Uzbekistan travel – Brichmulla-Nanai areaThere is a project called Biodeversity Conservation Project. It is sponsored by UN and aims to reduce the usage of natural resources to preserve biodiversity of West Tien Shan. This goal is planned to reach through improvement of socio-economic factors of that region. The project consists of 6 components.
One of the components is designed to support the local population of West Tien Shan area with income from eco-tourism. There are ten areas in total. One of them is Brichmulla-Nanai.
Location and geography.Brichmulla-Nanai touris zone is the set of villages situated in the south-east of the Charvak water reservoir. Brichmula village is the main place for tourists to stay. The village area equals 15,000 ha of the the village accommodates more than four thousand people. The population consists of: Yakkatut, Yanghikurgan, Yusufhona, Yubileiniy, Baladala, Bogus-tan, and Nanai. Out of them there are mainly ethnic tajiks.
The Brichmulla-Nanai is an area of Bostanlyk district in Tashkent region.
Historical information.Originally Brichmulla was a town on area of 16 ha and had a different name. It situated on an intersection of several mountain roads that led to Tashkent (at that time called Chach) from Koksu, Semerechie, Chatkal and Fergana. The town was well fortified by rivers from 3 sides. From the east side of the town there was a defense wall. Today this wall is not well preserved and is 2.5 m high and 550 long.
Not far from Brichmulla, there was a ferry that linked both sides of the river Chatkal. This ferry operated up to 20thcentury.There was a narrow path to the river from the Brichmula that could be hardly noticed. The path was hidded in the rocks and it allowed people to refill their water reserves at times of blocade. Building material of local people consisted of hay and clay mixed together. This material is called paskhy. Then pasky used with stones. Walls of houses were 50 centimeters thick. The fortification walls were three times thicker.
Brichmula originated in 6th century of our era. It was a time when Turkic Khaganate was powerful and when people started to settle in the foothills of mountains in Chirchik area to protect roads to the places with a resourses of different metals. Brichmula played significant role in this protection. Three centuries later Brichmula became a town that was surrounded by walls. At the north side of the town there was built a fortification construction.
Copper and iron processing and mining were main area of expertise of local population. That is why the defence of the metal resources was important for them. Mining of mineral paints, arsenic and silver-lead ores was prosperous. To mine out the iron, people used stones that were enriched with hematite. Ovens that had tools to supply air.That ovens were used to smelt iron. Archeologists also found such ovens.
There is still no definite opinion of what todays Brichmulla was called at that time. According to one version, the town was called Ardlankent, because we know only this town in Chatkal valley in 10th century.But different things that archeologists found there were produced in 11-12 centuries. Some archeologists suggest that Ardlankent cannot be situated on the area of todays Brichmulla, because Ardlankent is a modern town named Kulbeskan that is situated near the river Aksu.
By 12th century people left the town. In 14th century it was settled again. Starting from 14th century and till 17th century, the town had bad and good times, but at the end of 17th century, population left it again. After some time it was settled one more time and got the name Brichmulla. In translation Burch means “corner or town”.As time passed, some local people moved to live closer to the right bank of the river Koksu to the village called Yakkatut. People in Brichmulla started gold mining in 18th century. It was a quite simple process: a woolen piece of fabric was used to place there gold ore then it was put in the water to wash off sand and reveive pure gold.Four people could receive up to 128.1 g daily.
Population and economy.Today Brichmulla settlement accommodates 4100 people. There are total of 750 families living in 710 houses. Out of the total population, 2150 are women and 1950 are men. According to age, there are 1200 people younger than 17, 400 people older than 65 and 2500 people between 17 and 65.
Economic wellbeing of the population worsened because production in that area went down. People used to be involved in mining of rare metals, worked at the plant that processed diamonds. Mining was chemically dangerous, that is why it was stopped. Diamond processing factory does not work temporarily. The rest of the population whether were involved in providing services to tourists or had their own farms.
