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.
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
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
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
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.