Nadezhda Dukhovny
Nadezhda Dukhovny

Ancient and Unique Uzbekistan: Andijan region II

“Wise people call glory the second existence”

(Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur, 1483-1530)

Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

How accurate and faithful was the incomparable Babur in his words. He seemed to foresee his future, performing feats and creating immortal works.

His poetic works are the best examples of oriental lyrics, praising human dignity, love, and decency.

The Mughal Empire was created by Babur when the entire ruling class, led by him, penetrated into India. The empire existed for quite a long time – from the middle of the 16th century to the middle of the 18th century and operated in the territory of modern India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and southeastern Afghanistan.

The famous symbol of India Taj Mahal was built by Babur’s great-grandson Shah Jahan in the 17th century.

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

Baburnama, the historical work of Babur, is rightfully called one of the best works of Turkic prose. This book is a challenging overview of historical records. It is dedicated to describing Babur’s activities, depicting all the vicissitudes of his life full of adventures. Today Baburnama has been translated into 31 languages of the world.

Babur exchanged letters with many eminent poets and writers of his time. Once he sent his poems to the great Alisher Navoi and received approving comments on his work. Later in Baburnama Babur wrote about Alisher Navoi, calling him the patron saint of people of science and art.

Gulbadan Begum, Babur’s daughter, is considered the only woman historian in the Muslim East. Her work “Humayun-name” contains important material on the history of her time, as well as memories of her famous father.

So, in memory of him, on the central square of Andijan, a monument was erected to the graceful Babur sitting on a horse.

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

And seven kilometers from Andijan, Babur’s Memorial Park was opened on the Bagishamol hill, where they brought land from Agra, where the ruler died, and land from Kabul, his burial place.

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

It is not for nothing that Bagishamol Hill was chosen for the creation of the park. Zakhiriddin Babur in his work “Baburnama” said that on this mountain there was a picturesque garden with khujra and aiwan – his favorite place for walks and solitude. Before leaving his homeland forever, Babur came here to say goodbye. Centuries later, in 1993, a symbolic tomb was erected on this place, in the marble vault of which the earth from the ruler’s burial place was walled up.

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

Also, a museum has been built in the park, where items and rare exhibits related to the life and work of Babur are collected. The museum also houses a large collection of unique literary works not only by Babur but also by his descendants, who inherited his poetic talent. Among the rare items, you can see diplomatic documents, various souvenirs, and gifts. Thus, Babur and Baburids tried to keep in touch with the Central Asian khans. On special interactive screens, you can see introductory presentations about the life and work of the famous figure.

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

The memorial park resembles a garden with its picturesqueness. Numerous trees and flowers are planted on its territory. Some rare species were brought here especially from all over the world. You can climb to the top of the Bagishamol hill by cable car, from where a magnificent panorama of the park and the entire city opens.

This beautiful park has become the hallmark of the city. Both connoisseurs of Zakhiriddin Babur’s creativity and pilgrims come here to perform pilgrimage rituals and honor the memory of the great ruler.

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

In the previous post, I already mentioned the name of Qutayba ibn Muslim whose mausoleum we can see in the Andijan region. But who was Qutayba ibn Muslim and what mark did he leave in history?

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

According to historical records, Qutayba ibn Muslim ibn Umar ibn Hussein ibn Robiya ibn Khalid ibn Ussayd al-Haid was born in 669 in Basra, in what is now Iraq. He was a native of the most ancient Arab tribe of Bahili. A prominent Arab military leader, thanks to his organizational skills and martial arts, was appointed governor of Khorasan in 704.

It is Qutayba who is considered one of the main organizers of the Arab conquest campaigns in the territory of Central Asia, then Maverannahr. Having passed through the Amu Darya River, which separated the lands between the territory of the Caliphate and the new unconquered lands for a long time, Kuteiba’s troops captured Kesh, Bukhara, Khorezm, and Samarkand, and behind them Chach (Tashkent). Further, his troops occupied the Fergana Valley.

With the arrival of Qutayba ibn Muslim in Maverannahr, the Islamization of the local regions began. For example, in Bukhara, Friday prayers began to be held with the participation of newly converted townspeople, and since they did not yet know the Arabic language and the words of the prayer, the interpretation of the Koran was in Persian.

Qutayba ibn Muslim ruled Maverannahr for about 13 years and at the age of 48 was beheaded by the rebels who refused to obey the newly elected caliph Suleiman.

Today it is not known for certain where exactly the Arab commander was killed. According to one version, he died and was buried in Khorasan, according to another version in the Fergana Valley.

One of the tombs of the Arab commander is mentioned in the annals of the ancient historian Narshakhi under the name “Mozor-Buva”.

People living now in the Andijan region sacredly honor the memory of their famous predecessors. What are they doing themselves? From time immemorial, talented people have lived in the region, who carefully preserve and pass on from generation to generation the unique traditions of folk art. These traditions do not allow them to forget about their roots and culture.

The best knives are made in two ancient cities of Uzbekistan – in Chust (Namangan region) and Shakhrikhan (Andijan region).

Whole family dynasties work in Shakhrikhan to create knives. Such masters are called “pichokchi” here. There are many open workshops where anyone can see the process of making a knife with their own eyes and choose the one that suits them. From here, knives are delivered throughout Uzbekistan and sold as a high-quality product.

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

Such knives must be looked after conscientiously. It is recommended to store them in a scabbard, wipe them dry and give them for sharpening only to professionals, because such knives for the Uzbek people are a talisman and protection for the home, as well as part of the national culture.

The National House of Yunusali-Ota Gaziev, one of those people who brings joy and admiration with their craft and devotes his life to folk art, has truly become one of the favorite places to visit.

Yunusali-Ota Gaziev. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Andijan Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The old Uzbek house in the national style, turned into a modern rest house, attracts and mesmerizes guests from all over the world with bright performances of dorboz masters and magnificent examples of handicrafts.

At present, the Andijan Samosi dorboz group under the leadership of Yunusali-Shchta is organizing various performances for the guests. A rope is suspended high in the center of the courtyard. And for children, bright and colorful circus shows are organized here.

All these possibilities become a great art school for beginner rope walkers.

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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