Uzbekistan’s Tourist Attractions


What comes to mind when Uzbekistan’s tourist attractions are in question? First of all, it is the country’s architectural heritage, richest in Central Asia: masterpieces of medieval Islamic architecture - minarets, mosques, madrasahs (Islamic colleges), mausoleums, fortresses, palaces, etc - as well as ancient Zoroastrian and Buddhist temples and ruins of ancient settlements… Among all of them stand out the famous Registan Square in Samarkand, with the three marvelous madrasahs built in the 15th - 17th centuries at its three sides, and the grand Gur-e Amir Mausoleum where the great conqueror Tamerlane (Timur) is buried. Bukhara is first of all associated with Ismail Samani Mausoleum dating back to the 9th century and the 50-meter-tall Kalyan Minaret. (There are over 170 important architectural monuments altogether in the city.) Khiva is famous for its unique Ichan-Kala ‘inner city’ historic part - a walled medieval Central Asian town being preserved as it was in the past - an artifact town… Thanks to its vast territory and very diverse terrains, Uzbekistan also boasts numerous natural attractions. They are the impressive tracts of the Kyzylkum Desert, for instance, and of course the majestic Tien Shan Mountains with their resorts and fascinating landscapes.

Tashkent Tourist Attractions

Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital, is in all respects a Central Asian regional hub; it is the fourth largest CIS city with a population of around 3 million. Today it has all the features of a modern metropolis and a capital, with a lot of attractive Central Asian-style newly-built structures and sites, as well as Soviet-era buildings. Tashkent is rich in museums, theaters and concert halls; there are a lot of traditional Central Asian and European-like restaurants and clubs, and several very nice parks, including a zoo and a huge botanical garden. Tashkent is the only Central Asian city which has an underground railway system (Tashkent Metro).

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Samarkand Tourist Attractions

Samarkand is probably the most famous Uzbekistan’s historic city. Over 2,750 years of age, it boasts very impressive architectural monuments and a rich history. Samarkand originated from a settlement called Afrosiab, the ruins of which can be seen on the northern outskirts of the city. Later, still before the Common Era, it was the capital of Sogdiana named Marakanda then. When the city became the capital of the huge empire of Tamerlane in the 14th century, it had enjoyed substantial growth and construction of splendorous edifices, some of which we can stll see today.

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Bukhara Tourist Attractions

Bukhara is over 2,500 years old and seems to be emanating the breath of history. According to the Iranian Encyclopedia, the name of the city came from the Sogdian for ‘lucky place’; it is also said to derive from the Sanskrit for ‘temple’. Bukhara is one of the world’s seven holy cities of Islam. It was a large religious center in the Middle Ages, with over 350 mosques and 80 madrasahs (Islamic colleges), many of which survive. All the streets in Bukhara lead to the central historic complex Lyab-i Hauz, where besides magnificent architectural monuments by a hauz pond a number of cozy restaurants and teahouses are located.

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Khiva Tourist Attractions

Khiva, once a major city of ancient Khorezm (also spelled Khwarezmia, Khwarizm, Khwarazm, Khwarezm, Khoresm, Khorasam, Harezm, Horezm, and Chorezm) features an almost intact medieval Central Asian historic city being preserved as it was in the past - Ichan-Kala (‘inner city’). Although protected by the state and having the status of a museum reserve, Ichan-Kala is populated with real people, mainly artisans. You can occasionally smell frying meat and onion there, for instance, or see children running about.

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Shakhrisabz Tourist Attractions

Shakhrisabz, the home town of Tamerlane (Timur), features a number of architectural monuments built in his and his dynasty times. They are the grand remains of the summer palace Ak Saray dating from 1380, the memorial complex Dorus Saodat where two Tamerlane’s sons were buried and where a crypt intended for him was built, the memorial complex Dorut Tillavat where Tamerlane’s father rests, and the Friday communal prayer mosque Kok Gumbaz (‘blue dome’) built by order of Ulugbek, Tamerlane’s grandson, in 1437. Thoroughly restored and reconstructed, these architectural monuments are perfect examples of Central Asian Islamic architecture of the Timurid times.

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Uzbekistan Bazaars

It is impossible to think about Asia without bazaars - just like the sky without moon or a teahouse without tea. Asian bazaars were the Great Silk Road crossroads stars, cultural melting pots. They were not only trade locations; they were centers of attraction and development of various cultures, interaction of peoples, exchange of ideas and languages. Asian bazaars - like the crystallized grape sugar navat - are the locations where the nation’s soul is concentrated. Their facets reflect the gist of Central Asian life and existence.

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Ustyurt Plateau

Ustyurt Plateau is the most mysterious and least researched destination in Uzbekistan. In some records the plateau is called ‘an island’, and it is clear why: within the mass of desert sand chink plateau edge cliffs of over 300 meters in height are rising. The cliffs are so steep that there is only a place or two within the length of over 100 kilometers where a human can go up to the top of them. The very sight of a steeply rising wall in the desert makes you feel awe for it. Besides, these cliffs have very impressive colors: from pure white to blue and pink, looking like a wonderland walls.

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Barsa Kelmes. White Silence

"The land of no return!" So warning and frightening the word-combination "Barsa Kelmes" (‘Barsa Kelmas’) sounds in Turkic. This is the name of a drying and brackish lake and the natural boundary Barsa Kelmes at the Ustyurt plateau in Uzbekistan. The same name was the island (where the homonymous reserve was located) in the north-western part of the Aral Sea. The island Barsa Kelmes just disappeared, having decomposed in the monotony of sand and salt - the legacy of the past Aral Sea, and turned into a peninsula that annually upsizes, exposing the bottom of the disappearing Aral Sea.

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Sarmish-Say Gorge

Petroglyphs and pictographs made by early man survive in many parts of the world. Sarmish-Say Gorge is one за them; it boasts a large collection of rock art items, which makes it one of the most important attractions of Uzbekistan and a prehistoric picture gallery of global significance. Sarmish-Say Gorge is located at a distance of 30 kilometers northeast of the city of Navoi, on the southern slopes of the Karatau Mountain Range. Nature seems to have created the gorge to serve as a huge canvas for early artists.

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