Tourist sector in Humsan-Aktash area

Tourist sector in Humsan-Aktash area

Location and geography
Villages Humsan and Aktash are located in Bostanlyk district of Tashkent province. Humsan occupies 15,000 hectares along the Ugam river and is situated on the southern; slopes of the Karjantau ridge of the WTS. It has a population of 3,300; people, mainly Uzbeks.

Historical information
The etymology of word Humsan is defined to consist of two parts: “hum” means pitcher, and “san” means stone. It is surmised that one of the mountain peaks resembled the vessel. Another supposition is that the village was given the name because of a pitcher-shaped bend of the Ugam River, and “san” is distorted “say”, which mean river. This village is located at 800 m a.s.l. at the bottom of the West Tien Shan.

According to some estimation the village originated 300 years ago, although its oldest buildings are less than 100 years old. This is because landslides and mudflows constantly changed location of the village. It caused continuous transformation of the house building and distribution, of land plots for horticulture and cattle-breeding.

Before the Revolution, people of Humsan were engaged in metal processing, farming, and small trade. In fact, there formed a community, which, before the middle of last century, was developing under conditions of self-isolation that helped preserve the life-style, language, particular features of building and occupation.

Majestic sceneries, good climate conditions, ethnic features, absence of industrial enterprises and proximity of the capital had caused transformation of the area to a recreation zone. During several decades, summer camps for children and departmental pensions were built in the village. In the Humsan of today tourism and rest are provided mostly by private sector.

There is a legend about four brothers, the founders of the village. 300 years ago four brothers — Pustynli-buva, Boymushat-buva, Pusala-buva and Shaikhmar-ota came and settled along the rivers inflowing the Ugam river and began to cultivate vegetables, melons and water-melons. The present generations is believed to descend from them.

Natural economy plays a special role in local economy. 180 families possess plough-lands where they cultivate vegetables ind fruits for sale and own consumption. 70% of population is engaged in cattle-breeding, 25% — in farming, and five percent —’ in trade, private transportation, and tourism.

Tourism is on the rise in Humsan and reshaping. An overwhelming majority of services being provided by private sector (over 90%) is a, new main feature. Preference is given to tourism development since this activity is more environment-friendly. The main problem for tourism is border regime frightening off the visitors and they go for other recreation areas. Another big problem is Agriculture, in particular cattle-breeding, which affects the mountain landscapes and increases pressure on the ecosystem. Tourism in in Humsan-Aktash area bears clear seasonal character: from the end of May till the beginning of September.

Social infrastructure
100% of families in Humsan are provided with drinking and irrigation water through a water supply system. Roads leading to the village are paved with asphalt. Electricity lines are installed. Telephone communication and mobile Internet are available. In Humsan, there is one bridge across the Ugam River (built in 1963). Most of the road system here is paved with asphalt and of average quality.

Cultural attractions
The national colour and life-style of Humsan being characterized by mountain specifics, the religious tolerance, oriental mind, and a dialect of the Uzbek language has been well preserved because of little outside influence. People of i the village are involved in hand-crafting industry. A major part of handicrafts is used for own consumption and other part has since recently been sold at nearby markets, hi general these items are milk products, dried fruits, apricot seeds, fish, and sweets.

Humsan is famous for its tales and legends that have become an integral part of the tours. Handmade embroideries and knitting work is of special demand. Forged pieces and embossed ware can be purchased from handicraftsmen. A mosque and some houses of local residents can be considered as interesting.

Among the peculiarities of Humsan locally cooked food can be named (sauces, dairy products (kurt, curd, clabber) and pancake «yupka» in particular) as well as patch embroidery.

The building-style typical for foothills areas during many centuries have been well preserved in Humsan. Houses are built from local building materials — stones, loam and trees. Only window panes and metal articles (gates, railing and fence) are imported. Among the modern building there are health resorts and camps located outside the village.

Historical monuments
In the Humsan-Aktash zone there are religious, historical and archaeological monuments, which can be of interest of ethnographic tourism amateurs. However, due to the border regime, many of these landmarks are now unavailable. Among the easily accessible attractions are
Khodjikent bazaar boshi or “Bochka” (VI-VII, IX-XII) – the site is located on the road to Humsan, at a distance of 40-50 m up from the bridge. And “Chinary” place (named for a nearby 800-year-old tree), a popular spot among vacationers to the region. The “Chinary” place is famous not only as a great spot for food, but also because primitive peoples once settled here, as far back as thousands years ago.

Climate and seasons
Surrounding foothills and mountains influence the climate of the area. Winter is cold and wet. The river cools down the air in summer. Downpours fall in spring and autumn creating menace of landslide and mudflow. The temperature rises as high as 40 (Celsius) in summer, and falls to -15 in winter. Located nearby, Charvak water reservoir strongly influences sub-regional climate.

Tourism infrastructure and services

The nearest big city is Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, which is as far as 90 km (about 2 hours) away from Humsan. Large neighboring settlements are village Charvak located 5 km (10 minutes) away and district centre Gazelkent — 35 km away (30 minutes). The nearest international airport is in Tashkent.

To get from Gazalkent to Humsan by public transport takes 30-40 minutes. Public transport goes from Tashkent to Humsan village times a day (duration 2,5 hours), the nearest railway’ station is Khodjakent, from where it takes 5 min. to get to Humsan by taxi.

Other centers of tourism, Chimgan and Brichmulla, are located 40 km (1 h.) and 60 km (1 h.) from Humsan, respectively.

Humsan has good accessibility in summertime. It is possible to use a car and a middle-class bus (minibus). Alternative routes are railway Tashkent-Khodjikent and continue to Humsan by taxi.

Tourism conditions and services
Humsan has picturesque landscapes of hills, mountain slopes, gorgeous canyon of the Ugam river, bush-covered hills, and karst leaves. The Chirchik River and Charvak water reservoir are within the reach, too. The Karjantau ridge is under the supervision of frontier service that makes access to it considerably limited.

Private guesthouses
On the territory of Humsan village there are several zones of resort. Meanwhile the residents of Humsan are creating accommodation infrastructure themselves. There are many guesthouses i providing for five to 20 tourists open and covered facilities for accommodation (houses, trestle-beds, cottages, tents). Some visitors install tents they brought with them. There are no yurts, but during hiking, short-term stays are available at private houses and open-air accommodations (trestle-beds) at places as follows:
• On mountain slopes;
• Along the Ugam river (trestle-beds, tents and camp-beds);
• In tents (tourists themselves decide where to put up a tent);
• In the mountains (at shepherd’s dwellings).

In the village one can buy souvenirs from local handicraftsmen, try and eat locally cooked food, in particular sauces, dairy products (kurt, curds, clabber) and pancakes “yupka”. Any of local residents will tell you how to find a place where all these items are available. Prices are moderate and affordable for tourists. There is no crime in the area. Local population is friendly and hospitable towards visitors. Uzbek and Russian language are widely used.

Recommended type of tourist activity

• Mountain hiking tours;
• Relaxation, rest in wildlife, ecologic tours over the area;
• Fishing, harvesting medicinal plants.
• Rafting: One day route along Uzbekistan’s part of the Ugam river from village Humsan to Khodjikent water reservoir (6 km).

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