The town of Shakhimardan is located at a distance of 55 km from Ferghana at an altitude of 1,550 m in the mountains of the Alay Range. Shakhimardan is an enclave of Uzbekistan within the territory of Kyrgyzstan. In 1930s the town became Uzbekistan’s as a result of a territorial exchange between the republics. The population of Shakhimardan is not large; it is about 5,000. The town is washed by the two mountain streams Ok-Su and Kok-Su, which further join to form the larger river Shakhimardan-Say.
The local people believe that the town had a lot to do with the Prophet Muhammad’s son-in-law caliph Khazrat-Ali. They say he often visited the place and was buried there, although there are six more presumable graves of the caliph in other places. Shakhimardan means ‘lord of people’ in Persian, which well refers to Khazrat-Ali. Muslims consider the place holy. Until the 1920s there had been a Khazrat-Ali mosque and a mausoleum, but the Soviet authorities destroyed them. Only in 1993, after Uzbekistan became independent, they were rebuilt in their original location. The mosque is a large structure with three silvery domes. The entrance is an arch covered with decorative patterns and having stairs leading to it, which is typical of Muslim architecture.
In March, 1929 religious fanatics stoned to death the outstanding Uzbek poet, musician and founder of Uzbek drama Khamza Khakimzade Niyazi in Shakhimardan. In the 1960s they built a museum and mausoleum in commemoration of him. In 1989 they built a new museum and set up a monument to him in celebration of his 100th birthday. There is an eternal flame burning in memory of the civil war victims before the museum.
Shakhimardan boasts fantastically fresh mountain air and crystal clear fresh water of its rivers. The mountain landscapes in the area are stunning. At a distance of seven kilometers northeast of city lies in the mountains the ‘blue lake’ Kurban-Kul. The lake is located at an altitude of 1,724 meters; it is 170 meters long and 60 meters wide. It was formed as a result of powerful earthquakes on 1766. Its depth varies from 5 to 10 meters. In summer the temperature of its waters reaches +15° C at most, since the lake is fed by cold mountain streams. You can get to this wonder of nature by a two-kilometer-long ropeway, enjoying terrific mountain scenery. The locals take great care of the lake, protecting it from pollution. Water is source of life in the mountains, too. The fertile land spots are valued highly in the area as well; they are all carefully cultivated and tended. Thanks to such attitude, Shakhimardan environment remains uniquely clean.
The climate in the city is typically alpine. The average summer temperature is +22° C; in winter it ranges from -3 to +3° C. It is good for climate medical treatment: clean and a little thinner air and higher radiation from the sun help to alleviate serious illnesses, such as tuberculosis. Treatments are also complimented with having to walk a lot in this mountainous area, which is a perfect physical exercise contribution.
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