Tourism in Uzbekistan
Millennial Mystery of Attraction of the Sunny Country
There is no need for any tourist familiar with the human history at least a little to wonder: why is tourism in Uzbekistan so attractive and what does distinguish it fr om other hundreds of tourist destinations?
The answer is apparent. It is attractive with the same as this land, called by the ancient Greeks Transoxiana attracted Alexander the Great almost two and a half millennia ago.
By the same, as this region bewitched the Arabs who called it Mawarannahr – the region of two great Central Asian rivers – the Amu Darya and Syr Darya, powerful cities-oases, inhabited with skillful craftsmen, generous fields and gardens, yielding harvests, full of sun.
Like the waves crossed the fertile lands and millennial cities the Macedonians, Arabs and Mongols, proclaiming and establishing new age-long empires. Their age-long empires were blown with winds of time, fell to pieces and buried in sands, while the peoples of this land – handy, skillful, enterprising, ingenious, open and hospitable – enjoy, as before, the generous sun and every new face.
Certainly, tourism in Uzbekistan is traditionally associated with UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Samarkand,Bukhara and Khiva. Their history dates back centuries, their ancient walls of the rampart still remember falanges of Alexander the Great, hordes of Genghiz Khan and battle-orders of Tamerlane soldiers.
Ancient Samarkand Afrasiab will show you the place of an ancient palace, where Alexander the Great killed Clete in a fit of anger. Holy Bukhara so impressed the Mongols with its magnificent Kalyan Minaret, that even the heartless shaker of the Universe Temujn ordered not to destroy it. The amazing Khiva, an open-air town-museum, owing to the remoteness from the Bolshevist minimalism of Communists, has survived for the descendant almost in its primeval beauty.
Not only the cities-objects of the UNESCO World Heritage attract thousands and thousands of visitors. Every Uzbek city gives hundreds of reasons to visit it. Such cities as Tashkent, Kokand, Andijan, Shakhrisabz are an endless modern oriental fairy tale.
Dainty Tashkent wedding pilaf is able to astonish the most exquisite gourmet. The knife-pichak hammered out by hereditary blacksmiths from Shakhrikhan will cut the thinnest spider line.
Millions of stitches of Shakhrisabz hand-made ancient traditional embroidery in “basma” and “iroki” styles will boggle the imagination of the experts. There are also Margilan satin, Fergana wood carving, Surkhandarya tandir-kebab, Andijan ceramic dishes, Rishtan terracotta jugs.
The diversity of Uzbek nature – from pistes in Chimgan and Beledrsay to sultry sands of the Karakum desert, will boggle the imagination of the traveler, who first steeps in this amazing world of Central Asia. The vast spaces in the country are occupied by the Kyzylkum and Karakum deserts. Torpedo-sized sweet-scented, Hyblaean muskmelons ripen on the melon fields of once Golodny (Hungry) steppe. The peculiar beauty of the Ustyurt plateau will remind cosmic pictures of super terrestrial landscapes of remote planets to the traveler.
Uzbek mountains are not so high as the Himalaya or Alpes – the height of the Khazret-Sultan peak is 4,643 m above sea level, but you can take an exciting backpack in the mountains of Tien Shan, Hissar and other mountain systems.
In different parts of the country you can see safely preserved cave drawings-petroglyphs of the late Stone Age – creation of prehistoric man, extant to date through the thickness of time of dozens thousands years.
In the course of the trip to Uzbekistan you will have an opportunity to enjoy the hospitality and friendliness of Uzbekistan people whose kindliness and respect to guests are in blood. “A guest is higher than own father – Mehmon otangdan ulug’”. They say it and they do ehave so. In water gaps, which are farming centers in Uzbekistan, you will get acquainted with rural life of Uzbek peoples. They will willingly tell you about life, culture and history of the region, and surely fib a little, and treat you with green tea, nicely refreshing in summer heat.
You will keep in memory for all your life the taste of natural fruits and vegetables, the most delicious and sweet in the world, Uzbekistan is famous for. So Uzbekistan tourism is very interesting. Bright impressions and interesting rest have been guaranteed here over the last 2343 years from the era of Alexander the Great.
Type of Tourism in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan tourism offers various types of tourist product for the most demanding taste: historical and cultural tourism, ethnic tourism, health tourism and MICE-Industry.
Historical and cultural tourism. A classic direction which has been tested for decades and which the guests of Uzbekistan got to like. The turquois domes of madrasah, majolica of the mausoleums shining over the ages and finicking brickwork of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva minarets are famous for their amazing attention-getting capacity and oriental charm. They justly range among the monuments of ancient India, China and Egypt. The unique decoration, composition and engineering solutions of ancient masters who erected these monumental structures boggle the imagination even of modern experts. All the travelers become much richer after a trip, because they take forever with them … thousands of digital images of hundreds architectural gems of Uzbekistan.
