A Travellerspoint blog

Border hopping the Fergana Valley

Central Asia - Fergana Valley

sunny 19 °C
View Central Asia on kmmk17's travel map.


Part of the reason the trip lasted and travelled as much as it did was due to the complexities of Central Asian political geography. Whilst the whole area was part of the Soviet Union, moving between different republics wasn't particularly difficult. However upon independence, these new countries suddenly had some very complex boundaries.

The divide and rule policies of Moscow meant that many of these boundaries were arbitrary - simply there to make sure no one could survive on their own, intertwining the republics with each other. Whilst Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan contain the energy reserves, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan contain the water reserves. Unfortunately, the countries have not been able to work together and thus one of the consequences for travellers are complex borders they cannot easily cross, and the Fergana Valley sums this up most.

The upper Fergana Valley is controlled by Uzbekistan, whilst Tajikstan controls the lower part. Meanwhile Kyrgyzstan surrounds the entire valley, controlling the mountainous edges. As Uzbekistan has a difficult visa policy, compared to the almost visa free neighbours, not to mention difficult customs, we had to circuit the territory around the Fergana Valley itself to reach the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek.

Driving to find....

Driving to find....

Lenin

Lenin

We began our day by having a short tour of Khujand, beginning with the statue of Lenin - who had been replaced on his plinth by Somoni, and moved to a 'park' located off a side road and down a track into a conspicuous looking cemetery-like area for Soviet memorials called Victory Park.

Historical Museum

Historical Museum

After taking a look at the massive statue and the Afghan War Memorial located a few metres away, we then headed to the Historical Museum of Sughd - detailing the ancient empire of the Fergana Valley; before heading to the Panjshanbe Market.

Indoor Market

Indoor Market


Unofficially entering Kyrgyzstan

Unofficially entering Kyrgyzstan

Making our way towards the Kyrgyz border, we had already skirted and unofficially entered several times through the republic's villages and past some of it's enclaves. On arrival we had a relatively relaxed and easy process leaving the Tajik side, and on entry to Kyrgyzstan our border guard was even having a joke with us - what a change it was to actually be welcomed in!

We continued in our new minibus, having obtained some local notes and still skirting the border, stopping for lunch on the border town of Kyrgyz-Kyshtak, where all local traders provided shoppers with old-logo branded Morrison's bags.

Uzbek Border Fence

Uzbek Border Fence

Our final travels today took us past the Uzbek border fence, and then de jure into Uzbekistan itself before reentering Kyrgyzstan and making it to our bed for the night - Osh.

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Tajikistan Tagged statues borders centralasia

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comment with:

Comments left using a name and email address are moderated by the blog owner before showing.

Required
Not published. Required
Leave this field empty

Characters remaining: