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GIJDUVAN – Pottery Centre of Bukhara

Gijduvan history

Archaeological findings witness that a settlement on the territory of modern Gijduvan was founded even before the Arab invasion.

First written sources about Gijduvan date back to the X century but till the XV century, it was under the shadow of Tavavis town. However, in subsequent periods, Gijduvan turned into a city, while Tavavis lost its significance. By the X century, it was one of the trading centers in the region under Samanid’s empire.

One of the representatives of Sufism – Abdulkhalik Gijduvani, who lived in the XII century, brought real popularity to the town. Still, this shrine is a popular holy place for pilgrimage in the Islam World.

Also, the existence of Ulugbek Medresah (built 1417-1433), one of 3 Madrasahs constructed by the order of Amir Temur’s grandson-Ulugbek, in Gijduvan proves that it was one of the significant cities like Samarkand and Bukhara in the Middle Ages.

Since the XVI century, Gijduvan became a fortress city, where battles often took place. The great Tajik writer Sadriddin Ayni was born near Gijduvan.

Throughout history, Gijduvan has been a craft and trade center. Still, its people are still considered to be business-oriented. Each second family has their own business.

Etymology of Gijduvan

There is no scientific description of the etymology – “Gijduvan” word. According to the folks, Gijduvan came from Tajik words “Kish Tuvon”, which means “a place for farmers”, and the second option connects the name of the city with the word “Guzhudehon”, that is, “a place that united several villages”.

Gijduvan ceramics

Gijduvan is one of the 3 main ceramic centers of Uzbekistan: Rishtan, Tashkent, and Gijduvan. The development of pottery was largely facilitated by the city’s closeness to the Great Silk Road.

At the time of the Bukhara Emirate, there were 41 workshops. But Soviet Russia closed all private workshops and launched a governmental ceramic factory based on mass stamped production. But two brothers-Alisher and Abdulla Nazrullaevs restored the Art of Gijduvan ceramics from the brink of extinction, and they are teaching new generations.

The Gijduvan ceramic school is unique and mostly uses geometric, zoomorphic, and plant patterns. Geometric and floral ornaments distinguish Gijduvan ceramic school from others. Nowadays, Gijduvan ceramic school has about 80 standard forms/shapes and more than 200 ornaments.

Tourists can visit workshops of brothers: Alisher and Abdulla Nazrullaev. They can participate in pottery. Afterward, they can take back their production home. Travelers can have lunch or dinner in their workshop as well by enjoying the atmosphere and beauty of the ceramic school.

Gijduvan cuisine

Gijduvan is also famous for its “Shirmoy kulcha”- shrimp cake, patyr bread, fried fish in a special way and of course the famous Gijduvan shashlyk/barbeque, and Gijduvan samosa/samsa which attract not only locals but also gourmet tourists.

The main sights of the Gijduvan excursion:

  • Ceramic workshop of Alisher Nazrullaev with a workshop museum of ceramics;
  • Ceramic workshop of Abdullo Nazrullaev with a workshop museum of ceramics;
  • Abdulkholik Gijduvaniy Mausoleum (XV century);
  • Ulugbek Madrasah (XV century);
  • Local bazaar/market.