The sign in the northwestern corner of Isfana
|• Mayor||Tashpolot Kozubayev|
|• City||2.52 km2 (0.97 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,320 m (4,330 ft)|
|• Density||11,000/km2 (29,000/sq mi)|
|Area code(s)||+996 3656|
Isfana (Kyrgyz: Исфана; Uzbek: Isfana, Исфана; Russian: Исфана) is a small town located at the extreme western end of Batken Oblast in southern Kyrgyzstan. Isfana is located at the southern fringe of the Fergana Valley in a region surrounded on three sides by Tajikistan.
The word "isfana" is believed to have come from the Sogdian word "aspanakent" which means "the land of horses". Isfana has been inhabited since at least the 16th century. Isfana underwent significant changes during the Soviet period. The selsoviet (rural council) of Isfana was established in 1937. The selsoviet was transformed into a village administration in 1996. In 2001, Askar Akayev issued a presidential decree to make Isfana into a town.
Isfana is the administrative center of Leilek District. The villages Mirza-Patcha, Samat, Chimgen, Tailan, Ak-Bulak, and Golbo are also governed by the Isfana Mayor's Office. According to data published on the town's official web site, the population of Isfana and the subordinated villages is about 28,085. The population of Isfana itself is about 18,200.
Isfana has been inhabited since at least the 16th century. Throughout history, Isfana was part of states that reigned the area that more or less corresponds to present-day Uzbekistan. From 1709 until 1876, Isfana was part of the Uzbek Khanate of Kokand. In mid-19th century, the Russian Empire began occupying the area of present-day Central Asia. By the late 19th century, imperial Russia had conquered all of the three states that dominated the territory roughly corresponding to present-day Uzbekistan. The Khanate of Khiva was conquered in 1873 and the Emirate of Bukhara fell in 1868. The Kokand Khanate formally became part of the Russian Empire in 1876.
Even though Isfana was historically an Uzbek settlement, it became part of present-day Kyrgyzstan. When Russians split Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic into autonomous oblasts, Isfana became part of Kara-Kirghiz Autonomous Oblast which was later reorganized into the Kirghiz ASSR and later into Kirghiz SSR. After the dissolution of the USSR, Kirghiz SSR became Kyrgyzstan. Thus, despite being a majority-Uzbek settlement, Isfana became part of Kyrgyzstan.
Some sources hold that the Soviets drew borders inconsistent with the traditional locations of ethnic populations so that people with historical claims to land would be dependent on the central power, that is Moscow, making them easier to control. According to these sources, the creation of individual republics was meant to reduce the threat of pan-Turkic or pan-Islamic movements in Central Asia. This strategy has been referred to as Joseph Stalin's "divide and rule" policy. Currently there are many traditionally Uzbek settlements in Kyrgyzstan. Many people in Central Asia believe that they should more appropriately be part of another country. Some scholars claim that since during the Soviet demarcation of Central Asia many places in Central Asia were ethnically mixed, it was impossible to clearly define ethnic and territorial boundaries.
Isfana underwent significant changes during the Soviet period. Under the Soviet rule Isfana was transformed from an underdeveloped Muslim settlement into a typical Soviet village. The selsoviet (rural council) of Isfana was established in 1937. The selsoviet was transformed into a village administration in 1996. In 2001, Askar Akayev issued a presidential decree to make Isfana into a town.
Isfana is located in the western part of Batken Oblast at an altitude of 1,320 meters above sea level. The town is surrounded by mountains on three sides. The mountains are within a few kilometers from the city. The highest of these mountains are the Turkestan Range located on the south of Isfana. The Turkestan Range is a northern extension of the Pamir-Alay system of mountain ranges.
The area of Isfana is 2.52 square kilometers (0.97 square miles). The total area of Isfana and the villages that are subordinated to the town is 5.88 square kilometers (2.27 square miles).
The climate of Isfana is sharply continental with cold winters and hot summers. The spring and fall see significant rainfall, while the summers are hot and dry. There are many dryland wheat and barley fields in the Isfana area that depend on winter snow and spring rain to produce good crops.
Summers are long in Isfana, usually lasting from May to September. Isfana can be extremely hot during the summer months. The town also sees very little precipitation during the summer, particularly from June through September.
|Climate data for Isfana|
|Average high °C||4||5||9||17||22||27||29||27||25||17||11||7||16.7|
|Average low °C||−4||−3||2||8||11||15||17||16||11||6||2||−2||6.6|
|Average high °F||39||41||48||63||72||81||84||81||77||63||52||45||62.2|
|Average low °F||25||27||36||46||52||59||63||61||52||43||36||28||44|
The total population of Isfana and the subordinated villages is estimated to be 28,085 people. The population of the town of Isfana itself is about 18,200. According to the 2009 Population and Housing Census of Kyrgyzstan, at that time the population of Isfana itself was 18,244 and the population of Isfana and the subordinated villages was 27,965. The 1999 census had put the number of people living in the then village of Isfana at 15,910.
