One of the two main rivers of Central Asia, the Syr Darya, flows through the Fergana Valley. It is formed by the confluence of the two rivers Naryn and Karadarya. Small rivers (Isfara, Isfairamsai, Sokh and Shakhimardansai) also flow here. As a result, there is no water shortage in the Fergana Valley and fields can be well irrigated, and this makes the valley the greenest part of Uzbekistan.
One of the branches of the Silk Road led through the Fergana Valley. The inhabitants of the Fergana Valley adopted the sericulture from China, and Fergana, in turn, passed on the culture of grape growing and the special horse breed from the valley to other peoples.
In the 18th century, the Kokand Khanate was formed in the Fergana Valley, which was abolished in 1876 after the entry of Tsarist Russian troops. The newly formed Fergana region became part of Russian Turkestan.
Due to good irrigation opportunities, many residents of the Fergana Valley are actively engaged in agriculture and cattle breeding. Utilizing good climate and farmers’ skills, wheat, rice, barley, sorghum and various fruits and vegetables are grown here and exported to other countries.
The Fergana Valley is known for its folk arts and crafts. Many craftsmen live and work here using ancient techniques of pottery, silk, wood carving and embroidery passed down from generation to generation.
- The Fergana Valley is the most densely populated part of Uzbekistan. The territory of Fergana Valley occupies only 4% of the territory of Uzbekistan, which is home to 27% of the total population of Uzbekistan (as of 2021);
- In 1939, the Grand Fergana Canal was built in the Fergana Valley with Stalin’s permission. A total of 160,000 peasants were involved in the construction of the 350km-long irrigation canal. The canal was dug by hand with hoes and wheelbarrows. The construction was completed in just 45 days. The canal is considered one of the largest constructions of the Soviet era. The canal is mainly in Uzbekistan (283 km), with a small part also passing through Tajikistan (62 km) and Kyrgyzstan (12 km). Subsequently, the northern and southern parts of the canal were built in 1940-1941, doubling the cotton harvest.