Looking for a rich history, a clash of cultures, and more importantly, a place where you will feel the spirit of rebellion in spite of the repressive regime? Well, when it comes to Central Asia, look no further, Andijan city is the right one. With centuries of notable figures, regimes, and war statues, Andijan beats the competition. Guaranteed to inspire and show you the strength of common folk. This city is one of the must-visit places in the region.
Labeled as a “city of temples” by Arabs, Andijan was on the map for quite a while. When it comes to a region on Fergana Valley, it surely is one of the oldest cities. The geographical position also made it one of the crucial Silk Road stops. Still, that’s not what put Andijan on a map in the 7th century. It was the Mughal emperor, Babur, who helped this area thrive. Additionally, thanks to the reign of Timurids which came after, a city became a center of civilization for the region.
When talking about recent history, Andijan played a role in the Soviet Empire as well. Since it was strategically positioned on the edge, it became a shelter for Russian people fleeing WW2. However, Andijan wasn’t prone to rebellions in the region and with that came political instability. Constant problems increased with the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, leading to a declining economy, resulting in poverty.
Today, poverty is still present, but its repressive regime keeps people in check. From time to time, citizens suffer as rebels try to make their way to the top, but protests and attacks are minimized given the government’s claim to keeping the dictatorship at bay. However, after the Andijan massacre in 2005 and the discovery of mass graves, the government has been under a human rights watch.
Activities and Things To Do In The Andijan Region
Garden of Winds
If you’re looking to get connected with the nature of the area, Garden of Winds is just the right place for you. A unique experience for anyone who prefers the hills and raw natural environment, while witnessing nature’s work of art, spiced up with local treats and attractions like camel rides.
It definitely is a spot for those looking to get their hands on spices and souvenirs. The Local Bazaar truly reflects the state of people, who despite the repressive regime keep on living in a positive environment. Local Bazaar is a breathtaking splash of colors and is surprisingly cheap compared to the shops across Andijan.
If you’re looking to get a glimpse of Islamic art combined with Andijan local culture, the Juma mosque is a must-visit spot. It is an area with several buildings including a museum of local studies and is an architecture lover’s dream. The monumental facade along with a splendid touch of artistic expression is a breathtaking view. Juma Mosque is one of the rare sights of a vivid past captured within the walls of the buildings. Tours of the Mosque are available.
The place that will give you an insight into the historical events that happened around Andijan since the 7th century, Babur Museum sheds light on the past. It does have its charm with a focus on the Mogul Emperor. The architectural building also includes a collection of art and history that reminds you that Andijan is one of the old cities that witnessed horror due to man’s reigns throughout history while maintaining the status of a cultural center.
Babur Memorial Park
Another work of art that will enchant you with the splash of colors, Babur Memorial Park offers a lot to a visitor. Honoring a notable figure in history, Babur Park is all about representing the culture that resides within the walls of this central Asian city. Unique marble and local traditions are all available for satisfying your curiosity while you roam around looking to get acquainted with their lifestyle.
Combining modern architecture with natural wonders Navoi Park offers you something else, a good old hangout spot for the locals and a lot of water. It certainly is worth spending a while here you’re a fan of parks. It is a place where you can relax before you dive into the rich historical monuments of Andijan.
Day Trips From Andijan
Ferghana Valley is nothing but simple and choosing a single location for a day trip is never an option. When it comes to Andijan, the key is to organize your time and most importantly prioritize what you want to see. If you’re looking to get more from the area, you can opt for a trip to Osh, Kyrgyzstan. The two are quite similar. Another option is Qarshi, but if you take Andijan as the center of your travels, be prepared for long drives.
As for nature lovers, Tashkent is a good option as well. If you want to travel along the Silk Road then you should continue on to Samarkand and Bukhara. However, these three cities are not designed for day trips. You would want to stay in them for a few days.
The Andijan Massacre
Andijan may be an impressive city with a culture that speaks to your soul, but it’s important to know people around here have suffered a lot due to the corrupt government. Living under the fist can be quite exhausting, and one of the most beautiful parks also serves as a reminder of brutality. The massacre in Andijan took 1000 lives in 2005, the last time people stood up to the government. So bear in mind the local people are under a constant threat. However, they seem very welcoming to tourists.
The city has its own airport, which makes travel there easy. The airport is located southwest of the city center. Catching a plane from any surrounding country is a popular option, such as Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, or Kyrgyzstan.
Train in Uzbekistan
Trains are a very easy and inexpensive way to travel through Uzbekistan. They do have new high-speed trains but keep in mind they still use old Soviet Trains as well. You can also get there by bus from any other Uzbekistan city. The buses are very cheap, but they are not the fastest way to travel.
When visiting Andijan, try to talk to the locals. This can be difficult as many don’t speak much English, but they will try. It is the best way to get to know the culture itself. Andijan can get cold so pack according to the season you are traveling in. A jacket should always be brought especially if you’ll head to the mountains.
Keep in mind that a lot of places, including hotels, do not accept credit cards so you will want to exchange some money at the airport or at the border.