Chust is a small but lively, majority-Tajik town in the north of Ferghana Valley. It is home to Uzbekistan’s most famous knife makers.
Things to do
Knives: The knife factory (46 Chusti street) closed down in 2005, but the artisans continue their work from home. The bazaar is the place to get your knife, which can be engraved with a wording of your choice. Prices start from an incredible 5$ for a handmade knife. There are hunting knives, kitchen knives, even swords, all are handmade.
Bazaar: The bazaar is clean and of manageable size, with more handwork besides the knives: there are people making shoes and boots, drainage pipes, meat grinders, brooms, cradles, cabinets,… This is also the place to get some tasty plov. Chust plov is less greasy and less meaty than average, mixing in yellow carrots, chickpeas and raisins.
Park: The park is a fun place. Come here to get some (ak) chai together with the rest of the town in one of the many chaikhanas. Weekends are busiest, while Fridays sees a flock of men coming from the mosque after prayers crowding into the chaikhana. Sit down on the topchan, and enjoy the people-watching.
The park is named after Mavlono Lutfullo, a local 16th-century scientist whose mosque and minaret form the center of the park. Beyond that, there is a mildly interesting local history museum and a host of typical amusement park rides left over from Soviet times. They remain popular. On the other side of the park, a disco is blasting techno for teens.
A bus from Namangan costs 0.30$. On the way you can visit the ancient ruins of Aksikent, near the village of Shokhand, on the banks of the Syr Darya.