Margilan is one of the oldest cities in Uzbekistan and Central Asia. It is located in the Ferghana Valley, on the feet of the Alai Range, 9 kilometers from Ferghana, the administrative center of the Ferghana Region. It is known that Margilan’s age exceeds 2000 years, and the first settlements on its territory arose long before our era. No one can say how the city got its name. Historians believe that the word “Margilon” has ancient Iranian roots and translation “Green Land”. There is also an opinion that the city was called by the first settlers who came from the Iranian city of Gilan, hence “Margilon” means “We are from Gilan”. People of Margilan tell a completely different story, they believe that the city was originally called “Murginon”, which means “Chicken with bread.” So, in their opinion, Alexander the Great gave the name to the city in honor of the dish he was treated by the locals. All these versions are good in their way, and each of them is true because everyone found something interesting and incredible in Margilan.
Margilan is the place where different nations always lived because the Great Silk Road passed through this city. Margilan sold silk, so even then the city had a special status, and it could compete with Bukhara and even Samarkand in beauty. It was the time when the people of Margilan began to master silk weaving and sell fabric to the west and east. Margilan silk was not worse than the Chinese one, but at the same time, it had amazingly beautiful colors that no one in the world could repeat anywhere. Silk was spreading all over the world. The city grew rich, became famous and attracted talented people, scientists, and writers.
Today, like a thousand years ago, Margilan is known for its fabrics, and a lot of people call it the “Silk Capital” of Uzbekistan. Margilan silk is produced with the help of traditional technologies, transmitted from generation to generation, from master to master. A peculiarity of these technologies is the method of painting without modern dyes, manually, following the ancestors’ secrets.
The full process of making silk with the help of the classical method can be observed by tourists in Margilan at the Yodgorlik silk-weaving factory. The factory is famous for the fact that all the technological stages from processing cocoons of silkworm to painting take place manually by craftsmen using traditional tools. In addition to silk, Yedgorlik also produces other fabrics, for example, cotton fabrics from the best sorts of cotton. Moreover, tourists have the opportunity to purchase souvenirs and cuts of fabrics at the factory.
A tour to Margilan includes excursions to the quarters of the old city, where it is possible to see some examples of ancient architecture. Among them, it is recommended to visit the architectural complex of Pir Siddick. The center of the complex is considered the mausoleum of the Islamic saint Pir Siddik, which is associated with a legend that says that when the saint was hiding from the Gentiles, pigeons hidden him from his persecutors. So, these birds received special respect from the Margilans. After the death of Pir Siddik, a mausoleum was erected in his honor with a mosque and a courtyard for numerous pigeons.
A tour to Margilan includes visits to other architectural monuments. For example, the existing madrassa Said Ahmad-Khoja, where up to 300 people can study, and the mosque at the madrasah is open for prayers. Or the Chakar mosque, the walls, and ceiling of which are not painted with classical Uzbek angular ornaments, but with floral patterns with colorful flowers.