Traditions and Contemporaneity in the Ferghana Valley Architecture

Issue #3 • 1478

History of the Ferghana Valley architecture spans a long period of time, but the most ancient specimens have not survived due to conflicts, instability, and earthquakes. Mausoleums-honako (mosque interior, a chapel) of Shah Jalil, Bustan Buva and Bibi Buvaida are believed to be the oldest architectural monuments. The Podsho Pirim complex built around the Shah Jalil mausoleum took a long time to construct. It consists of two courtyards: a long one with domed portal gate and a frontally open mosque; and a multi-corner one with a XV century mausoleum. The aivan [veranda] of the mosque is walled on three sides, and its ceiling rests on 44 pillars. All mosques in the Ferghana Valley are built following this principle.
The Shah Jalil mausoleum is elongated in shape and consists of two chambers: an oratorium and a burial vault. The oratorium (5.2 x 5.2 m) with pointed corners is built crosswise. The burial vault (4.3 x 4.3 m) is square. The mausoleum has distinct symmetrical shapes and prominent look (1).

The Norbutabi madrasah (second half of the XVIII c.) is built on the Chorsu Square in Kokand. It has rectangular shape (52 x 72 m), and assymmetrically laid-out courtyard (38 x 38 m). The main entrance has a relief portal flanked by towering mosque and minarets. The mosque is built of baked brick with no ornamentation. The inside surfaces are covered with ganch [gypsum mix]. The portal shape and spatial-plane solution of the madrasah are identical to madrasahs in Bukhara.
The Jami Mosque and minaret in Kokand were built in 1809-1822 by Umarkhan, the khan of Kokand. Symmetrically laid-out mosque is elongated in cross section. It has a winter chamber and a summer aivan supported by 98 pillars on three sides. The Ferghana Valley mosques, unlike those in Samarqand and Bukhara, have distinct frontal composition. The  mosque catches the eye with its large dimensions (97.5 x 25.5 m) and rich ornamentation. Ceilings are decorated with geometric and vegetable designs; the upper part of the walls is adorned with “stalactite” friezes. Next to the mosque rises a minaret 22 meters high, shaped as a truncated cone and completed with a hexagonal qafasa.

Of architectural monuments, Namangan has preserved the Mullah Kirghiz madrasah built in the city center in the early twentieth century, the Ata Valikhan Tura mosque, and mausoleum-vaults of Mavlan Buva and Khoja Amin. Pentagonal in projection, the madrasah is surrounded by hujras with identical arches. A minaret rises in the courtyard. The portal is decorated with deep-blue, green, yellow and white mosaics; the friezes of the mosque and the darskhana [classroom] feature monumental inscriptions. Construction of the madrasah with unconventional design solution was led by usto Kirghiz (1, p. 57).
The Jomeh complex in the city of Andijan occupies an area of 1.5 hectares.  Its madrasah has symmetrical frontal composition; entrance is marked with traditional monumental portal with domed classrooms on either side and two-storey hujras between them.  The madrasah was U-shaped, but its northern and southern wings have not survived.  In the western part of the complex stands one of the largest mosques in the Ferghana Valley – the Jomeh mosque, with projection compositionally similar to that of the aivan mosques in the Valley, walled on three sides.  The 32 metres tall minaret of baked brick

is the highest in the Ferghana Valley; it has an octagonal base and a closed dome. The complex stands out with its monumental forms and numerous ornamental elements.
Altogether, in Kokand and Marghilan cities, in Buvaida, Rishtan, and Ak-Altin districts (Ferghana Province), in the city of Andijan, in Shahrikhan and Pahtabad districts (Andijan Province), in Namangan and Chust cities, and in Namangan, Turakurgan, Pap, and Kasansai districts (Namangan Province) about fifty architectural monuments have been preserved: mosques, madrasahs, honako, mausoleums, residential buildings… Also surviving are buildings with an interesting layout, dating to the time of Russian colonization and later period.
Russian imperial conquests influenced cultural life of the region. Although the Russians originally settled in Kokand, in 1876-1877, two miles away from Marghilan, they founded New Marghilan – the present day Ferghana. The strategy was to maintain connectivity with the old city, and for this reason one of the streets in the new Russian town led to its centre. A three-beam layout was used to build Versailles, and subsequently inspired urban development of Paris, Washington, Saint Petersburg… Following this principle, new districts of Tashkent, Samarqand, Andijan, and Namangan were built. Urban expansion created radial-circular or semi-circular grids.
To the Ferghana Valley, Russian culture introduced innovations such as roof with an attic, glassed windows, fireplace, brick walls, and utilities. Besides, there appeared styles such as pseudo-Gothic, pseudo-Renaissance, pseudo-Baroque, Art Nouveau, and “brickwork”, as well as eclectic forms and elements. As a result, pedestrian alleys, flat window arches, windows and a dome-like roof with a spire of the Russian-Asian Bank building in Kokand poorly match its columns wrought in the classicism style.
The house of the Vedyaev brothers has a dome-like roof in Baroque style that suddenly ends with a pointed spire of the Russian version. The front of the house on either side of the entrance in the Art Nouveau style, combined with side windows, produced a generally eclectic facade. A two-storey building of the province governmentbuilt in 1879 in Ferghana combines elements of the Renaissance and Mauritanian styles.  In 1900, in the city a school in “brickwork” style was constructed.  Increasingly often people built mansard roofs, covering them with glass and complementing with lancet arches and domes.  The first mansards were built in France, and the name comes from the architect Francois Mansart who popularized the design.  In warm climate the roof’s metal-ceramic coating still feels hot, no matter how good the protective insulation is. Also, pointed roofs are more suited for northern countries, where there is a lot of snow; they poorly fit local architecture or relate to the urban environment.

In the years of independence the Ferghana Valley puts a great effort to restore architectural monuments and improve landscaping with landscape architecture, as was done in Kokand on a square adjacent to Urda, and in other cities of the Valley.  The expositions of the Kokand Urda Museum have been completely renewed to showcase the achievements and the finest traditions of the Kokand artisans.  The city has also developed a concept of using the Jomeh complex as Centre of Spirituality and Enlightenment; the Khudayar Khan palace has been completely renovated, with landscaping in line with modern standards; many architectural monuments have been saved.  The largest of them is the Khudayar Khan palace, with seven houses and 113 chambers.  Construction of the palace was completed in 1873.  The Norbutabi madrasah built in the 17th century is still functioning.  Today, the capacity of the Juma mosque (19th c.) is about 10,000 people.

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