Uzgen is a city in the Osh region of Kyrgyzstan, one of the oldest cities in the Fergana Valley, part of the Great Silk Road and the ancient capital of the Karakhanid state.

What is interesting about Uzgen?

Uzgen is interesting first of all for its history. The first settlements on the site of modern Uzgen were formed in the I-II centuries BC. The city is located on the bank of the river Kara-Darya, in the eastern part of the Fergana Valley. Such a favorable location made this city a very significant center of trade and culture in ancient times. For a long time, the city was the most important settlement of trade between China and Central Asia.
In the 12th century AD the city becomes the capital of the Karakhanid Khaganate. During this period, the main attractions of Uzgen were built – three Uzgen mausoleums and the Uzgen minaret.
Then the city was a part of the Kokand khanate, until the Russian Empire came to this region, and later the Soviet Union.
Traditionally, the city is the place of residence of the Uzbek population. A distinctive feature of Uzgen are the makhalya – the old Uzbek neighborhoods, located in the lower part of the city. It is worth noting that the mahalla is not rural, but the urban Central Asian form of residence, despite the external similarity. The upper part of Uzgen refers to the Soviet period.

Sights of Uzgen

Uzgen Сultural and Historical Complex

The Uzgen Cultural and Historical Complex consists of several monuments of Central Asian architecture: the Uzgen minaret and three mausoleums. Monuments were built at different times, the buildings date back to the 11th-12th centuries AD. This is the epoch of the reign of the Karakhanids, the western capital of which was Uzgen. Buildings of the Karakhanid period have distinctive features: as an external design, a variety of patterns are used from brick and ganch, without the use of glaze and colored inserts. It became the visiting card of medieval architecture in Kyrgyzstan.

Uzgen Minaret

Today the Uzgen Minaret has a height of 27 meters. However, the original height of the minaret was almost 2 times higher – numerous earthquakes brought down the upper part of the tower. In Soviet times, the minaret was restored and an observation deck with windows was opened, from where an impressive view of Uzgen opens. The base of the minaret is made in the form of an octagon. From the minaret, believers were called for prayer for centuries and it was also a good guide for travelers and merchants passing through these places.

Uzgen Mausoleums

The Uzgen complex of mausoleums consists of three separate mausoleums. Mausoleums differ in the year of construction and style of decoration. They are named according to their location by the Southern, Middle and Northern Mausoleum. The largest and most notable is the Middle Mausoleum, which has an interesting feature. This is the only Karakhanid mausoleum, which has two portals. The exact purpose of the Middle Mausoleum is unknown to this day. Some researchers are inclined to believe that the Khan of the Karakhanid dynasty is in it. Others claim that the mausoleum has religious significance. Two other mausoleums do not cause such discrepancies. The Northern Mausoleum is the burial place of Jalil ad Din al Hussein Hasan ibn Ali, the ruler of the Karakhanids. The Southern Mausoleum was built later than the others and the name of the person buried in it is unknown.
Different design of portals is associated with different years of construction of these buildings. By differences in the decor, you can see how the styles and architectural features changed from era to era.

What to do in Uzgen?

In addition to exploring the cultural attractions and exploring the Uzbek neighborhoods of the city, be sure to get acquainted with the local cuisine, especially with pilaf made from brown rice.

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