- Encounters with locals
For me, Margilan is all about Uzbek craftsmanship in all its glory: traditional techniques that have been passed down through the generations, an enormous bazaar, and a few tourist buses (though not too many).
I recommend that you spend half a day visiting a silk workshop, where you will find a blend of beautiful products and detailed explanations of the techniques and designs involved, all delivered with a zest for history that recall the development of the silk road.
Then head for Margilan's ultra-traditional marketplace, which provides the ideal opportunity to enjoy ripe fruit and vegetables, or even a taste of "Plov", a traditional Uzbek dish served at the back of one of the many stores.
Don't spend too long, however! Richtan awaits you, with its brightly colored ceramics, especially on Sundays, when the Kumtepa Market opens its doors! Located between Margilan and Richtan, this marketplace is an ideal venue to buy pieces made by Uzbek craftsmen, with a great choice and quality and, above all, prices that are far below those charged in Uzbekistan's more tourist-focused towns.
According to legend, Margilan was founded by Alexander the Great and was a notable stop on the Silk Road. Unfortunately, Margilan now only offers a few of its treasures up to travelers as they pass through. Even though the town displays few signs of its historic past, there are nonetheless a few traces that remain, as Margilan is home to one of the most impressive silk factories, which employs nearly 2,000 people.
I only passed through very quickly and Margilan doesn't feature in my memories as a particularly interesting place. There are however some beautiful mosques in the downtown area, reflecting the fairly pronounced religious conservatism of this Uzbek city of around 150,000 inhabitants. While it is far from an essential element of a journey to Uzbekistan, a stopover of a few hours can be quite interesting, particularly in relation to the production of silk.