Rishtan – pottery centre of the Fergana valley

The town of Rishtan has been known as a centre for ceramics since ancient times. The local pottery was influenced by porcelain imported from Kashgar. This porcelain was very much appreciated by the rulers and decorated the palaces and houses of the rich feudal lords. The influence of these imported products can be seen especially in the early works with cobalt paintings on a white background. The local potters increasingly brought their own style to the pottery, which made it very popular along the Silk Road.

The present style of Rishtan pottery dates back to the middle of the 19th century and is still used today. The spread of ceramics was mainly due to the combination of good quality and a comparatively low price compared to Chinese products previously imported from Kashgar. Towards the end of the 19th century, after the conquest by Russia, Rishtan ceramics were exhibited at exhibitions throughout the Russian Empire and thus gained further popularity.

In 1900, the products were successfully presented at the World Exhibition in Paris. Ceramics were compared with the best European products and were considered very competitive.

Rishtan ceramics are still known throughout Uzbekistan and beyond. The artisans have managed to preserve the secrets of pottery and there are still hundreds of pottery workshops in and around Rishtan. Many potteries can be visited and the artisans like to explain the whole production process. One of the most famous and most visited masters is Rustam Usmanov.

General information: 

  • Population: 50.000 (2016)
  • Elevation: 300 m

Air connections: the city does not have its own airport. The nearest airport is in Fergana, about 50 km away.

Railway connections: Rishtan is not directly connected to the railway network. The nearest railway station is Furkat, located in the neighbouring little town Bag’dod, about 15 km from Rishtan, which offers direct connections to Tashkent.

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