The first memoirs about Kokand date back to the Xth century. Kokand is located on the crossroads of the ancient trade ways. The traveler on his way to Ferghana first gets in Kokand, which is industrial, cultural and transport center, land of popular poets, writers, scholars, art and culture.
Modern Kokand is a significant, industrial and cultural center of Ferghana valley. Connecting Ferghana valley to various areas of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kirghizia, Kokand is also an important automobile and railway junction. More than 200 000 people live in Kokand. Over the last decade, new districts and public buildings appeared in the city with intense growth of individual houses, shops, cafes, restaurants and other private sector ventures.
There are 2 institutes, 9 colleges and Lyceums, 40 secondary and 5 musical schools, drama theatre, 7 clubs, 20 libraries. The main cultural life of the city cannot be expressed without museums. There are 7 historical and house museums located in Kokand.
Kokand Regional studies museum – is one of the ancient museums in Uzbekistan. Museum was established in 1925 in the former palace of Kokand khan – Khudayarhan. The complex “Urda” (Palace in ancient Turk language) is a monument of national architecture of middle XIXth centuries, in which many kinds of traditional applied art are harmoniously combined to display its superb beauty.
There are 6 departments in the museum: History, Art, Modern history, Nature, Scientific – Educational work, Funds. Regional studies museum includes 4 branches – House museum of the famous poet Hamza Hakimzada Niyaziy, Mukimi – hudjra (study-room) museum, K. Haydarov– house museum, Djami – architectural complex.
More than 30 000 exhibits, each of which is confirmed as a part of Kokand historical heritage are preserved in the museum fund. Within the traditional art section of the museum one can witness that Kokand was the center of handicraftsmen during the reigns of Kokand Khans.
From the early potter works up to the wonderful porcelain transported on a Great Silk Road can be seen here on exhibition today. The collection of numismatics is from the period of Samanids and Karahanids rules down to the coins inlaid “Kokand Khanate”. Picture gallery displays fine paintings and sculpture of Western Europe, Russia as well as the XXth century paintings of Uzbekistan.
The collection of manuscripts and rare lithographic editions are carefully preserved. Since 18 centuries the city has been famous for its manufacturing Kokand silk paper. The manuscripts and inscriptions of Kokand calligraphers were appreciated highly and brought to many countries. In Calligraphy fund of the museum you can see Holy Korans edited in different years, books on philosophy and logic, history and natural sciences. Khudayarkhan’s private valuable Koran is on display with his personal seal as well as archive documents – orders, amendments, instructions and letters are available to see.
Museum employees always try to enrich the museum fund gathering new information and exhibits. Kokand khanate history, Kokand – under the Russian empire, political reprisals of 30th years in Kokand, urban makhalla (literary means big street area), vegetative and animal life of Kokand oasis, cultural life in the XIX-XXth centuries, Kokand – after the independence – are all subjects of research works of the museum.
Every year, museum and its branches are visited by 70 thousand visitors, including tourists, students and schoolchildren.
The museum – is the center of Kokand cultural life. Exhibitions, conferences, seminars, thematic parties, meeting with the popular people, competitions, festivals are held thanks to the museum relation to various public organizations, high and secondary educational institutions.
Palace attracts tourists and visitors with its beautiful architectural structure. It is one of the most preciously preserved palaces of Central Asia in the XIX century. Construction of this palace was inspired to display the strength and power of Kokand khans. The palace stands on an artificial hill 4 meters high, simultaneously inaccessible and magnificent. Thanks to the brilliant tiled facade, the palace could be seen from far away. The richness of applied ceramic engineering is amazing: having shiny brick tiled mosaics of varying colors and shapes: squire, diamond-shaped, oblong. On an ultra-marinated background, calligraphic inscription in Arabian font is inlaid. A large part of the external facade and ornamental internal premises of the palace are inlaid with glazed tiles with vegetative patterns and remarkable woodcarving.
Walking along the courtyards and studying the museum expositions make the visitor plunge into the native history, masterpieces of national art, feeling of pride for the city and its people.
Geography and nature exhibit
The current history display is housed in seven rooms – each describing different historical periods – which previously served as the hotel segment of the khan’s palace.
Primitive stone instruments – axes, stone scrapes, and cutters – dating from the Stone Age have been discovered in and around Kokand. Pictures found in caves give us insights into primitive art in this area. Monuments from the Neolithic period (6000-5000 BC) have been found in the central Ferghana Valley. Tools used by inhabitants living along the lakes reflect a hunting and fishing lifestyle. It seems that slavery was practiced in Central Asia at this time, but was not fully developed due to the close community that existed. The main branch of the Great Silk Road ran through the Ferghana Valley. Chinese sources identified the area as “Davan”
“Munchok Tepa” in the Pop region is a site rich of historical findings. Archeologists have uncovered 47 coffins wrapped in reeds dating back to the fifth and sixth centuries. At the beginning of the eighth century, Kutayba inb Muslim, the ruler of the Khorasan, spread Islam across the valley. Ferghana partially independent kingdom at that time was later included in Samanid and Karakhanid empires.