The situation with housing is not good as well. Only 95 out of 745 families have good houses. 620 families don’t have decent houses and 30 families are left without permanent accommodation and five families have no houses. Based on the research results, per 100 helthy people in Brichmulla there are 30 citizens without a job and 90 diabled citizens. Each member of 40% of families has monthly income of maximum 3$. Majority of the population (49.3% families) earn from 3$ and no more than 7$ monthly.And only 10.7% of families earn more than 7$ per family member in a month.According to this statistics, the population of Brichmulla in general can be called poor.
While their economy is in transition, more people shifted to agriculture in order to survive. Now, 75% of the population is involved in agriculture. Out of them 40% are growing food and 35% are breeding cattle. The population has some technological support to do agriculture: five families have machinery for agriculture, five families have tracks, 70 families have cars and 25 families have motorcycles. There are total of half a thousand cows, twenty five horses, fourty donkeys, two hundred sheep, and six hundred goats. 25% of local people earn by providing services to visitors. In 2004 private enterprises, government bodies and international organizations created 235 new job places.There are existing job places that provide population with source of income: 2 smithies, mechanical shops, garages, hospitals, and veterinary drug-stores. The following facilities should be constructed, according to the plans: mills, grain threshing floors, petroleum station, and buildings for food-mixing.
Development of tourism there is linked with one big problem of geographical nature. Brichmulla is situated near the border of two countries. That’s why access to this place is controlled by military forces. As a result, it does not allow tourism business to grow. Today, there are only one tourist center and limited number of guesthouses.
Living in this place is supported by the following activities:
• Agriculture(to satisfy internal demand);
• Service providing at the tourist center;
• Renting houses/rooms to tourists, selling them food, medical plants, honey and flowers;
• Working for state organizations, such as school, transportation, forestry and local authorities;
• Working for private enterprises (in transportation or construction areas);
• Working at a diamond processing factory that started to operate recently.
The village cannot provide itself with meat, oil and flour. That’s why people there have to buy it outside.
Infrastructure.Roads that connect villages are good enough. There are telephone connection and electricity available in the village. Mobile phones are also used there and are the best option. Militia, military forces and forestry workers use radio transmitters. Mountain streams supply the population with clean and consumable water. The village also has system for water supply that started to function in 1964. The system provides 75% of population with drinkable water and 95% with water for irrigation. Internet connection as well as gas are not available. On the territory of the village there are also 2 drug store and 2 medical stations.
Children and teenagers get education in a local school. This school gives usual 11 year education that satisfies all Uzbek educational standards. Gradiation of this school gives students equal with other students’ opportunity to continue education in colleges or universities of Uzbekistan. There are also kindergartens, libraries and even clubs.
Weather.Located nearby Charvak water reservoir and mountains create favourable environment with freash air and beautiful nature. The temperature in summer is usually +30˚C. But during winter time it can be quite cold there. Sometimes the temperature is as low as -25 ˚C. Rainy seasons are usually during autumn and spring seasons. For different kinds of tourism there are separate appropriate seasons. Tourists that want to enjoy horse riding should come there from late April till early October. The same is true for those, who would like to hike. For those who enjoy beaches the best time is July and August. Winter there is a quiet season that would be perfect for those who love peaceful atmosphere and snow. Winter tracks are also available.
Nature preservation. Three forces are involved in preservation of nature in Brichmulla. They are: forestry, militia and military. However the main responsibility is on the forestry. Militia and military just helping.
Culture.Living quite isolated from the urban population, local people of Brichmalla village managed to save original traditions of mountain tajiks. There is a group performing folklore called “Mohi Tabon”. There is also a traditional food “Hashkak” that consists of nuts and honey. Another dish is called “Urosh”. It is the type of yogurt that is mixed with spices.
How to get to Brichmulla.The settlement is situated 120 kilometers away from Tashkent. Roads are goon enough for busses and cars. It is possible to get to the village from Gazalkent. Gazalkent is a town that is 57 kilometers away from Tashkent. First option is to pass by Charvak. Second option is to get to the Melovoy and then through Chimgan recreation zone.
