MARGILAN – Center of Silk in Uzbekistan
Margilan, a center of silk, is one of the Fergana cities. It is located in Ferghana valley’s southern part – at the foot of the Alay mountain range. Its population is 221 358 people among which 89.3% are the Uzbeks.
The history of Margilan goes back to the I century BC-AD I century basing on the irrigational culture of “Margilansay” and the erection of “Simtepa” citadel. Ancient Margilan’s initial territory was 25 hectares. During AD VI-VII centuries its territory expanded to east and northern-east and handicrafts bloomed. Thus, in 2007 Uzbekistan celebrated Margilan’s 2000-year anniversary.
First-time Margilan was mentioned in the books of al-Makdisiy of AD X centuries as “Marginon”. There are different opinions about the etymology of Margilan. Some historians say that it came up from the word “marg” which used to mean “grass” and the word “Margilan” – “a land of grasses, a valley”. According to a legend and a book “Fergana’s history” by the scholar-Ibrat, when Alexander the Great reached this place; local people greeted him with bread and chicken. Then he asked the name of the dish, the people replied in the Persian language “Murginon” which meant: “Murg-chicken” and “non-bread”. Moreover, there is a legend that the grave Iskandar Zulqarnayn (Islamic symbol of Alexander the Great in Central Asia’s classical literature and folklore) used to be in Margilan and disappeared during severe tests of time.
During AD XI-XIII centuries, it became one of the main cities of Central Asia due to its favorable location – on the crossroad of the Great Silk Road. Throughout history, the inhabitants of Margilan have been crafts-loving. Its silk (Atlas, Adras, Ikat) was well-known among the traders of Greece, Egypt, Iran, and Kashgar. Besides silk, Margilan was famous for its jewelry, copper embossing, and skullcap products. Even during the X century, there was such a description of Margilan’s silk: “a piece of Margilan’s silk is worthy of all lands of Bukhara”.
Margilan silk masters took part in international exhibitions and got high places: in 1886 in Russia, during 1906-1914 in Vienna, Glasgow, Milano, Bordeaux, Munich, and London. Still, its silk products are unique in the World and attracting numerous foreigners.
You can have a trip to the legendary Margilan and participate in the working process of silk-making with our Handicraft Tour.
The main sights of the Margilan excursion:
- Chakar Mosque (XX century);
- Khanakokh Mosque (XVI century);
- Khoja Magiz Mausoleum (XVIII century);
- Madrassah of Said Ahmad (XIX century);
- Memorial complex of Burhanuddin Al-Margilani (XX century);
- Pir Siddiq Complex/Kaptarli/Kaptarkhona (XVIII century);
- Toron Bazaar mosque (XIX century);
- Yodgorlik Silk factory;
- Kumtepa bazaar;