In the thirteenth century, many cities in the valley including Kokand were destroyed by the Mongol invaders. During the period of the Temurid’s dynasty (the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries), the Great Silk Road was restored and economy developed considerably. Babur, a descendent of Temur fought unsuccessfully for control of the valley against the nomadic Uzbek tribes of Shaybanikhan and had to flee to Afghanistan in the sixteenth century. The valley was controlled first by the Shaybanids and later by the Ashtarkhanids in the seventeenth century.
At the end of the seventeenth century, the power of Ashtarkhanids was broken and the Kokand oasis came under the control of descendents of Mahdumi Azam. In 1709, Shahrukhbey, the leader of the Ming tribe, subdued the valley and became the first ruler of the khanate of Kokand.
In the first half of the nineteenth century, during the reigns of Olimkhan, Umarkhan, and Muhammad Alikhan the territory of the khanate was expended to include the whole Ferghana valley, the cities of Tashkent, Chimkent, Turkestan and much of the territory of modern-day Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzistan and Tajikistan. At the time, Kokand was a major power in Central Asia and a significant challenge to the Emirate of Bukhara.
As part of the ongoing clashes between these two kingdoms, Bukharan troops invaded and captured Kokand, putting Muhammad and his family to death. Two month later, his relative Sheralikhan gathered some troops and restored independent rule, but his reign was not one of the stability, as Uzbek, Kirghiz, Kipchaks, and other tribes fought amongst themselves for the throne of Kokand. This situation continued until the last khan Khudayarkhan. As a result of internal strife, the khanate was not able to stand up to the power of the Russian forces when they captured the valley
Due to its location on the Great Silk Road, people from many lands traveled through Kokand. The small throne room now houses gifts to the khan, including porcelain from China and Japan and copper engraving from India and Iran.
Kokand handcraft display is considered one of the precious treasures of museum fund.
Pottery was the main handicraft in Central Asia. The basic centre of ceramic manufacture was in Rishtan. Rishtan ceramics is distinguished with light-blue patterns on a light background.
Kokand was also famous with its engravers. Engraved jugs, teapots, trays and the dishes differed by forms and ornament subtlety. The famous foreman of engraver is Lutfulla Fazilov, was known over Ferghana valley.
Work collection of the national master, woodcarver Kodirjon Haydarov is preserved in the museum. He established the first Kokand school of woodcarving, His followers and students continued the great master’s heritage. In 1956 master restored the entrance gate of the museum. Carved doors and columns, decorative panels, carved jewel boxes with vegetative and geometrical patterns are all thanks to the master’s superb creation.
Enjoying along Kokand handcraft exhibit you can see the Uzbek, Russian and European paintings in the next rooms.
Established in 1929, the gallery of paintings and sculptures is located within the building of the khan’s private yard. In exchange for precious local artifacts, which were removed to Russia, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) sent back the works, which are displayed in this exhibit. Most of these represent the Baroque style of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Mainly Russian paintings include portray and landscape.
An adjoining room also displays twentieth century of Uzbek painting. The Uzbek artist Ural Tansikboyev is renowned for his use of vibrant colors. “Sirdarya” is a painting that vividly displays this style. Abdullah Abdullayev’s painting of “Farida” displays a talent for capturing a young girl’s feelings on canvas.
Geography and nature exhibit
The picturesque Ferghana valley is located in the eastern part of Uzbekistan. It is surrounded by a number of high mountain ranges. The diamond-shaped valley is 300 km from east to west and 170 km from north to south.
The Ferghana Valley is divided into five regions: Ferghana, Andijan, Namangan, Khojand (located in Tajikistan) and Osh (located in Kyrgyzstan). Located in the eastern end of the valley, the oasis of Kokand was referred to as Hoqandi-Latif, meaning the “cool, windy city”.
It covers 3000 square kilometers and has a population exceeding 200,000.
The Ferghana Valley is rich a number of natural resources, including gold, oil, copper and other raw materials. The Sirdarya, one of the great rivers of Central Asia, runs across the valley. It is fed by more than 70 mountain streams. However most of these streams are diverted for irrigation purposes and do not reach the Sirdarya.
The mild climate of the Ferghana Valley allows for a vegetation period of 240 days per year. The primary emphasis on the production of cotton, silk and other agricultural crops has turned a large part of the valley into an oasis.
Nature exhibit is devoted to the wildlife of the area. Birds, including seagulls, pheasants and crows are plentiful on the shores of the Sirdarya. The mountains are home to birds of prey, as well as bears, foxes, wolves, jackals, porcupines, badgers and red groundhogs. Several animals in Uzbekistan are included in the “Red Book”, a world–wide list of animals in danger of extinction which was completed in 1980. It is illegal to hunt these animals.
Istiklol str., 2
Kokand city, Ferghana region
Tel: (998-7355) 3-60-46, 2-68-39
Fax: (998-7355) 2-68-39.