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Discovery Kyrgyzstan travel guide #10/2008
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Djalalabad

Djalalabad is the administrative, economic and cultural centre of Djalalabad oblast (province). It lies in the south of the Kugart valley, in the foothills of the Babash Ata Mountains to the North. 
The city enjoys a climate noted for dry, hot summers, warm and sunny autumns with rare rainbursts and winters are warm with high humidity.  The region is a centre for fruit and vegetable growing.
One of Kyrgyzstan’s main branches of the Silk Road passed through Djalalabad and the region has played host to travellers for thousands of years, although little archaeological remains are visible today – except in some of the more remote parts of the oblast – such as Saimalu Tash and the Chatkal valley.  These have included travellers, traders, tourists and pilgrims (to the various holy sights) and sick people visiting the curative spas such as in the Ayub Tau Mountain, at the altitude of 700 m above sea level some three kilometres out of town.
Djalalabad is famous for its spas. There is a legend that the water from the Hozret-Ayub-Paigambar spa cured lepers.  According to the legend there was a grave, a mosque and the khan’s palace near the spa.  The Djalalabad sanatoria, “Kurort”, is based on one of the spas on one of the hills overlooking the town – the waters are salty, but people from come a wide area to collect bottles of it.  Near the entrance to the Kurort (the health resort) is a café with a fine view over the town – the "Ikram-Ajy" Panorama, at a height of 1000 meters, with a complex that consists of a “national crafts hall”, souvenir shop and an entertainment hall –from here you can appreciate how green the city is, as the trees rise above the low-rise building.  The spas are also the source for several different brands of mineral water.
Abad is often used in Asian place names to refer to the person who founded the community.  It is said that Djalalabad was named after Jalal ad din, who was renowned for setting up caravanserais to serve travellers – and especially the many pilgrims who came to the holy mountain.
In early 19th century a small Kokand fortress was built, and a small village (kishlak) grew up around this.  The local people were engaged in agriculture, trade and provided services to the pilgrims visiting the spas. Then, in the 1870’s, Russian migrants came to the region.  They set up a garrison town and military hospital.
Djalalabad developed as a market town. Where cattle were bought and sold, and so became known as a place of interaction between agricultural and nomadic peoples.  The town had medieval narrow curved streets and the houses were surrounded with high clay walls. The mosques were decorated with colourful ornaments.
In 1916 a railway was built from Andijan to Djalalabad.  When the Soviets established their power in the region, great importance was attached to the spas. Health resorts were built and both agriculture and the food industry developed rapidly. 
Nowadays Djalalabad is home to enterprises in the oil, construction, wood processing, electro-technical, light and food industries.  There is a thriving market – and a local shop, which specialises in things like “walnut jam” – made from immature fruits (before the husks have formed) and honey.
As in all former Soviet towns the main street was called Lenin Street – and in Djalalabad it has retained its name, fountains and statue of Vladimir Illych.  The city has a small historical and cultural museum.  Near the bazaar is a shop, which sells a local delicacy – walnut jam.  The “fruits” are taken from the tree before the hard husk has formed and boiled.  The fruit is whole and suspended in a sweet syrup, rather than a thick jam.  They also sell things like walnuts in honey.  In the bazaar it is possible to buy all sorts of fresh fruits and a wide variety of nuts.

Discovery Kyrgyzstan
Travel guide#10/2008

Discovery Kyrgyzstan Travel guide #10/2008

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