Before the village there is a police post and on the way to the village there are military officers controlling the traffic. From Gazalkent to Brichmulla regularly goes a bus. It takes 1,5 hours to get from Gazalkent to Brichmulla by bus. The bus is running 3 times per day. There are also taxi cabs available in Gazalkent. The closest airport that serves international flights is 125 kilometers away. It is Tashkent International Airport. The closest train station is situated in Khodjikent village.
Attractions.The main attraction of Brichmulla village is its nature. Tourists that love eco tourism might visit Aukashka-Ohotnichiy peak that is located almost 4 kilometers from Brichmulla; Kolasya canyon; water reservoir called Charvak; the river Koksu and its waterfalls.Tourism facilities and services is usually provided by private enterprises. The territory of Brichmulla village has 5 guest houses to accommodate tourists. In addition, there are 50 other houses some of them under the sky, providing just with trestle-beds. There are also other types of housing available for tour groups. Usually travel agencies send their clients to the only one tourist center in Brichmulla called “Samorodok”. Tourists who come to the village without help of travel agencies stay in other types of accommodation. This type of tourists are called “unorganized”.
Majority of “unorganized” tourists in Brichmulla are coming from Tashkent city. Fewer tourists come from different regions and only a tiny part of foreign tourists visit this place.
Tourists usually rent houses and swimming equipment and buy food. They do not order guides to go for sightseeing. Sometimes this creates problems because some areas are not allowed to enter, because of proximity of the border.
There is a water reservoir in that area called Brichmulla-Nanai. Its beach attracts a lot of tourists. Some business people offer for rental catamarans, boats and only one powerboat. Enterpreneurs who build there guest houses plan to buy hydro cycles, yachts and equipment for windsurfing.
If invested more in tourism development, Brichmulla is capable to support this development with human resources. The role of guides for foreign tourists can perform teachers of the local school. Tourists shouldn’t expect a lot in terms of comfort. This quite distant settlement lacks some of the basic utilities such as sewerage system.
Travel agencies advise visiting craftsmen in Brichmulla. Craftsmen sell different interesting things that we use daily. The special dish that is cooked in Brichmulla is called “khashtak”. This dish contains several igridients: mountain almond, honey and orchard.People in the village drink airan, curdled milk, and compote.
Guest houses. Guest houses available for visitors are absolutely the same as houses of local people. They are built in traditional style with traditional materials. Even though sewerage system is not available, there is a tap water there.
Foreign tourists. Brichmulla is not very popular among foreign tourists, because infrastructure is poor and this area cannot compete with such sights as Chimgan and Khumsan. That is why, not many travel agencies promote Brichmulla. But still there is a small number of foreign tourists in Brichmulla. They come from many different countries, including Asian ones.A lot of foreignerswho come for business purposes and cultural exchange visit this place as guests. Some of citizens of different countries who visit that place work in Tashkent.
Local people can offer limited resources for tourists, because they encounter different problems of legal and financial character.
Below are the goods and services they offer to tourists:
• Catamaran and boat rentals;
• Cooking and selling food;
• Guided tours;
• Donkey and horses to rent;
• Craftsmen goods for sale;
• Transportation services.
Government investments.Brichmulla-Nanai is the area protected by government of Uzbekistan. There is a separate article designed to preserve the nature and develop infrastructure in Chimgan-Charvak area. Some of the businesses in Brichmulla were dangerous for environment, because of pollution they produced. That’s why the government is building new infrastructure that would provide safer for environment businesses and create good conditions for tourism development.
Government plans to take a record of all the enterprises in the area and promote safe for environment production processes. Any constructions that are not legally built would be liquidated, any business that threatens environment would be removed and agricultural and other activities that affect wildlife would not be allowed. To improve living conditions and attract more tourists, government decided to fix sewage system, provide the area with gas supply, water and pump stations.