One of the most ancient cities not only in Fergana Valley, but rest of Central Asia, Rishtan is located halfway from modern Fergana to Kokand. The city is located on a hill where special red clay is predominant - the basis for the production of world-famous ceramics and pottery. For centuries, the village of Rishtan was struck by the elements: the city was washed away several times by mudflows from the nearby Alai Mountains and the Sokh River floods.
Said Ahmedov's Workshop
According to scientists, the first human settlements arose here no later than 4century BC. Thus, the city is at least 2,400 years old. Rishtan played an important role on the ancient Silk Road; one of its branches passed through the Fergana Valley. And even by itself, it had a favorable geographical position on the border between nomadic, mountainous and agricultural tribes, i.e. it had a natural status of a trading hub.
During a millennium, from the 8th to the 18th century, Rishtan twice became the capital of the Fergana Valley or the states that existed on this territory.
In our time, Rishtan is known as the largest center for the manufacture of ceramics in Central Asia, and it is said that its tradition of pottery dates back at least 800 years ago. For many generations, the masters of ceramics created and handed down a special art of making blue glazed Rishtan ceramics, "Izkor".
Now Rishtan has several workshops and exhibition halls belonging to ceramists: Rustam Usmanov, Said Akhmedov and many others to name. While visiting Rishtan, guests are not only able to get acquainted with the magnificent samples of the Rishtan ceramic schools, but also they can take part in the process of making pottery. Besides, staying in the houses of local pottery masters, the guests of the country will be able to become aware of the traditions and customs of peoples inhabiting the Fergana Valley. They can by themselves, or with a hand of the hosts, cook famous dishes of Uzbek cuisine, such as pilaf, samsa or Uzbek breads.
Rishtan and its houses of ceramist masters are undoubtedly of great interest for tourists who are interested in more proactive tours, to get acquaintance of and direct participation in the life of the locals.