Although the Fergana Valley has been inhabited for millennia, the modern city of Fergana was founded only in 1876. Originally it was a Russian garrison town, but it expanded as an industrial centre in the 20th century. Fergana remains ethnically diverse, with large numbers of Tajiks, Russians, Koreans, and Tatars, as well as Uzbeks.
Fergana is one of the greenest cities in Uzbekistan, befitting its status as the regional capital of an area famed for its agricultural produce. You can feast on the fresh fruit and vegetables brought in from the farms and orchards in the city’s bazaar, which sprawls over several blocks. Walking along Mustakillik Kuchasi (Independence Street) from the bazaar will bring you to the main city park, which is named in honour of the 9th-century astronomer Al Fergani. The city’s drama theatre is well respected, and is housed in an attractive, Tsarist-era building which was formerly the Governor’s House. It dates from the 1870s, and so is one of the oldest surviving
buildings in Fergana.