions and villages. Among them was Khoja Abdullah Tugdor. Arriving in Asaka and settling there, he began to preach the philosophy of Islam among the local population.

Khoja Abdullah Tugdor was buried in the Pista cemetery in the city of Asaka around 1840. Here is the unique mausoleum of the great Islamic enlightener.

The Khuja Abdullah Tugdor mausoleum. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The Imam-Ota mausoleum has also long been popular among Uzbeks as a place of pilgrimage. The mausoleum got its name in honor of Imam Muhammad Hanafi. Researchers of the origin of Islam in Uzbekistan note that Muhammad Hanafi is the son of the governor of Khorasan Hazrat Ali, who was nicknamed Bobo Khorsan here, and his son was nicknamed Imam-Ota for his contribution to the process of popularizing Islam in Central Asia.

This Islamic shrine was built in the 18th century and rebuilt in the late 19th century. The historical site was taken under state protection in 1982 as an architectural monument.

The Imam-Ota mausoleum. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The Jome architectural complex, located in the old part of the city of Andijan, was built by the ruler Muhammadalibai in 1885-1892. The old complex includes a madrasah, a minaret, and a khanqah – all according to the traditions of Muslim urban planning in the Fergana Valley. The author of the project was the eminent architect of that time Isakhan Mohammed Muso Oglu.

The buildings of the complex are attractive for their size, which is considered one of the largest in Central Asia, and magnificent traditional decor. The total area of ​​the complex is more than 2 hectares. It has a rectangular shape with domes at four corners. On the west side, there is a khanqah a tower, and 50 rooms. The surface of the minaret is decorated with an ornament in the form of a medallion, inside of which sayings from the Koran are engraved in Arabic.

In past centuries, muddaris (teachers of theological schools) and imams were trained in the complex, now there is the Museum of Literature and Art of the Andijan region, where you can learn about the culture and history of the region.

The Jome architectural complex. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The Jome architectural complex is now one of the rarest architectural monuments, preserved after the Andijan earthquake of 1902.

The complex was completely renovated in the early 2000s and taken under state protection.

An old hotel is located on the eastern side of the Alisher Navoi Park in Andijan. It was built in 1905-1907 by order of the owner of a large cotton factory in Andijan, Ahmadbekkhoji Temurbek Oglu. Prominent architects and architects of Uzbekistan took part in the construction, including the national architect Yusufali Musayev, master Tashkhan, master Yahya and others.

The best artists of that time worked on finishing the hotel and carving on ganch. The interior decoration of the rooms is made in the style typical for the Fergana Valley. The marvelous patterns on the attic ceiling have survived to this day in their original, very good condition. The complete reconstruction of the building was carried out in the 70s of the XX century.

Andijan region is one of the most ancient and unique regions of Uzbekistan. For many centuries this region has been famous for its ancient pilgrimage sites. Among these, a worthy place is occupied by the mausoleum of Qutayba ibn Muslim, the Arab commander, the first person who brought Islam to the territory of Central Asia. It is located in the Kilichmozor mahalla of the Jalakuduk region in Andijan.

Many legends are associated with this place. It is believed that this Arab commander passed through this place many thousands of years ago. An ancient tree, which Qutayba ibn Muslim allegedly touched, also grows here. According to legend, the juice dripping from the trunk of an ancient elm gives a person vigor, strength, and health.

The Qutayba ibn Muslim mausoleum. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The area of ​​the mausoleum at that time was 5 hectares of land, and the mausoleum itself reached a height of 20 meters. In the Soviet years, for ideological reasons, the mausoleum was destroyed and restored only in the years of independence.

Today the mausoleum is a small brick building with a wide lancet entrance. The entrance is decorated with small decorative brickwork at the bottom and top of the main facade.

The Otakuzi madrasah is located in the Pakhtaabad district of the Andijan region. This majestic building is 115 years old. The uniqueness of this madrasah lies in the fact that it is located practically on the water. A canal runs under the walls of the building. The madrasah is named after the local ruler of the Khoja Otakuzi or Kuzibay-Ota. Kuzibay-Ota was a wealthy man, and at the same time, he considered enlightenment as one of the foundations of Islam. Kuzibai-Ota decided to build a large madrasah at his own expense.

The Otakuzi madrasah. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

Today the building of the madrasah has been transformed into a mosque, which has the status of a historical architectural monument.

The Otakuzi madrasah. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The only Islamic spiritual and educational institution of the Andijan region is located in the Jalabek village of the Altynkul region. This is the Sayyid Mukhiddin Makhdum madrasah. One of the largest madrasahs in the Fergana Valley was founded in 1992 in honor of Sayyid Mukhiddin Makhdum (1874-1943), a famous Andijan educator, who served as the main mudarris in the largest cathedral mosque of Andijan at that time.

In 1925, the venerable domla Sayyid Mukhiddin Makhdum received the title of spiritual leader in eastern Turkestan in the Kashgar region of western China. Having devoted his entire life to Islamic science, he died in Andijan region at the age of 63.

From the moment of its foundation, the building functioned as an unfinished building of 18 rooms. In 1996, it was renovated by the local population and was a two-story building, consisting of 13 classrooms and 13 rooms of a local hostel.

In 2001, construction began on a modern three-story building for the educational institution, which was completed in 2003. The building has elements of oriental and Islamic architecture, with modern infrastructure, computer labs, language laboratories, chemistry and biology classes, a celebration hall, and a modern dormitory. There is also a large dining room.

An additional building was built in 2004.

The Sayyid Mukhiddin Makhdum madrasah. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The madrasah has a rich Islamic and secular library. There is also a modern information center and a small mosque.

The educational program in the madrasah includes the study of the foundations of Islam – hadith, tafsir, fiqh, tajwid, and other disciplines.

In March 2017, over 1000 students graduated from this educational institution, now working as teachers, mullahs, imam-khatibs, muhaddis in various spiritual and educational institutions throughout the republic.

About the Author
Nadezhda Dukhovny was born and raised in Uzbekistan and made aliya in 2005. She holds an MA in Linguistics from Tel Aviv University and works in translation. She has a true interest about her motherland and would like to tell more about that fascinating country to make Israeli readers familiar with another culture from other part of the globe.
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