WORLD CRAFTS COUNCIL
(WCC AISBL) INTERNATIONAL
Kokand city, located in the western part of the Fergana Valley, is one of the most ancient cities of Uzbekistan. The first written records about the city Hukande, Havokande (old names of the city) were found in the chronicles of the 10th century. The town was an important trade centre on the Silk Road. In 13th century, like most Central Asian cities Kokand was destroyed by the Mongols.
The world fame came to the city in the 18th century, when it became the capital of the richest and the most developed Kokand Khanate. In the first half of 18th century near the current city (the territory of Bukhara Khanate that time), the founder of the Kokand Khans’ Dynasty laid the fortress of Eski-Kurgan (1732), which actually gave birth to new Kokand. Soon it has got its former name – “Khuk-kand" (“Boar city"). Originally it was a small possession, isolated from the Bukhara Emirate, but gradually it has expanded geographically.
The Khanate reached its power in the first half of the nineteenth century, when its territory included the major part of present-day Uzbekistan, part of southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and China. The Kokand Khanate also included Tashkent and Shymkent. It was a big, powerful state, prosperous trading and religious centre. Only in Kokand there were over 300 mosques and dozens of madrasah.
Over the history the Kokand Khanate changed 29 governors, the most famous khan was the last one - Khudayar Khan. During the reign he four times lost his throne and again won it back. He made a lot to beautify in the city: guzars, mosques, madrasah were built during his time.
In the second half of the 19th century Bukhara, Khiva and Kokand Khanates started the struggle for power in Central Asia. Taking this opportunity, Tsar Russia began a campaign for the conquest of Central Asia. In 1868, pursuant to the contract the Kokand Khan was equated with their rights to a vassal of the Russian Empire, which lasted for almost 170 years.
After Kokand became part of Russia, the Khan's palace was turned into a fortress, and new highways were laid through resident quarters – mahallas, along which buildings of European architecture were constructed.
All monuments of the khan period, dating from 18-19th centuries have been preserved perfectly today.
Kokand is one of the most ancient and modern cities of Fergana valley. Kokand has always been known as a district of craftsmen since the history and the traditions of more than 30 kinds of craft are still being continued. The Khans invited the most gifted and professional craftsmen to the city, thus the rarest types of craft developed and prospered in the province. Even some types of the craft were recognized as artwork like wood carving, carpentering, jewellery, national fabric weaving and pottery. It is essential to note the city of Kokand among the other regions such as Margilan, Rishton, the craft was valued and developed.
Furthermore, Kokand, has its own reputation as a prominent crafts school in Uzbekistan. It is considered to be the home of outstanding masters of the world. Historically, the city has been distinguished by its attractive handicraft. One can notice that in the castles of Kokand’s governors there were several special workshops which affected significantly the development of the folk art in this area. These schools are still being used by the new generations, apprentices of those outstanding representatives of the folk art with the proficiency of craftsmen. The products manufactured by Kokand masters are distinguished by the originality of ornament, the uniqueness of elegant Islamic patterns. Rich cultural heritage and strong historic roots in Kokand has been flourishing in harmony through time.