DAY 2 – 29/04/18
Breakfast at the hotel.
This was early as we had to arrive at the train station for the train.
After breakfast at the hotel transfer to railway station for morning train to Kokand 08.05-12.15.
This wasn’t quite the journey we’ll be taking as this is by car.
Beautifully comfy train – far more room than the plane. Green tea was on offer at 200 som per cup – about 20p. We went passed a huge open cast mine, by stunning lakes and rivers; at one point there was a little excitement. Officials walked through the train telling us to draw down the blinds and stay in our seats. Mahmood, the guide, explained that we must obey the instructions until we were told we could open the blinds. What was it all about? Apparently we were going through a tunnel and we weren’t allowed to see it. What a mystery! I found the whole episode amusing. It wasn’t until the next day we looked at the map and found the tunnel was through a finger of land in Turkmenistan.
Arrival Kokand and visit Khudayar Khan’s Palace (19 c.).
Juma Mosque and Minaret (19 c.)
Necropolis of Modarikhan (19 c.).
There were several couples dressed in their wedding finery – it is the custom to have their photos taken at famous monuments.
Then proceed to Rishtan (50km) and visit ceramic workshop of Mr. Rustam Usmanov – Rishtan is the oldest center of ceramic art in Central Asia. The famous technique of glazed earthenware which local people use for their household needs and which is exported from the Fergana Valley was created here.
The most characteristic coloring of this earthenware (ceramic) is a turquoise, dark blue and brown scheme on a milky-white background. Ishkor glaze, made from ashes, gives the earthenware its beautiful soft shine.
Rustam Usmanov has built his own complete pottery studio at home.
Mahmud Azizov, a skillful master of kuzagar, produces various forms on a moving pottery wheel, which Rustam and his relatives paint by hand.
When reading reviews of this place I expected yet another tourist showroom but instead found a quaint pottery family business. Rustam’s nephew demonstrated how to throw a pot then a lid. Linda then gamely had a go.
A welcome cup of green tea – I bought three tiny dishes, three tiny bowls and three tea bowls for €17. I was surprised to learn that $ & € were readily accepted.
Transfer to Fergana city, accommodate and dinner in the hotel.
Fergana: Hotel “Asia Frgana” 4*
Not a good night’s sleep – I thought I’d be out straight away but most of the time I lay in a doze.