Ethnic tourism. Modern hotels, restaurants, cinema theaters are often hard to distinguish one from another. Waking up in a hotel room you will not be able to understand at once: is it Canberra or Bern? Quite a different story, if you fall asleep under a shanyrak – a round grid in the dome of nomadic yurt– in the great spaces of steppes after supper smelling with smoke, under the stars sized of a peach. That is why more and more our guests take the opportunity to spend several nights in family guest houses and live in a yurt. The yurt interior design has not undergone much transformation from the time when it was described by Herodotus two and a half thousand years ago. The yurt gives coolness in heat and warm, in cold. Ethnic tourism provides an opportunity to experience the every day life, culture and world view of the Uzbeks, watch a working process of the local craftsmen, and participate in cooking process of national food. The quintessence of the Uzbek ethnos is various ethnographic and culinary festivals, arts and crafts fairs held from spring to autumn and bringing together dozens of thousands people from all over the world, wishing to get familiar with cultural diversity of the Uzbek people.
Adventure tourism. Among modern tourists there are a considerable part of people who thinks it dull just to follow a guide from monument to monument. For such tourists, Uzbekistan has many attractive offers and interesting sites: Chimgan Mountains and Charvak Reservoir, located as near as 80 km from Tashkent, Nurata Mountains, the Kyzylkum desert, Lake Aydarkul, and certainly, the Aral Sea together with the Ustyurt plateau. For lovers of active style of life it is quite a tourist paradise here: mountain hiking, rafting on rapid mountain rivers, jeep-safari, fishing and hunting, and in winter time, ski mountaineering and for the most valiant, Heli Ski tours.
Ecological tourism. Do you know that on the planet, there are only few cities with population of two-three millions and stars visible at night? Tashkent ranks among such cities with the clear sky. This is due to the switching of a considerable part of motor transport to gas and the vicinity of mountains. Not to put too fine a point on it, located just an hour’s drive from the mountains, Tashkent has water from mountain rivers, rising in the glaciers, running from the faucets. Small wonder that many tourist routes in Uzbekistan pass near reserves and national parks with preserved primeval nature, inhabited with wild animals and birds, entered in the Red Book of Uzbekistan: bears, leopards, snow leopards, Persian gazelles, markhoors and argalis, pheasants and golden eagles
Health tourism. Curative tours to Uzbek mountain-climatic health resorts located in picturesque sites are becoming more and more popular. One of them - a health resort in the territory of the Zaamin Reserve is found at the height of 2,000 m above sea level. A unique health resort in the very entrails of the Khujaikon salt cave is functioning in the ridge of Kugitantau, Surkhandarya region. Uzbekistan offers a whole range of climatic and balneal health resorts with thermal, chloride-hydrocarbonate-sodiun water both for drinking treatment, and therapy tank and showers. Sulphated mud, brought from Lake Balykly, Jizak region, is also successfully used for treatment.
MICE-industry. A successful combination of the developed modern infrastructure and availability of objects attractive for tourism made Uzbekistan, Tashkent and Samarkand, in particular, favorite places to host international and regional events of interstate, transnational and sporting organizations. Nowadays Uzbekistan actively develops the МICE-industry (MICE - meeting, incentive, conference, events), which already became an integral part of tourism in modern world. Many companies and enterprises more and more often use these services to hold corporate events. They may be incentive tours, corporate holiday, meeting, conference, business lunch, unforgettable excursions or recreational night programs in lovely corners all over Uzbekistan.
Main tourist destinations in Uzbekistan
Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, which preserved many historical places of interest, are located successively from the East to the West along the Great Silk Road.
Uzbekistan Tours - private tours in Uzbekistan, exclusive custom made itineraries.
Off the Beaten Track Tourist Attractions in Uzbekistan
In addition to the major tourist destination in Uzbekistan, there are many less visited unique and interesting places, which can be an excellent addition to the main Uzbekistan Tourism sites.
Museum of Art named after I.V Savitsky: It holds over 85,000 museum pieces, including Russian avant-garde paintings and artifacts of the Central Asian peoples’ history. Thanks to the efforts of the Moscow artist Igor Savitsky, this museum managed to save the legacy of Russian avant-garde and post-avant-garde art.
“The Desert of Forbidden Art,” an American-made documentary, is drawing international attention to Mr. Savitsky’s life’s work and making it as a popular Uzbekistan tourism destination.
Fortresses of Ancient Khorezm: Khorezm is one of the most ancient historical and cultural regions of Central Asia. Khorezm is mentioned as The Country of a Thousand Fortresses in sources of the Arab conquest era. In fact, today, the archaeologists of Khorezm region discovered many ancient cities that once were powerful castles and royal palaces.
Petroglyphs of Sarmysh-say: 30-40 km to the north-east of Navoi city there is Sarmysh river natural boundary, wh ere unique archaeological monuments of the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Early Iron Age and Middle Ages have survived. On its territory of 20 sq. km were found over 10,000 petroglyphs by present time.