The particular account of this country with which the Memoirs of Bābur open renders it needless to enter into any description of it. It now forms the powerful kingdom of Khokand, whose capital, of the same name, is the ancient Khuakend, lying between Khojend and Akhsi. Though Ferghāna is in general fertile, yet several small deserts are to be found within its extent. It is divided into two parts by the Sirr. That on the left bank has for its boundary on the south the snowy mountains of Asfera, which on their northern face slope down into the hill countries of Wadil, Warukh,* Hushiār, Sukh, &c.; while their southern side forms the frontier of Karatigīn. On the west it has Uratippa, from which it is divided by the river Aksū, which flows into the Sirr. The portion of Ferghāna on the right bank of the Sirr has for its western boundary a range of hills running south from the Ala-tāgh, past Akhsi to Khojend, on the Sirr, and dividing Ferghāna from Tāshkend. The north appears to be protected by the lofty and barren mountains called Ala-tāgh, which are probably always covered with snow, and which also wind round to its eastern frontier, where they separate it from the territory of Kāshghar. The country north of the Sirr, which formerly contained Akhsi and Kāsān, is now called Nemengān. The Ala-tāgh mountains are generally represented as being joined, on their north-east angle, by a range of mountains running far eastward, and connecting them with those of Ulugh-tāgh. None of them, however, are probably high, where they join in with the hills that bound Ferghāna, as we find that the Kirghiz pass freely at all seasons, on the north and east of that country, from Tāshkend to the vicinity of Kāshghar; and the whole tract is, indeed, generally designated as belonging to the same pastoral range: thus, in the accounts of the Russian travellers, when speaking of the Great Horde of Kirghiz, we find Kāshghar, Tāshkend, and Otrār put together, as constituting their range along the Ala, or Alak-tāgh mountains, without adverting to any intervening hills. One Uzbek traveller, from whom I had an account of his journey from Kāshghar to Astrakhān, mentioned that he passed some broad low hills near Almāligh; so that, if any connecting range runs from the Ala-tāgh to the Ulugh-tāgh, it is probably a very low one, and easily surmounted.

Bābur justly describes his native country as encircled with hills on every side except towards Khojend, where, how­ever, the opening between the hills and the Sirr is very narrow.

Abulfida mentions that in the mountains of Ferghāna they have black stones which burn like charcoal, and, when kindled, afford a very intense heat. The fact of the existence of coal in the Ala-tāgh range, and to the east of it, is confirmed by recent travellers. It is found in great plenty, and forms the ordinary fuel of the natives.