Uzbekistan is one of the best places to visit in Central Asia. You’ll find the gilded tombs of Samarkand, the ancient walled city of Bukhara and the UNESCO world heritage site of Khiva.
The modern capital Tashkent has a cavernous Chorshu Bazaar and a Russian Orthodox church. It also has a museum of Soviet avant-garde art.
Samarkand is the second largest city in Uzbekistan and a great place to explore Islamic architecture. The city is littered with monuments that date back a thousand years, all of which are within walking distance from one another.
During your trip to Samarkand, it’s worth taking a walk around Rigestan Square, the main square of the old city. It’s home to many of Timur’s finest constructions, including the Bibi Khanoum Mosque and the Shah-i-Zinda Mausoleum.
The Gur-e-Amir mausoleum, a large and beautiful complex commissioned by Timur the Lame, is also worth visiting. Its interior is incredibly grand and the jade stone grave of Amir Temur is the center of the room.
The Ulugh Beg madrasah at Registan, a huge mosque commissioned by Timur the Lame’s grandson, is a must-see as well. During your visit to this ancient structure, you’ll want to take pictures of its dazzling mosaics and intricate tile work.
Bukhara is Uzbekistan’s fifth largest city and for centuries has been a centre of religion, trade and scholarship, linked to the Silk Road. The ancient town is full of astonishing buildings, monuments and bazaars which tell the story of Bukhara’s past.
There are many things to see in Bukhara and the best way to experience it is by walking the streets, exploring the markets and interacting with the locals. It is a great way to understand the culture and see how life was like in Bukhara in years gone by.
A great place to start is the Bolo Haouz Mosque, which has been decorated in beautiful woodwork and fine detail. You can take a walk to the top of the minaret and watch the view from above.
You can also visit the Chor Minor Madrassah, which is one of the best examples of medieval architecture in Bukhara. It’s a little out of the way and can be tricky to find, but well worth the effort!
One of Uzbekistan’s most beautiful cities, Khiva is known for its UNESCO World Heritage sites and ancient citadels. It’s a place to get lost and explore.
- You can easily walk around all the main attractions on your own. It’s also possible to take a taxi if you want to go somewhere further away from the old city.
- In Khiva, you’ll find a lot of craftsmen who are still using the traditional techniques they learned back in the day. They can show you how to carve wood, make hats and leatherwork or even sew fur coats.
- Another great way to see a local’s work is to visit the bazaars in the old town. These are filled with vendor stores where you can pick up souvenirs such as pottery, musical instruments or silk rugs.
- In addition to these, you can try some of the traditional Khorezm cuisine at restaurants like Shiva Moon or Yasawulbashi. Some must-try dishes include shivit oshi (green noodles with red vegetable gravy), tukhum barak (pumpkin manti dumplings) and more.
Aydarkul lake, a natural wonder of the world, appears near Nurata in Uzbekistan as a result of the Syr-Darya river diverting water into a manmade depression in the Kyzylkum desert. Its beautiful color and size attract a number of tourists, but no human settlements are found around it, leaving the area untouched.
Its pristine beauty and saline waters are teeming with a variety of fish, including carp and barbel carp. White bream, perch and catfish are also plentiful.
For keen birdwatchers, the pygmy cormorant and Dalmatian pelican are common sightings. Alternatively, you may be lucky enough to spot a majestic white-tailed eagle or black vulture.
You can spend a night in traditional yurts at the Aidar Yurt Camp, located on a mountain overlooking the Nuratau Mountains. It's an exotic experience where you can sleep in the wilderness and experience the nomadic way of life.
In addition to staying in yurts, you can participate in a variety of activities, such as camel riding and fishing. You can also visit ancient Nurata city and the natural spring called Chashma, which has a religious significance to Muslims.