Namangan is located next to the ancient settlement of Akhsikent (also Akhsikath), one of the largest cities of the old state of Dawan in the Fergana Valley. The city has existed since the 3rd century B.C. and was a transit point on the Silk Road. The Mongol invasion destroyed the city at the beginning of the 13th century but continued to exist. In 1620, a strong earthquake shook Akhsikent, after which the inhabitants decided to leave 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 city’s name comes from the Persian “namak kan”, which is translated as a salt mine. At the time of Kokand Khanate, the town 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 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: local flights are to Tashkent and international flights to Russia.