Representatives of many ethnic groups can be found in the town. Uzbeks are the largest ethnic group in Isfana. However, when the populations of the six subordinated villages are included, the Kyrgyz become the largest ethnic group. According to data from 2005, the ethnic make-up of Isfana and the six subordinated villages is as follows: 50.2 percent are Kyrgyz, 48.6 percent are Uzbek, 0.3 percent are Tatar, 0.3 percent are Tajik, and the rest are representatives of various other ethnic groups.
According to the 2009 Census, the populations of Isfana and the subordinated villages are as follows:
Many Isfanans now go abroad to make a living. The most popular destination is Russia. People also go to the neighboring countries of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. There are no reliable data on the number of labor migrants from Isfana.
Isfana has two large bazaars. Most sellers who work in these bazaars bring their goods from markets in Osh, Kara-Suu, and Khujand. Isfana also has a livestock market which is open on Thursdays and Fridays.
The economy of Isfana, like the economy of many Kyrgyzstani towns, is primarily kiosk in nature. A large amount of local commerce occurs at the bazaars and small kiosks located all over the town. A significant amount of trade is unregulated.
Isfana has a mayor–council form of government. Members of the Town Kenesh (Council) elect the mayor. The Town Kenesh has 30 members. The villages of Mirzapatcha, Samat, Chimgen, Ak-Bulak, Tailan, and Golbo are also governed by the administration of Isfana. The current mayor of Isfana is Tashpolot Kozubayev.
|No.||Mayor||Took office||Left office|
|1||Saliha Muratova||February 2, 2001||April 10, 2001|
|2||Umarali Isabekov||April 12, 2001||December 18, 2005|
|3||Maripjon Moʻminov||December 20, 2005||February 9, 2009|
|4||Ysak Pazylov||March 10, 2009||July 16, 2010|
|5||Berdimurat Jalilov||July 16, 2010||August 27, 2011|
|6||Hamza Salyamov||August 27, 2011||January 31, 2013|
|7||Tashpolot Kozubayev||January 31, 2013||Incumbent|
Isfana is the administrative center Leilek District to which it is subordinated. All of the administrative agencies of the District of Leilek are located in Isfana.
Like in other Kyrgyzstani settlements where there are large groups of ethnic minorities, virtually all administrative positions in Leilek District are held by ethnic Kyrgyz. Since Kyrgyzstan became independent all heads of Leilek District have been ethnic Kyrgyz. Currently there are a few ethnic Uzbeks working for the Isfana Mayor's Office and Isfana Town Council.
Isfana has many educational institutions. There are two gymnasium schools in Isfana: Gymnasium No. 1, which is more commonly known as the Kyrgyz Gymnasium, and Uzbek Gymnasium No. 4 named after Usmon Matkarimov, more commonly known as the Uzbek Gymnasium. Both of these schools accept more academically-inclined students.
There are six secondary schools in Isfana. While in the majority of these schools students are taught only in Uzbek, some schools have both Uzbek and Kyrgyz classes. The largest secondary schools are Alisher Navoiy, Gagarin, and Isfana secondary schools. At Alisher Navoiy Secondary School classes are taught in Uzbek, Kyrgyz, and Russian. While at Gagarin Secondary School the primary medium of instruction is Russian, the school has Kyrgyz classes as well. At Isfana Secondary School students are taught only in Uzbek. Amir Temur and Toktogul secondary schools have only Uzbek classes as well. Issyk Kul Secondary School is the smallest school in Isfana and has both Kyrgyz and Uzbek classes.
English is taught as a foreign language at all of the schools in Isfana. However, the quality of English teaching tends to be poor. The students also learn Kyrgyz and Russian, the two official languages of Kyrgyzstan. Thus, in Isfana Uzbek schoolchildren learn four languages and Kyrgyz schoolchildren learn three languages.
Colleges and vocational schools
There is a branch of the International Academy of Management, Law, Finance, and Business (Международная Академия управления, права, финансов и бизнеса) in Isfana. The academy has its main campus in Bishkek. Isfana is also home to Vocational School No. 48 which trains seamstresses, carpenters, electricians, and drivers.
There are two libraries in Isfana, a general library and a children's library. Both of these libraries are public libraries. The general library is located in the building of the town recreation center. The general library has 42,515 items, while the children's library has 27,206 items.
