Considerably more than the Roman Empire, the Silk Road shaped the world we know today. Weaving from Europe to Asia, Russia to the Indian Subcontinent, and wherever in the middle of, it was along this network of ancient trading routes that individuals, thoughts, innovations, and goods made their way.
At the focal point of the Silk Road, and waiting to be discovered, is Uzbekistan. It's speedier and simpler than any time in recent memory to arrive: Uzbekistan Airways additionally flies specifically from London to Tashkent, three times each week and the office in London can turn around a tourist visa application in a matter of days without the requirement for a letter of invitation.
What are the attractions which make Uzbekistan an absolute necessity visit destination? As the author of the Bradt Guide to Uzbekistan, I've been sufficiently blessed to explore relatively every edge of the country. Here are my suggestions of what to see, do, and experience in Uzbekistan.
The Silk Road Cities
As a matter of first importance are the considerable Silk Road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva, which have been inspiring guests with their architectural masterpieces for centuries. All UNESCO World Heritage Sites, these cities are bejeweled with majolica tiles, stained glass, gilded ceilings, and stunning works of art and carvings.
In Samarkand, visitors ordinarily set out straight toward the Registan Square, which is involved three madrassahs (Islamic schools), the soonest of which dates from the fifteenth century. Every one of the structures is very ornamented, and the exterior of the Sher for madrassah depicts strange tigers with human faces upon their backs: they are odd and lovely in equal measure, and clearly challenge the standard Islamic view that living creatures ought not be depicted in art.
My most loved site in Samarkand, however, is a 10-minute walk away. It's known as the Shah-I Zinda, and it is a remarkable necropolis of designed tombs, some of which are over 1,000 years of age. Every one of the tombs in the complex is extraordinary and lovely, and together they will blow your mind.
Termez: off the beaten track
I jump at the chance to get past the beaten track, however, as it's important to leave the charms of the cities behind and take off into the hinterland. Tourists once in a while go as far south as Termez, yet therefore, they pass up a major opportunity: this was one of the considerable Graeco-Bactrian cities at the time of Alexander the Great, and the archaeological revelations made here are eye-opening.
The most imperative finds (and well-done presentations clarifying where they originated from) are in Termez Archaeological Museum, however it is well worth going to the open air excavations, as well. In my view, the most noteworthy of these is at Kampir Tepe, where you can at still walk what stays of the city walls, follow the streets, and go into homes and shops, despite the fact that the last residents left two centuries back.
Savitsky Collection in Nukus
Uzbekistan's history is rich, without question, but at the same time let's remember the importance of exploring its more contemporary culture. The Savitsky Collection in Nukus (also called Nukus Art Museum or The State Art Museum of the Republic of Karakalpakstan), in the northwestern piece of Uzbekistan, has a standout amongst the most essential accumulation of cutting edge workmanship on the planet, and the account of how the gathering was amassed and secured is the subject of the documentary Desert of Forbidden Art. The museum is experiencing a forceful extension program, so an ever-increasing number of art will be put in plain view consistently.
Head to the capital, Tashkent
Tashkent, Uzbekistan's capital, is a territorial center of culture, as well. The glorious Navoi Opera and Ballet Theater has recently reopened after major renovations, and the reasonable tickets offer an opportunity to see world-class established exhibitions in an exceptional setting.
There are a substantial number of museums in the city, of which the Uzbekistan State Museum of Applied Art and the Fine Arts Museum of Uzbekistan are especially worth exploring.
Ensure you likewise have room schedule-wise to individuals watch and shop at Chorsu Bazaar — the modern manifestation of the Silk Road markets of the past — and, funny as it might sound, take a ride on the Tashkent Metro, the stations of which are decorated with cut alabaster, mosaics, light fixtures, engraved metalwork, and more.
And after that there is the food! Uzbek food is minimal known outside of Uzbekistan (with the eminent special case of Samarkand in London, tipped to end up the world's first Michelin-featured Uzbek restaurant), yet even the smell of the grilled meats, soups, and plov (the local variation of pilau, or biryani) will have your mouth watering. Uzbekistan is a major maker of fresh fruits, and additionally nuts, so you can hope to spend a great deal of your visit snacking on healthy treats.
Uzbekistan: an up and coming destination
Uzbekistan ticks all the crates for an energizing, best in destination. The country is growing quickly, and especially if you go out of high season, it's moderately simple to avoid different tourists and encircle yourself with authentic experiences and warm local hospitality. The Uzbeks have been welcoming explorers for a great many years, and if you are lucky, you'll soon be among their honoured guests.