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Uzbekistan: Getting to know the best places, monuments and culture. Part 1

The active phase of the war against Ukraine has been going on for the third year already. We will relentlessly support our army, volunteer initiatives, the economy of Ukraine as much as we can, and we believe in our victory. That is why we believe that the day will come when Ukrainians will be able to freely travel around the world and Uzbekistan can be one of those countries.


Uzbekistan is an incredible country that deserves the attention of every traveler. Located in the heart of Central Asia, it is rich in history, culture, nature and hospitality. Uzbekistan is a country of contrasts, where you can see ancient cities of the Silk Road, modern metropolises, mountain resorts, desert oases and lakes. Uzbekistan is also a country of records, occupying leading positions in the production of gold, cotton, uranium and natural gas.


Uzbekistan at sunset
Uzbekistan at sunset ADKHAMJON JANOBIDDINOV

Uzbekistan is a country where you can enjoy delicious and diverse cuisine that reflects the influence of the various peoples and civilizations that lived here. Uzbekistan is a country where you can meet the happiest people according to the statistics.


In this series of articles, we will tell you about the best places to travel in Uzbekistan that will suit all tastes and budgets. We'll show you the spectacular sights, features, attractions, visit tips and photos of each of the selected locations. We hope this information will interest you and encourage you to visit this extraordinary country. Let's start! 😊

 

Tashkent: the capital of Uzbekistan, a modern city with historical monuments


Tashkent is the largest city in Central Asia, which combines ancient history and modern rhythm of life. Tashkent was founded about 2,200 years ago on the Silk Road, which connected China with Europe. The city has survived many conquests, earthquakes, fires and revolutions, but has always been reborn with new strength and beauty. Today, Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan, the political, economic, cultural and scientific center of the country, as well as an important transport hub of the region.


Toshkent
Toshkent. Photo: skybooking.ua

Tashkent offers its visitors many interesting places that reflect its versatility and diversity. Here you can see both fascinating monuments of antiquity and modern buildings and architectural ensembles. Some of the most famous and beautiful places in Tashkent are:


Kukeldash Madrasah
Kukeldash Madrasah, Tashkent. Photo: advantour.com

  • Kukeldash madrasa is the largest and oldest madrasa in Tashkent, which was built in the 16th century. It is a majestic building with blue domes and mosaics that once served as a religious school, caravanserai and fortress. Today it is a museum of Islamic culture and a venue for cultural events.

  • Opera and Ballet Theater named after Alisher Navoi - one of the largest and most beautiful theaters in Central Asia, which was built in 1947 by Japanese architects who were prisoners of war during World War II. The theater has an impressive facade with columns and sculptures, as well as a luxurious interior with gold, marble and crystal. The theater is active and presents performances from opera, ballet, drama and musical theater.

Museum of Timurid's History. Фото: advantour.com
Museum of Timurid's History. Photo by advantour.com

  • The Museum of the History of the Timurids is a museum dedicated to the history and culture of the Timurid state, which existed in the XIV-XV centuries under the leadership of the famous conqueror and patron of the arts, Amir Timur. The museum was opened in 1996 on the occasion of the 660th anniversary of Amir Timur. The museum has modern architecture with elements of the national style, as well as a rich collection of exhibits that demonstrate the development of science, art, literature and crafts during the Timurid times.

  • The National Park of Uzbekistan is the largest park in Tashkent, covering an area of about 80 hectares. The park was founded in 1994. The park is a place of recreation and entertainment for local residents and guests of the city. Here you can walk along the alleys, enjoy flowers and fountains, ride attractions, visit museums, monuments and monuments, as well as see the city skyline.

These are just some of the many interesting places to visit in Tashkent. The capital of Uzbekistan is a modern city with historical monuments that will not leave anyone indifferent.

 

Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan, which has a rich history, culture and nature. Some interesting facts about Tashkent:

  • Tashkent was founded in the 2nd century BC. and is one of the oldest cities in the world.

  • Tashkent is the largest city in Central Asia.

  • Tashkent has the most fountains among all Asian cities.

  • The Tashkent metro is the first metro in Central Asia. All stations have a unique architectural appearance.

  • Osman's Koran is kept in Tashkent - the oldest manuscript of the Koran, which dates back to the 7th century.

  • Tashkent is home to a multi-ethnic population consisting of Uzbeks, Tajiks, Kazakhs, Koreans, Turkmen, Tatars, Uighurs and others. A total of 199 nationalities.

The oldest manuscript of the Koran that has survived to this day. Tashkent.
The oldest manuscript of the Koran that has survived to this day. Tashkent. Photo: islamicity.org

Samarkand: one of the oldest cities in the world


Samarkand, one of the oldest cities in the world, is often called the "crossroads of cultures". This city was a key point on the Great Silk Road between China and Europe, as well as one of the main centers of science in the medieval East.


In the 14th century, Samarkand was the capital of the Tamerlane empire and the Timurid dynasty. Most of the architectural masterpieces of the city were built in this era, as well as in the era of the Uzbek Dzhanid (Ashtarkhanid) dynasty. It was the period of the highest development of Samarkand.


