Wanderings in Uzbekistan - 5 - The Silk Road - Fergana Valley

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October 7th 2015
Published: October 9th 2015
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Road-stalls selling snacks Road-stalls selling snacks Road-stalls selling snacks

Including bags of dried goats cheese
We drive out of the large city of Tashkent, on a well-maintained dual carriageway, passing large Soviet-style buildings, modern factories and extensive newly built apartment blocks. We are soon gradually increasing in altitude as we head towards the distant mountains, and the Kamchik Pass, which winds its way through a section of the Tian Shan Mountains. The temperature starts to fall, the road narrows, the views become more extensive as we see snow covered peaks in the distance. We stop for a break at some roadside stalls, but decide against buying any of the white balls of dried goats cheese, which the locals are encouraging us to try!! The road is partially blocked by great flocks of sheep, leaving the hills before the start of winter weather, hastened along by shepherds, as the black sheep swarm around the cars and lorries. We reach the summit of the pass, 8500ft, and then head directly down a newly built section of road into the Fergana Valley.

The Fergana valley is an extensive plain, 200km long, which is surrounded by mountains and extends into three countries Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan. The valley is very fertile, with vast swathes of agricultural land growing all manner of fruit & vegetables but it is especially known for watermelons, white peaches & walnuts.

Silk is also a major produce and there are many mulberry tree plantations to sustain the silk worms in their production of the delicate threads. We visit a silk factory in Margilan and are fascinated by the process of silk production, dyeing and weaving - much of which is still done by hand. We drive to the large and very busy city of Andijan, mainly to see the largest market in Central Asia - however, unfortunately unbeknown to the guide, the market had been totally demolished the previous week!!

We visit several Museums, mosques and memorials during the drive around the central section of the valley and enjoy seeing the local small towns, villages & countryside.

The return journey over the Kamchik Pass is exhilarating and we arrive back in Tashkent, on the hottest day of the tour, a sweltering 35c.

Our last meal of the tour, is at the vast soviet-era Hotel Uzbekistan. The restaurant is on the 17th floor with panoramic views over Amir Timur Square and we enjoy our meal and last bottles of Uzbek beer!!

Accommodation - Asia Hotel Fergana

Weather - hot, sunny and blue skies - 30c

Additional photos below
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9th October 2015

A Colourful Trip
Great photos as usual. I presume you are bringing the balls of goat's cheese to try at home

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