For a long time tourism in Uzbekistan was understood exclusively in the triune bundle of "intourists", "architectural and historical sights", "Samarkand-Bukhara-Khiva". Our expedition to the Ferghana Valley again and again confirms us that this pattern can and should be broken.
Firstly, there are opportunities for the development of various types of tourism in all regions of the country without exception, and secondly, the promotion and stimulation of domestic tourism serves to solve a whole range of important state tasks. This is not only the economy or the social sphere, meaning the creation of jobs and the expansion of services, the improvement of infrastructure or the support of culture. But also overcoming regional imbalances, the formation of national identity and love for their country, in the end — and these are issues, even more than political.
Therefore, examples of long-term and successful functioning of objects of attraction in areas that have never been considered tourist, cannot but please, as well as enthusiastic reviews about them:
"Good morning to everyone! I joined the group for the first time and visited Kokand! It would seem that what can surprise a metropolitan resident of a small town of our sunny Uzbekistan? The Palace of Khudoyar Khan and the park area around it, historical buildings of the last century, the Jami Mosque with carved columns are impressive. And the Mehrigie enterprise, unusual for our region, which was created by our compatriots without foreign investment. And strange plants grow there (papaya, kiwi, bananas). Fields of lavender, which is going to bloom for the second time this year. A pleasant impression was left by good roads in the city and hospitable residents, polite drivers. Fatigue has passed, but good impressions of the trip will remain for a long time. Thank you! This is just the beginning of my travels with you, there are still many meetings and acquaintances with the beautiful and ancient cities of our sunny Uzbekistan ahead!"
The plantations of medicinal plants of Mehrigiyo company and the Doctor Ali Health Garden are located 7 kilometers from the Silk Road Kokand Hotel in the Urosimergan mahalla of Uchkuprik district.
Here you can see how papaya, guava, bananas, cassia are grown, observe the collection of leaves and the process of drying them. Take spectacular photos against the background of a blooming lavender field, sit on a bench near fragrant bushes and herbs, undergo an express diagnosis, get a doctor's consultation, individually select teas and dietary supplements.
At the entrance gate there is a guard in a beret and a military uniform of the National Guard. Seeing us, he greets us from afar very warmly and benevolently, invites us to go inside, explains the internal dislocation. Next, we are received by a very young, but precocious and enterprising worker of the Boburmirzo garden. Escorted to the phytobar, made in the form of a wooden ship, he drinks medicinal cocktails for good heart function and liver cleansing. The taste resembles homemade kvass. Ice cream is also sold here, it is especially popular with the surrounding kids, who fly into the garden with a polyphonic chirping especially for this delicacy.
We are going to take pictures on the lavender field, but Boburmirzo says that now it is not as beautiful as during the stormy flowering. This happens twice a year: in spring and autumn. Then it can be very crowded here, foreign tourists and visitors from Tashkent come in whole groups.
Then we look into the greenhouses. Now leaves are being collected here. Green papaya fruits require a lot of sun to ripen, so an experienced greenhouse worker thinns the leaves. Two girls lay them out on the grass next to the greenhouse, and two guys collect the dried ones and load them onto an Ant scooter.
There is also a restaurant on the territory of proper nutrition and organic food. It was not possible to get acquainted with the menu and talk with the chefs. The restaurant was open, but the kitchen was not working, perhaps because of the early time, or maybe because of quarantine restrictions.
Nearby there is a wooden pavilion selling sedan oil or black cumin. Folk and Ayurvedic medicine attribute a lot of useful properties to this oil.
A medical hotel is being built not far away. In the neighboring courtyard there is a clinic and a boarding house, apparently they are not functioning yet – cosmetic repairs are underway.
At the exit from the park, we look into a large pavilion, several doctors are on duty here, ready to consult. In the absence of clients, a very young doctor, but already of the highest category, reads one of the books of Sheikh Muhammad Sodiq Muhammad Yusuf.
