Kashkadarya province is located in the Southern part of Uzbekistan, in the basin of the Kashkadarya river on the western mountainside Pamir-Alai.The province consists of 13 administrative districts: Guzar, Dehkanabad, Karshi, Koson, Kamashi, Kitab, Kasbi, Mubarek, Nishan, Mirishkor, Chirakchi, Shakhrisabz and Yakkabog. Administrative center is the city of Karshi with a population of more than 180 thousand people. Located between the rivers Zarafshan and Amudaryo, the territory in ancient times according to chronicles of Ancient Greece and China had the name of Southern Sogd and Southern Turon. In II-I millennium B.C. in this territory the culture was developed, people conducted a settled way of life. The discoveries which were found on the territories of ancient cities and barrows as Navtak – Yerkurgan, Kesh, Iskifagi, Subah, Bazda, Kalandartepa, Kamaytepa, Altintepa testifies that their residents were engaged in agriculture and animal breeding, pottery, processing of iron and other crafts. Pottery was developed at a high level, iron melting was developed out even B.C. This region, which has beautiful nature and rich in natural resources attracted the attention of many foreign invaders and endured the invasion of Alexander the Macedonian, Mongolian campaign and Achaemenids rule. This region was at the epicenter of the local population revolts against foreign invasions: under the leadership of Spitamen against Alexander the Macedonian in 329 BC, Khashim ibn Khakim (Mukanna) against the Arab Caliphate in the 70’s and 80’s of VIII century. Shakhrisabz City (from Persian. شهر سبز (Šahr-e Sabz) – «green city») of Kashkadarya Province was a home to Amir Temur (Tamerlane), which unyoked the country from Mongolians, and founded the great empire of Tamerlane, which included whole territory of the Middle East from the Mediterranean to northern India besides After an era of Temurids province have conquered by Shaibaneeds – the new dynasty formed from settled and nomadic Uzbek tribes. The long period followed after that has been marked by internal wars, invasions and campaigns from the neighboring states, influenced negatively on development of economy and culture of the province. The population mainly consists of Uzbeks. There is also inhabitance of more than 90 nations and nationalities, including Russians, Tajiks, Turkmens, Tatars, Kazakhs and others. Numberofable-bodiedpopulationis 1476.3 thousandpeople. 971.6 thousandofthoseareemployed. The largest cities: Shahrisabz, Kitab, Koson, Muborak, Yakkabogh, Guzar, Qamashi. City of Qarshi is the administrative centre with population of more than 239,7 thousand people.
The economy of the Province is focused on agriculture. The share of agricultural production in the gross provincial product is more than 27,3%. The natural and climatic conditions of the region are associated with a higher average temperature than in other areas. Long duration of the warm season and fertile soil allow to grow heat-loving subtropical crops – late-staple fine-fibre varieties of cotton, persimmons and sugar cane. The Kashkadarya Province is the large and significant province, having rich natural resources. The region accounts for 98% gas and more than 80% of oil produced in Uzbekistan. According to the estimations, province’s oil reserves make up tens of millions of tons. The province accounts for 13% of the republic’s industrial production. The popular international tourist objects besides monuments of Shakhrisabz, is Sultan Mir Khaydar – the architectural complex of ancient mausoleum and mosque in the village Kasbi. About 15 historical monuments of XV – XVI centuries are preserved in the administrative center of the area – the city of Karshi. The second largest city in the province – Shakhrisabz is world renown for being the birthplace of Amir Temur. The Great Silk Road passed through the city. The architectural monuments built by Amir Temur and his grandson Ulughbek attract the attention of tourists. In addition, Shakhrisabz is one of the oldest centers of crafts. Gold-woven skullcap embroidered here won gold medals in international exhibitions in Canada, Turkey and Japan. Copper, earthenware made with great skill were the winners of many exhibitions. In the foothills of Kashkadarya – Kitab, Shakhrisabz, Yakkabag, Dekhkanabad, Chirakchi, Kamashi, natural conditions and a favorable climate allow to develop eco-tourism, there are health centers, sanatoriums and rest homes there.