Registan square and ensemble. Samarkand. Uzbekistan
Registan square and ensemble. Samarkand. Uzbekistan. Photo by getyourguide.de

The historical center of the city - the square and the Registan ensemble - were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Thus, Samarkand is often compared to a treasury of architectural masterpieces and a center of science.


Samarkand offers its visitors many magnificent mosques and mausoleums, which impress with their beauty, size and decor. Some of the most famous and beautiful places in Samarkand are:

  • Registan is the most famous square of Samarkand and Central Asia, which is surrounded by three magnificent madrasahs: Ulugbek, Sherdor and Tillya-Kari. Registan has been the heart of the political, religious and cultural life of the city since the 15th century. Its name means "sand place" or "desert" in Persian. Registan is famous for its blue domes, mosaics, minorets and isographies.

Gur e Amir Mausoleum, Samarkand
Mausoleum of Gur e Amir, Samarkand. Photo by viator.com

  • Mausoleum Gur E Amir is the mausoleum of Amir Timur and his family, which was built in the 15th century. It is a masterpiece of Timurid architecture, which has a high ribbed dome made of dark blue ceramic coating, which is called the "heavenly dome". The mausoleum also has a luxurious interior with gold, marble, onyx and other precious materials. Gur E Amir is the burial place not only of Amir Timur, but also of his grandchildren, among whom was the famous astronomer and mathematician Ulugbek.

Shokh-i Zinda Necropolis
Shokh-i Zinda Necropolis, Samarkand. Photo by planetofhotels.com
  • Shahi Zinda is an ensemble of mausoleums belonging to various members of the Timurid dynasty and their supporters, which were built from the 11th to the 19th century. Its name means "living king" in Persian, as it is associated with the legend of the burial here of the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, who was killed in Samarkand in 676. Shahi Zinda is one of the most exquisite and colorful architectural complexes in Uzbekistan, showcasing different styles and eras.

Мечеть Бібі Ханум, Самарканд
Bibi Khanum Mosque, Samarkand. Photo by advantour.com
  • Bibi Khanum Mosque is the largest mosque in Samarkand, which was built in the 15th century by order of Amir Timur in honor of his beloved wife. The mosque was designed for five thousand worshipers and had a huge portal, four minarets and a high dome. The mosque was damaged by an earthquake in 1897, but was restored in the 20th century. Bibi Khanum Mosque is one of the most important symbols of Samarkand and its Islamic identity.


These are just some of the many magnificent mosques and mausoleums that can be visited in Samarkand. One of the oldest cities in the world, Samarkand is known for its history, culture and beauty, which will not leave anyone indifferent.


Here are some interesting facts about Samarkand:

  • Samarkand is one of the oldest cities in the world with a 2,750-year history, the same age as Rome, Athens, and Babylon.

  • The city is located on the left bank of the middle course of the Zeravshan River, in the very center of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

  • In ancient times, it was twice the capital of the powerful state of Sogd and the state of Maveranahr

  • Samarkand is a large city of Uzbekistan, a tourist center of Central Asia with the famous Registan, Gur Emir, Shahi-Zind, Ulugbek Observatory.

  • Only in Samarkand you can taste real Samarkand pilaf and Samarkand bread - Obi Non.

  • Samarkand was the capital under Mirzo Ulugbek, the grandson of Amir Timur, who gathered around him the best scientists of the time and compiled the astronomical tables of Zij Guragani. These tables were translated into European languages and they were used when discovering new sea routes.


These facts emphasize the rich historical and cultural context of Samarkand. This city is a real treasure for visitors from all over the world.


Advice:

  • Try authentic Samarkand-style pilaf and the best tandoori samsa on the street (not on the market). Grab the authentic Samarkand dish Nokhut-shurak.

  • Plan a day trip through the Takhta Karacha mountain pass to the town of Shahrisabz, where Amir Timur was born. At the pass itself, you can taste a tandoori dish with lamb on your way back.

 

Bukhara: an open-air museum city with picturesque neighborhoods and ancient caravanserais


Bukhara is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Central Asia, which has preserved its unique historical image. Bukhara was founded in the 6th century BC. on the Silk Road, which connected China with Europe. The city was the center of religious, cultural, scientific and trade activities in the region.


Buhoro i harif - Bukhara the Noble
Buhoro i Sharif - Bukhara the Noble. Photo by goldenterratravel.com

Bukhara was famous for its scientists, poets, artists and architects who created many masterpieces that still adorn the city. Bukhara is a symbol of Uzbekistan's cultural heritage and was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993.


Bukhara offers its visitors many picturesque quarters and old caravanserai, which will transport you to the past, where you can feel the atmosphere of the medieval East. Some of the most interesting and beautiful places in Bukhara are:


Lyabi Houz Komplex, Bukhara
Lyabi Hauz complex, Bukhara. Photo by coxandkings.co.uk

  • Lyabi House is a complex consisting of three madrasahs surrounding a large pool with a fountain. Lyabi House was built in the 17th century as a place of rest and meetings for local residents and guests of the city. Here you can see different styles of architecture, mosaics, calligraphy and paintings, and enjoy tea, coffee or traditional dishes in one of the many cafes and restaurants.