I was interested in the method of computer diagnostics by pulse: a small clothespin is attached to the left arm as in an ECG and after three minutes the test results are ready. In tabular form, the functional state and energy resource of the immune and cardiovascular systems, various parts of the spine, bronchi, lungs, liver, stomach and other organs, as well as psycho-emotional characteristics are evaluated on a five-point scale. In the overall team competition in such an express diagnosis a la Avicenna, my body got a five, but, according to the computer, some parameters deserve additional attention and support. The procedure costs 40 thousand soums.
Motivating tales in the interior of one of the pavilions
On the advice of a consultant doctor, I purchased lavender tea, milk thistle and two small jars of honey from lavender and ginger - 120 gr. at 39 thousand soums each. In general, the product range is very large and diverse. I had heard about Mehrigie herbal preparations before, I saw them in Tashkent pharmacies, but I did not even imagine the scale of their production.
While I was studying the colorfully decorated jars and boxes, an elderly couple came to the consultation. The doctor at the next table measured the pressure, asked about complaints and concerns. A tall woman, in a businesslike way, habitually approached the rack, took several packages and headed to the cash register. Already at the exit from the garden, a group of elderly men, most likely residents of the neighboring mahalla, followed us to the meeting.
Next to the medical pavilion there is a large bookstore, mainly with literature of religious content, but there are other publications, in particular business of a motivating and biographical nature. Souvenirs can also be purchased here.
Here we were caught again by an old friend Boburmirzo, offering to try "Immunity to Soames" (! — here are marketing innovations based on traditions)))) for 12 thousand soums from a mobile tandoor on wheels.
It seems that the boy can enthusiastically praise cocktails, teas and soames for hours:
— THIS SAMSA IS MADE FROM THE MEAT OF A YOUNG LAMB THAT GRAZED HIGH IN THE MOUNTAINS, ATE ONLY MEDICINAL HERBS, DRANK SPRING WATER AND BREATHED THE PUREST FRESH AIR. IN ADDITION TO MEAT, SAMSA IS SEASONED WITH A HEALING SAUCE PREPARED ACCORDING TO A SPECIAL AUTHOR'S RECIPE. EVEN ONE SUCH EATEN SAMSA STIMULATES THE IMMUNE SYSTEM AND HIGH PROTECTION AGAINST VIRUSES, INFECTIONS AND OTHER DISEASES, CALMS THE NERVOUS SYSTEM, IMPROVES DIGESTION AND THE GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT.
We realized that we could not escape without tasting this product. What can I say, delicious: tender meat, fragrant spices, delicious sauce.
Overall, the place left a pleasant impression. As a lover of various herbal teas, I wanted to come back here again, perhaps soon – by September 17, when mountain lavender blooms.
According to the Mehrigiyo website, the company has been in existence since 1992, that is, for almost thirty years. The founders and staff of the enterprise have big plans ahead to expand the business and the range of services provided in the field of medical and agricultural tourism.
The health garden and the plantation are particularly mentioned in Daria Sirotina's guide "My Uzbekistan". They are in demand and attract even residents of the surrounding mahallas, not to mention groups of local tourists and foreign guests. As the Moscow writer rightly noted, the main thing is to do well not for someone, but for your own, then non-your own will catch up.
"Uzbekistan is trying very hard to do well for the guests. But it should be done well not for guests, but for locals. Then the guests will be fine too",
— FROM AN INTERVIEW WITH DARIA SIROTINA TO THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF THE NEWS AGENCY "FERGANA" DANIIL KISLOV.
As a drop of tar, I can only point out the need for better and more convenient packaging of teas and dietary supplements. Lavender honey in a jar with an iron lid in a closed cardboard box with lamination did not reach Tashkent. Due to the poorly closed lid, all the contents leaked into the box.
In Mehrigiyo, I got carried away with videos, I didn't really take pictures. Therefore, I recommend watching the video below, but we are moving on — to the village of Nursukh in the Uzbek district, where the legendary thousand-year-old pistachio tree grows.