The Fergana Valley, known as Fargʻona vodiysi in Uzbek, Fergana öröönü in Kyrgyz, and Vodii Farg'ona in Tajik, is situated in Central Asia primarily in eastern Uzbekistan, with extensions into southern Kyrgyzstan and northern Tajikistan. This ethnically diverse valley, once divided among three former Soviet republics, has a history spanning over 2,300 years. It owes its fertility to the Naryn and Kara Darya rivers, merging near Namangan to form the Syr Darya river. Founded by Alexander the Great, the valley played a crucial role in connecting Greek, Chinese, Bactrian, and Parthian civilizations. Chinese chroniclers date its towns to more than 2,100 years ago, serving as a cultural crossroads. The region was home to Babur, the Mughal dynasty founder, linking it to modern Afghanistan and South Asia. The Russian Empire conquered the valley in the late 19th century, and it became part of the Soviet Union in the 1920s. After gaining independence in 1991, the area, predominantly Muslim, is inhabited by ethnic Uzbek, Tajik, and Kyrgyz people, often intermixed across modern borders. Historical minorities include Russian, Kashgarian, Kipchak, Bukharan Jewish, and Romani populations. Cotton cultivation, introduced by the Soviets, remains a key economic activity, alongside diverse agricultural products. The valley has a rich history in stock breeding, leatherwork, and a growing mining sector, featuring resources like coal, iron, sulfur, gypsum, rock-salt, naphtha, and some small-known oil reserves.
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Recently, the isolated Kyrgyz village of Zardaly, nestled deep in the mountainous Fergana Valley, was entirely off the grid. This transformation is vividly captured in a video showcasing the delivery of solar power to the village. The footage highlights how solar energy is becoming a beacon of change in the local community, which had long been isolated. In a remarkable feat, determined villagers, aided by a herd of donkeys, navigated hazardous terrain to bring both green energy and internet connectivity to their once-isolated settlement. The video offers a compelling visual narrative of this ambitious initiative and its positive impact on the lives of the villagers.