Shakhrisabz (Green town) is a small town to the south of Samarkand, lying across the hills in Kashka-Darya province. This is Timur’s hometown and once upon a time it had probably put Samarkand itself in the shadow. In the early 7th century Chinese Buddhist traveller Huen Tsang visited the Sogdian town of Kesh (Shakhrisabz). This city saw the Arab and Mongol invasions. By 1336, the year of Timur’s birth, Kesh and its dependencies were his father’s patrimony (the Barlas clan). As Timur rose to power he gave it its present name and turned it into an extended family monument. In the reign of Timur Shakhrisabz became his residence. But in the late 16th century the Ruler of Bukhara destroyed much of the Timurid legacy. Shakhrisabz retained semi-independence from Bukhara till the 19th century. In 1870 the Tsarist army stormed the town. While the Soviet era brought great change to the appearance of Shakhrisabz, the town has preserved a rich store of history in legends and architecture. One enjoys a relaxed Uzbek atmosphere in its mosques, teahouses and traditional homes.
SIGHTSEEING AND EXCURSION
Shakhrisabz city tour – Half-day
Ak-Sarai (literally the “White Palace”, built in 1379-1409) is the greatest palace of Tamerlane built by artisans of Khorezm after he destroyed Kunya Urgench and dispatched its masters in 1379. Of this grandiose palace, there remain only the ruins of the 40 metre-high portal, flanked by two 50 metre-high towers covered with glazed bricks. Dorut Tilovat (the House of meditation) is the 14th century complex of Kok Gumboz mosque (1437), madrasah and mausoleums of Shamsiddin Kulol (1374) – a Sufi master, Amir Taraghay – Tamerlane’s father and four Termez Sayeds – descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. Kok Gumboz Mosque (Blue Dome) was completed by Ulugbek in 1437 in honour of his father Shah Rukh (Timur’s son). Dorus Siodat (Seat of Power and Might) is the family crypt of the Timurids with the graves of two sons of Tamerlane (Jehangir and Umar Sheikh) and Khazrati Imam Mosque of the 19th century. “Khudjum” Souvenir Factory is specialised mainly on the famous colourful cross-stitch Iroki embroidery of Shakhrisabz.Ayakshi village.
A beautiful setting on the windswept foothills of the Zerafshan range, overlooking the Kashkadarya valley across to the Hissar and Turkistan ranges, makes this the most worthwhile side trip from Shakhrisabz.
The drive from Samarkand over the Takhtakaracha Pass, from where you get a breath-taking view over the oasis valley, is very picturesque.
High up the Langar valley, withdrawn into the protective foothills of the Hissar range and isolated by the Langar Gorge, lies one of the few towns in Uzbekistan which the long arm of Soviet transformation never quite reached. The traditional town of Langar spills down the hillside in horizontals of clay brick, its fall broken only by its remarkable Friday Mosque. The plain exterior of the mosque (1520, 1562, restored 1807) masks an inner world of blue, black and gold mosaic tilework created by Samarkandi and Bukharan masters. Flowered grills of alabaster punctuate a ceiling band of tiled calligraphy.
Perched on a mountain spur, overshadowing the town, stretches the high Timurid drum of the Langar Ata Mazaar, the final resting place of 15th- and 16th-century sheikhs from the Iskiya order, rivals to the dominant Naqshbandi order, who had them driven out of Samarkand during the Timurid period. The mausoleum marks the beautiful tomb of the most famous local sheikh, Mohammed Sadik (d. 1545), his father Abul Hasan, son Hudaykel and an unknown Timurid noble, thought to be the seven year old daughter of Tamerlane.
The hilltop mausoleum is clearly visible from all around, and the mosque by its side once held both an early Qu’ran and a cloak said to belong to the Prophet Muhammad. These artefacts have sadly long-since been removed, but it’s still worth stopping off here for half an hour, if only to break the journey south.
From Yakkabag a road continues into the mountains to Tatar, from where you can hike to Zarmaz and remote Tashkurgan, a small settlement one day’s walk from the Cave of Tamerlane and its sacred lake, via the dinosaur footprints of the Kolasai River canyon. The adventurous trip takes three or four days but check carefully with travel agents before venturing into remote areas as much of the border is mined.
See our tours:
Tour MTH 10. Across all Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan Rural life of Uzbek village tour
Places Outside of Shakhrisabz to Visit