Uzgen is a small town situated in southern Kyrgyzstan on the right bank of the Karadarya river. It is 54 km far from the city of Osh and 51km away from Jalal-Abad. The population is around 58.000 people. Uzgen is the oldest city of Kyrgyzstan and one of the ancient ones in Central Asia. According to some Chinese and Greek records, the city was founded in the 2nd century BC, which makes it as old as the Great Silk Road itself.
During the 12th century, Uzgen was the capital of the Khanate of Karakhanids, the Turkic dynasty that ruled Central Asia from the 10th to the 13th centuries. Being on the Great Silk Road the city had more than 20 mosques and bathhouses for traders passing through the city. The old city had 3 parts (shakhristans) and currently, there is a museum complex in the 3rd shakhristan. This is where you can find beautiful gold and silver coins, glass and ceramic products produced in different periods of history.
The most popular historical place in the city is the Uzgen Archaeological-Architectural Museum Complex. This is a complex of a museum, minaret, and mausoleum from 11-12th centuries, which still remains in good condition. The 11th-century minaret was built at the beginning of the Karakhanid era. Currently, the height of the Uzgen minaret is 27.5 meters. There is a chance to have an English-speaking guide, but it’s better to have a reservation. As already mentioned the historical part also includes the bathhouse. The Uzgen bathhouse is an impressive historic and beautifully designed structure, where you can roam around and also use it. The bricks found in the walls are dated back to the 11th and 12th centuries.
The museums, ruins, and baths from ancient Uzgen are the main stops for travelers, but the city also has a bustling market and is still active in rice production. The Uzgen red rice is known in the region and throughout Kyrgyzstan. This red type of rice is appreciated and loved by Uzbeks and Kyrgyz, which they use in the famous traditional plov. There is a famous mill in Orom Street, where old wooden equipment is used to grind rice. It is worth seeing!