Namangan is located next to the ancient settlement of Akhsikent (also Akhsikath), which was one of the largest cities of the state of Dawan in the Fergana Valley. The city existed since the 3rd century BC and was a transit point on the Silk Road. The city was destroyed by the Mongol invasion at the beginning of the 13th century but continued to exist. In 1620, a strong earthquake shook Akhsikent, after which the inhabitants decided to give up the city and found their new home in the modern Namangan area.
Legend has it that Namangan once had a lake where salt was mined. The name of the city comes from the Persian “namak kan”, which is translated as a salt mine. At the time of Kokand Khanate, the city was an important centre of the empire.
- Population: 600.000 (2017)
- Height above sea level: 476 m
- Odil Akhmedov, currently the country’s most famous footballer, was born in Namangan. After a strong Asian Cup in 2011, where Uzbekistan surprisingly finished fourth, several clubs became aware of Akhmedov. Apparently, Arsenal London also had an interest in Akhmedov at times. However, he actually moved to the Russian Premier League, where he was named Player of the Year for Krasnodar in 2015. Since 2017, Akhmedov has been playing for Shanghai SIPG, alongside well-known stars such as Hulk and Oscar. Akhmedov has been named Uzbekistan’s Footballer of the Year on several occasions.
Air connections: the city has an airport from which local connections to Tashkent and international flights to Russia are offered.
Railway connections: at the moment (2019) a new train station building is under construction, so trains do not reach Namangan. The nearest train station is Pap (60 km away), to/from where it is possible to reach by share taxi.