The history of Uzbek national handicrafts is as old as the Uzbek people. The most important handicrafts: ceramics and textile production, started during the Neolithic era. From the second century B.C. the Great Silk Road played an important role in the trading of local handicraft products. The location of the largest craft centers of Uzbekistan along the Silk Road had a great influence on their development.
In the Middle Ages, handicraft goods produced in the Orient, in particular in Uzbekistan (silk, Samarkand paper, ceramics, embroidery and wood carving products) were much appreciated in European markets. Turkmen carpets were traded in Buchara with the label “Buchara carpet”, although carpet were never produced there. Also the Damascene swords, traded in Damascus but forged in the Fernana Valley were considered to be fabulous handicrafts. Silk woven in Bukhara, embroidered cotton (Suzanis) and fabrics embroidered with gold were considered at the time to be worthy presents for the Roman emperors. Samarkand paper was considered to be on a par with Egyptian parchment until the ende of the 19th century in both the East and the West. And the collection of Rishton ceramics was awarded first prize at the international exhibition in Paris in 1899. Atlas and Adras fabrics from Marghilan gleamed in all the colors of the rainbow, forcing the traders to come to the Fergana Valley. Carpets woven from camels’ wool from Chiwa were given to the rulers of the Orient.
In the 10th and 11th centuries, the largest handicraft centers were founded in Central Asia. The manufacture of silk, carpets (Kuhna, Urgench, Taschkent), materials, brass, the forging of iron weapons and knives (Fergana Valley) and glass products in Bukhara reached its peak. After a Mongol invasion by Dschinghis Khan, the handicraft market collapsed. During the Timurid dynasty in the 14th and 15th centuries, the handicraft industry flourished again. Almost all types of handicrafts continued until the 20th century. Only after independence did Uzbek handicrafts experience a Renaissance period.
During those years of independence, thanks to the efforts of the Government of Uzbekistan and UNESCO, more than 30 types of crafts such as wood carving, metal punching and engraving, forging, the embroidery of headpieces, gold embroidery, stonemasonry, tiling and over thirty other forms of handicrafts were consistently developed.
DOCA Tours visits handicraft centers on almost all its tours.
Our experienced, professional guides will share with you their knowledge of all sorts of handicrafts and will tell you about the history and the golden age of the most famous centers. You will visit workshops of some artisan families whose craft secrets have been handed down through the generations.
Welcome to Uzbekistan with DOCA Tours!