Margilan is one of the most ancient cities of Fergana valley and whole Central Asia, having faced for its long history as many events, sometimes scary and sad, sometimes pleasant and remarkable, as every ancient oriental city had to survive. This city survived everything: attacks by foreign invaders, conquest of Arabs, Mongolians and Genghizkhan, Iranians; all of them tried to hurt the city, it took so much time and efforts to heal that bloody wound. Sometimes, during ruling of Timurids’, Sheibanids’ and others, internecine wars occurred.

Margilan is a city with the centuries-old history, where far upon the time lived folk craftsmen, merchants, farmers. It’s renowned with prominent historical personalities, scientists, cultural workers. But, in spite of all, we have known a little about Margilan as an ancient city. Detailed investigation on the past of the city became feasible after many years of historical and archeological research. At the beginning, the scientists referred only to Chinese and Arabian chronicle, which first-mention Margilan in 7th century. But excavations, carried out by Uzbek and foreign archeologists, as well as newly found documents, allowed the scientists to reject previous ideas and move the date of the city foundation for about 1000 years back. Thus, now it’s quite appropriate to say Margilan takes special place in the rich history of Uzbekistan and whole Central Asian region, formation and development of national statehood and ethnic cultural values, is defined a cradle of civilization.

Ancient history.

In 1994, by mutual initiative - from city administration and the Institute of Archeology of the Academy of Uzbekistan - was formed Margilan Scientific Expeditionary Group to conduct research works on the territory of the region until 2004. during that time was surveyed historical topographies, stratigraphies, discovered distribution area of cultural and agricultural irrigation layers of the ancient period. In Margilan-sai area, experienced archeologists had a detailed investigation of two archeological monuments - Sim-Tepe and Kizlar-Tepe.

Sim-Tepe settlement, located in the upper part of Margilan-sai river, on the territory of present-day Ferghana, was a large settlement of farmers founded in 4 - 3 centuries B.C. It was the most ancient settlement representing farming standards in Margilan oasis. This memorial has not reached the present, as it was destroyed in 60s of the 20th century during construction of new buildings. Аrcheological materials, recently found during field survey in the lower part of Margilan-sai’s delta on the territory of Margilan, allowed the archeologists discover the new relics of the past - Kizlar-tepe. Starting from 1995, in Makhad makhallya on Kizlyr-tepa, has been conducted stationary archeological works. The excavations of 1996, as well as soil - stratigraphic survey of lower layers of Kizlar-tepe proved that irrigated farming in Margilan agricultural oasis goes back to 4-3 centuries B.C. In February of 2007, in the Museum of History of Uzbekistan was opened the Exhibition devoted to 2000-year anniversary of Margilan. It demonstrated the materials, discovering the traces of habitation of ancient people, who lived here about 1,5 million years ago. (Lithic age) The evidence is remains of man’s bones, discovered in Selyungur cave during the excavations, and also the ancient implements.

The Bronze Age is displayed with materials of Chust and Dalverzin cultures, dated 2 000 years B.C. They were named after the memorials - witnesses of protourban civilization.

The Middle Ages.

In 10th century Margilan was the center of agriculture. During Karakhanids’ ruling (999 - 1213) Маrgilan was the main city of Ferghana valley, its so-called unofficial capital. The development of agriculture, crafts, urban growth leaded to revival of both domestic and foreign trade.

Historical sources especially emphasize 2 sorts of goods taking active part in trade deals, done by means of the Great Silk Road. These are wonderful silk fabric and excellent horses. Since old times, Margilan is famous for its silk of superb quality and style. Merchants took it Bagdad, Kashgar, Khorasan, Egypt and Greece. So, one of historians of 10th century wrote, that one piece of Margilan silk could cost many lands. It is consummate mastery of Margilan people that made the city world-wide known. Skillful masters-craftsmen got thin glossy threads out of silkworm cocoons and manufactured beautiful fabric: shoyi, atlas, khan-atlas, adras.

Margilan is also known for its artworks. Out of traditional ethnic culture, among them: big-size silk embroideries, known as suzane, skullcaps, golden and silver jewelry, highly rated in Eurasian countries. Besides, Margilan also had well-developed tradition of architectural carving on wood and ganch (gypsum).

The descendant of Tamerlane, great commander Zakhiriddin Mukhammad Babur, in his novel mentioned that Margilan is renowned for its orchards, sweet pomegranates, apricots, peaches, livestock and poultry. Babur also said that many activists from Samarkand and Bukhara were born in Margilan.

Оne of outstanding scholars of Margilan in the period of 10 - 13 centuries was brilliant representative in the line of prominent philosophers of Islam jurisprudence - Imam Burkhaniddin Marginani - the author of “Al - Khidoya” book. That encyclopedic proceeding is -up to now - considered to be the main book of “Fikkh”, i.e. Islam jurisprudence. For this book Burkhaniddin Marginani received the title of “Fikkh Imami” - “Imam of Law”.

Since 13th century, Margilan became a provincial center within Kokand khanate. At the end of 19th century Rusiian military topographers found in this region mud walls with towers, twelve fortified walls, surrounding the city. The main streets run from the gates to the center of Margilan, the location of ruler’s palace - Urda and the market. In 18 - 19 centuries many public buildings were constructed in Margilan. Among them are: madrasas of Ismoil Makhsum, Yar Alatyk, Ak madrasa, Kazi Kalyan, Ichki, Said Akhmad Khodja, etc.

The city wall.

A few centuries ago Margilan was relatively small city. It was surrounded with a wall with four gates, facing the four corners of the earth. The distance between opposite gates was about 2 meters. The people still remember of the location of the wall.

From east and north, it went along the territory of present-day Uram Kyzyl Sokchi. By the way, the word “uram” is still used in Margilan in the meaning of “part of city”, in the direction of Chil-Dukhtaron mazar to makhallya Bakhrin; then the wall turned to the west, to makhallya and mazar Mashad - one of the most ancient sacred places of the city, then moved to the south, to the bath house of Kalyandar Khan, located near the big road from Gorchakov station to the city, from there - runs back to Chil-Dukhtaron mazar.

This is an old city wall called “kurgoni duval”, i.e. wall of barrow (fortress), its initial height was made of 12 rows of broken clay (pakhsa), its thickness at the basement was 3 meters, with a ditch from the outer side. As the time passed, the city enlarged, the wall gradually destroyed, by the beginning of 19th century, its condition could not be admitted as even somehow satisfactory.

It was necessary to build a wall of a bigger size. That was done, by words of Khodja Ali, the foreman at Sher-Ali-Khan’s court (1842 - 1845). The new wall surrounded such a big space, that the distance between its opposite gates, supposedly, was 8 km. The second wall had 12 gates12: Maoz Ibni Jabbor (between railway station and silk-winding). Nadyrmat, Tashlak, Khotun-aryk, Bakhrin, Gulchaman, Mashad, Eshon-Darvoza, Alty-aryk-Darvoza, Sar-mazor, Suk-tepa and Chinion. By words of Khodja-Ali, taking part in restoration of the new city wall when young, its thickness at the basement was about 2 meters, upper part-about 70 sm. From outer side there was quite steep slope (dadama) and ditch (ur). From the inner side of the wall there was a banking called “sher-kurgon” served for placing of cannons.