If you’ve been travelling along the Silk Road seeking answers to where, in fact, this highly touted fabric comes from, Margilon (Marg'ilan), 16km from Fergana, will be your answer. Uzbekistan is the world’s third-largest silk producer, and Margilon is the traditional centre of the industry, boasting the large Yodgorlik Silk Factory and several smaller, family-run silk workshops.
Although there is little to show for it, Margilon has been around for a long time, probably since the 1st century BC. For centuries its merchant clans, key players in Central Asia’s commerce and silk trade, were said to be a law unto themselves; even in the closing decades of Soviet rule, this was the heart of Uzbekistan’s black-market economy. Margilon is also one of the country’s most devoutly Islamic cities.