History of Andijan, the center of the Fergana Valley

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Andijan is the oldest and most historic center of the famous Fergana Valley, a key place from time immemorial for agriculture, horses and a key position on the Silk Road

At the origins of Andijan, the center of the Fergana Valley

Andijan is still today the largest Uzbek city in the Fergana Valley, one of the richest and most coveted places of the entire ancient Silk Road, so much so that it has already been inhabited since about 2500 BC. . The reasons for this are to be found in the incredible agriculture practiced there, in the extraordinary horses of that original place and, above all, in the position, which has always made it one of the best passages to China. Precisely for these reasons, this applies constantly to challenge new invaders, starting with Persia, which arrived here following the conquest of Sogdiana by Cyrus the Great. However, the expansion of the Achaemenid Empire broke down here, leading to the formation of the state of Davan, with its capital Ershi, now a suburb of Andijan. With the passage of time the Fergana Valley became increasingly rich and important, and their thoroughbred steeds became highly coveted beasts especially from China, which considered them the “celestial horses”, so much so as to call a whole war just to grab some specimens; the clash however saw Davan triumph, who maintained his independence. Starting from the 5th century, the whole Fergana valley began to be more and more populated by nomadic Turkish populations, which over time will lead to a progressive Turkishization of the area (until then inhabited mainly by Indo-Iranian populations).


Starting from the 9th century it became part of the Samanid dynasty, then becoming more and more linked to the fate of Central Asia and thus passing to the Karakhanids and then to the Mongols. With the rise of Tamerlane and his lineage, this area began to flourish again, becoming one of the flourishing places of the Timurids, so much so as to be the place of origin of Babur, one of the last rulers of this lineage and the founder of the Mughal dynasty, who dominated India until the arrival of the British. Control of the Fergana Valley will then pass to the Shaybanids, the first Uzbek lineage to arrive in the area; from these will then form the Khanate of Kokand, the last large independent territory before the arrival of the Russians here, as well as the place of origin of the leader Yaqub Beg, who will lead the revolt of the Hui (Chinese Muslims of Han ethnicity) against China.

Russia, Soviet Union and Uzbekistan

In any case, starting from 1876 it became part of the Fergana Oblast within the Russian Empire, tying its destiny to its fate; to report a Sufi revolt of 1898, led by Naqshbandi Muhammad Ali Mudali, and a very serious earthquake that hit Andijan in 1902. Under the Soviet Union it became one of the major centers of the Uzbek economy, becoming one of the places in the world with the greatest density housing, so much so that for several years it was the first in the whole Union. The collapse of the latter was a heavy blow to the city, which saw the province of Fergana split between Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, thus starting a great work of city renewal.


In 2005 she was the protagonist of the terrible Andijan Massacre. On May 13, 2005, in the wake of the “Color Revolutions”, several citizens gathered in Andijan, in the Fergana Valley, to protest the unjust imprisonment of 23 local businessmen. In the morning, many civilians began to gather in Babur square, also reassured by some rumors that President Islam Karimov himself wanted to go to the square to announce his resignation. Between 17.00 and 18.00 the police closed the square with all their Protestants, starting to fire on the defenseless population with no way of escape. According to army estimates, about 187 people died, but according to a deserter, at least 1,500 were reported and their bodies were thrown into a mass grave to make it less sensational. Beyond this tragedy, Andijan is still today one of the most important, rich and famous places in the Fergana Valley.

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