When we drive over these mountains I am always amazed that caravans were crossing through these mountain passes in order to transfer goods from east to west and west to east.
In Kokand I visited the remains of the palace complex of the powerful Kokand Khanate that once dominated the valley. With the invasion of the imperial Russian army, the power of the Khanate diminished very quickly and was brought to an end.
The palace houses a history museum. The pictures of the Khan and his family from the late 19th century fascinated me. There were pictures of his descendants who live in Tashkent today.
The next stop was Rishtan which is one of the largest centers in Central Asia producing glazed ceramic. I was pleased with the tour and although there was a showroom there were no salespeople, only tea and conversation.
They took us to the site where they obtain the clay and then offered a demonstration. The business is family owned for 6 generations. They will be in Santa Fe in July 2017. They export a lot of their ceramics to southern France.
The next stop was at the silk factory at Margilan. I never tire of touring a silk factory. Margilan was a major center that connected Europe to East Asia. Once Central Asia discovered the secret of sericulture that was well guarded in China, Marglian became well known all over the world