The small town of Qarshi located approximately 520 Km southwest from Tashkent is much older than it seems with its history dating 2700 years back. Now Qarshi is the administrative center of Kashkadarya region, and lately major construction of administrative buildings, educational institutions, recreational centers, and sports complexes are being seriously undertaken by the government which is aiding in the economic upsurge of the city.
Ideally located on the Great Silk Road, the part of which connected Central Asia to as opposed to Central Asia to Europe, the city of Qarshi was a great place of interest for invaders and traders including the likes of Alexander the Great. It was originally a Sogdian city which went by Nakhshab. Later it got conquered by Alexander in around 4th Century BC.Then after the Arab invasion of Uzbekistan, it was renamed to Nasaf. It was during the Mongol empire thatTamelane ordered to make this a fortified city and it named Qarshi which still prevails to this day.Qarshi or Karshi in Turkic meant fortification.
Qarshi which is blessed to have been located in the center of a fertile oasis was a major production center for wheat, cotton, and silk. This increased its commercial importance and was the leading stop for traders and merchants who were on a 11-day caravan route between Balkh in Afghanistan and Bukhara in Uzbekistan.During the 14th Century the city started gradually growing economically and by 18th Century, it was the second important city after Bukhra in the Bukhara Khanate. At the time, thecity had 10 caravanserais and 4 madrassahs. Later it came under the Russian empire.
Even though Qarshi is not considered among the best touristy cities of Uzbekistan, nevertheless it boasts in accommodating a fair number of historical monuments, especially madrassahs which are significant in their own way.
Here are the main tourist spots you should visit in Qarshi:
After independence, Rabiya or Bekmirmadrassah functioned as female madrassah. It was built in around 19th Century.
It is among the only educational institution in Central Asia intended for women. The construction of this started somewhere in 16thCentury where previously stood a Mongol palace. Today thereexists a historical museumin this madrassah. In the close vicinity, you’ll find a complex of madrassah which includes Hodge Kurban's madrasah, Abdulaziz's madrasah and Kylychbek's madrasah, all reported to have been constructed around 16th Century.
Due to the government restriction on religion, KhojaAdbul Aziz Madrassah along with Kylychbek's Madrasah no longer function as madrassahs, but nonetheless offer surplus amount of fine collection of photos of ancient era.
Built at the end of 16th Century, it was part of the architectural buildings constructed by Great Abdullah Khan II. Another mosque with the same name exists in Shakhrisabz.
This is an iconic ensemble of monuments from the ex-Soviet Union era that are deemed the largest of such kind in Central Asia.