According to another legend, Afaq Khoja (a famous Muslim saint who lived in the 17th century, whose tomb is in Kashgar) once crossed the place where Margilan is today. He was hungry and asked an old woman for food. She brought him chicken and bread. From the name of this dish (in Persian “murg u-non”) developed the name of the city. 

Archaeological excavations have confirmed that the city was founded two thousand years ago so that in 2007 it was decided to celebrate the 2000th anniversary of the city. Margilan, like other medieval cities, was probably divided into three parts: the citadel of the ruler (Ark), the Shakhristan (i.e. the city itself) with fortified walls and gates and finally the Rabat (suburb) in front of the city. In the course of time, Margilan was conquered several times and belonged to the Kokand Khanate from 1710 to 1876.

silk in margilan

Apparently, Margilan was already a well-known craft centre in early times and was known above all for its silk fabrics. Since ancient times, the population of the town has been engaged in the production of Atlas fabrics (a special silk fabric), which made the town famous. Margilan’s silk fabrics were bought by traders from various countries. The city is also known for its metal embossing and traditional headwear.

Today, the city is known for its assortment of fabrics, differs by raw materials, variety of ornaments and applied technology. One of the techniques is called Ikat: its special feature is that the pattern is not applied to the fabric but to the warp thread.

In Margilan you can visit the Yodgorlik factory, where the entire labour-intensive process of handmade Atlas or Khan silk is explained. Guided tours are usually available in English or Russian. The souvenir shop offers a good selection of fabrics, scarves, dresses and other memorabilia.

General information:

  • Population: 215.000 (2014)
  • Elevation: 487 m

Air connections: the city does not have its own airport, but Fergana airport is just 12 km from Margilan.

Rail connections: Margilan has a train station with connections to the other cities of the Fergana Valley as well as to Tashkent.

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