Isfana is home to three museums: the Museum of History (established in 1986), the Iskhak Razzakov Museum (established in 1990), and the Museum of Fame (established in 1990). The town has a children's music school where schoolchildren can learn to sing, dance, and play various musical instruments, such as accordion, dayereh, komuz, piano, and rubab. There is also an educational center for children which offers courses in painting, dancing, sculpture, knitting, computer, and foreign languages.
Isfana has only one park, Samat Sadykov Park. There is a soccer stadium in the middle of the park where most public events take place. The stadium can hold up to 5,000 people. The main cinema of Isfana has been closed since Kyrgyzstan gained independence from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.
There is an Uzbek Culture Center which has remained largely inactive following the 2010 ethnic clashes between the Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan. During the ethnic violence, which lasted from June 10 until June 14, the situation was very volatile in Isfana, but no large clashes took place between members of the two ethnic groups.
Isfana is landlocked. The closest railway station is located 45 km away in Proletarsk, Tajikistan. The distance between Isfana and Batken, the capital of Batken Province, is 150 km. Isfana is 16 km from the coal mining town of Sulukta.
Public transportation is very poor in Isfana. Public vans (known in Russian as marshrutkas) run through the town. Private taxi cabs can be found along the main roads. Isfana has only one bus station. Buses, minibuses, and taxi cabs run to many parts of Kyrgyzstan from the station.
A very small portion of the roads in Isfana are covered with asphalt. The roads are not well maintained and require major rehabilitation. Isfana is connected with other settlements in Kyrgyzstan through highways. The road that connects Isfana with Batken and Osh was not maintained after Kyrgyzstan became independent in the early 1990s. The country has received funding from the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Asian Development Bank to rehabilitate the road that connects Isfana with Batken and Osh. The distance from Isfana to the capital Bishkek is 960 km and driving from Isfana to the capital takes about 24 hours.
Isfana is served by Isfana Airport built during the Soviet period. Currently it only has flights to Bishkek. Isfana Airport started its operations in the 1940s as a landing strip near the town. After Kalacha Airport serving Sulukta was closed, Isfana Airport started serving the residents of Sulukta as well. The current runway and terminal of Isfana Airport were built in 1974. In the late 1980s, Isfana Airport stopped its operation because of technical problems. It remained closed for twenty years. In 2007, after the terminal and the track were repaired, the airport was reopened.
Isfana Airport is a regional class 3C airport. The runway has a weight limit of 22 tons and has no instrument landing facilities and operates only during daylight hours. Although Isfana Airport is near the border with Tajikistan, it has no customs and border control checks and serves only flights within Kyrgyzstan.
- "Tashbolot Kozubayev elected the mayor of Isfana". Akipress (in Russian). 31 January 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- "2009 Population and Housing Census". The National Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic (in Russian). Bishkek. 2010. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- "Isfana Postal Telegraph Office". Kyrgyz Pochtasy. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
- Yoqubov, Temurboy. The History of Aspanakent (in Uzbek).
- "City Profile: Isfana". The Association of Municipalities of the Kyrgyz Republic. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- Fierman, William. "Uzbekistan." Microsoft® Student 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2008.
- Mayhew, Bradley; Richard Plunkett, Simon Richmond (2000). Lonely Planet Central Asia (2 ed.). Lonely Planet Publications. pp. 34, 159. ISBN 0-86442-673-9.
- William Fierman, ed. (1991). Soviet Central Asia: The Failed Transformation. Boulder: Westview Press. p. 17. ISBN 0-8133-7907-5.
- Tishkov, Valeriy (1997). Ethnicity, Nationalism and Conflict in and after the Soviet Union: The Mind Aflame. London: Sage Publications. p. 30-31. ISBN 978-0761951858.
- "Isfana Weather". World Weather Online. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- "About the city". Official website of Isfana (in Russian). Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- "Isfana". SPR (in Russian). Retrieved 1 May 2013.
- "Kyrgyzstan: Widening Ethnic Divisions in the South" (Report). International Crisis Group. Brussels. 29 April 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
- "Uzbeks of Kyrgyzstan complain of discrimination and corruption". Eurasianet (in Russian). 30 January 2006. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
- Sytenkova, Darya (16 September 2013). "Since Independence Kyrgyzstan has Received Over $1 Billion Worth of Credit to Rehabilitate the Roads". 24 (in Russian). Retrieved 20 September 2013.
- "After twenty years Isfana Airport is reopened in Kyrgyzstan". Centrasia (in Russian). 23 August 2007. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Isfana.|
- Official website (Russian)
- A map of Isfana, MSN
- Profile of Isfana, The Association of Municipalities of the Kyrgyz Republic (Russian)
- Isfana, Spirit of Salam
- Isfana and Leilek District, SPR (Russian)