The picturesque Fergana Valley is located in the eastern part of Uzbekistan. It is the most densely populated region of Uzbekistan, with almost a third of the country's population. The diamond-shaped valley is 300 km from east to west and 170 km from north to south. The mild climate of the Fergana Valley allows a growing season of 240 days a year. The primary emphasis on the production of cotton, silk, fruits and other agricultural crops has turned a large part of the valley into an oasis.
A Golden Valley
With nearly 25,000 sq. km of fertile land, it is a great oasis surrounded by the Kuramin mountain range in the North-West, Chatkal mountain range in the North, Fergana mountain range in the East, and the Alai and Turkestan ranges in the South. There is scarcely a hectare of uncultivated land, the primary crop being cotton. In Silk Road times, the exceptional flora of the region gave the Fergana Valley the name "Golden Valley". The Fergana Valley is divided into three regions: Fergana, Andijan, Namangan.
The Fergana Valley is rich in a number of natural resources, including gold, oil, copper and other raw materials. The Syr darya, one of the great rivers of Central Asia, runs across the valley. It is fed by more than 70 mountain streams.
A nature exhibit is devoted to the wildlife of the area. Birds, including seagulls, pheasants and crows, are plentiful on the shores. The mountains are home to birds of prey, as well as bears, foxes, wolves, jackals, porcupines, badgers and red groundhogs. Several animals in Uzbekistan are included in the "Red Book", a world-wide list of animals in danger of extinction, which was completed in 1980. It is illegal to hunt these animals.
The first ancient settlements in the Fergana Valley appeared 5-6 thousand years ago. It has been assumed that the Fergana of the 6-4 BC was in cultural contact with Southern and South-Western civilizations.
The valley's richness includes its millennia-old history and the traditions of its master craftsmen in silk, ceramics, woodcarving and a bounty of other ancient arts of humanity.