Kalon Minaret, which has been standing for over 1000 years in Bukhara
Kalon Minaret, which has been standing for over 1000 years in Bukhara. Photo by advantour.com

  • Kalon is a minaret that was built in the 12th century as a symbol of power and greatness of Bukhara. The Kalon minaret has a height of 47 meters and a diameter of 9 meters at the base. It is made of brick and covered with clay tiles with geometric and floral ornaments. Kalon served not only as a minaret, but also as a fire tower from which danger was signaled. Kalon is one of the oldest and tallest minarets in Central Asia.

Ark Fortress, Bukhara
Ark Fortress, Bukhara. Photo by uztrips.com
  • Ark is a citadel that was the residence of the rulers of Bukhara from the 5th century until 1920. The Ark Citadel has the shape of an irregular quadrangle with sides of 789, 589, 224 and 218 meters. The height of the walls reaches 20 meters. Inside the Ark are various buildings such as palaces, mosques, barracks, treasuries, prisons (Zindan) and museums. The Ark is a witness to many historical events that took place in Bukhara, as well as a venue for festivals and celebrations.

Chor Bakr Necropolis, Bukhara
Chor Bakr Necropolis, Bukhara. Photo by belkraj.by

  • Necropilis Chor Bakr was built in the 16th century on the burial place of the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. Chor Bakr consists of mausoleums, mosques, madrasahs and other buildings surrounded by gardens and avenues. Chor Bakr differs from other necropolises in its architecture, which combines traditional elements with European influences. Chor Bakr is a place of pilgrimage for Muslims as well as a place of visit for tourists. Directly in front of the Chor-Bakr complex is a small cafe where the famous tandoori lamb is prepared. People come here from the other end of the city, especially to taste this special dish.

These are just a few of the many picturesque neighborhoods and old caravanserai you can visit in Bukhara. An open-air museum city, Bukhara is known for its history, culture and beauty, which will not leave anyone indifferent.


Some interesting facts about Bukhara:

  • Bukhara is one of the most interesting architectural and historical centers of Uzbekistan. Here you can walk for hours among the wonderful medieval buildings, or immerse yourself in one of the hundreds of alleys with clay walls and wonderful wooden doors.

  • Everything here is imbued with the spirit of antiquity, holiness and trade.

  • Bukhara has thousands of treasures starting with stories and continuing with thousands of interesting things. However, the greatest treasure of Bukhara is the sincerity and open heart of every resident of Bukhara.

  • Bukhara is the city where the scientist Abu Ali ibn Sina (Avicenna), known throughout the Asian and European world, lived and worked.

 

Khiva: the former capital of the Khorezm Khanate, with the Ichan-Kala fortress


Khiva is a city in the Khorezm region of Uzbekistan, which has more than 2,500 years of history. Khiva was founded in the 6th century BC. on the Silk Road, which connected China with Europe. The city was the center of religious, cultural, scientific and trade activities in the region.


Chiva, Uzbekistan
Khiva is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Photo by sogda-tour.com

Khiva was famous for its scientists, poets, artists and architects who created many masterpieces that still adorn the city. Khiva is a symbol of Uzbekistan's cultural heritage and was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1990.


Khiva offers its visitors an incredible ensemble of architectural monuments that are located within the Ichan-Kala fortress. Ichan-Kala is the inner city of Khiva, which was built in the 17th-19th centuries as the residence of the khans. Ichan Kala is surrounded by high walls with four gates, in which you can see ancient clocks. Inside Ichan Kala are more than 50 historical buildings and 250 old houses representing different styles and eras. Some of the most famous and beautiful places in Ichan-Kala are:


Kalta Minor Minaret, Khiva
Kalta Minor Minaret, Khiva. Photo by silkadv.com

  • The Kalta-Minar minaret is a high and massive minaret, which was built in the 19th century by order of Khan Muhammad Amin. The minaret was supposed to be the tallest in the world, but construction was stopped after the death of the khan. The minaret has a height of 26 meters and a diameter of 14.5 meters at the base. It is made of brick and covered with colored tiles with geometric and floral ornaments. The Kalta-Minar minaret is one of the symbols of Khiva, and its incompleteness gives it a special charm.

Madrasah Muhammad Rahimkhan, Khiva
Madrasah Muhammad Rahimkhan, Khiva

  • Madrasah of Muhammad Rahimkhan is the largest madrasah in Khiva, which was built in the 19th century by order of Khan Muhammad Rahimkhan. The madrasa has a majestic portal with two minarets and a dome, which is decorated with colored tiles with inscriptions and images. Inside the madrasah there are 125 rooms for students, a mosque, a library and classrooms. Madrasah of Muhammad Rahimkhan served not only as a religious school, but also as a hotel for visitors to the city.

Mausoleum of Pahlavan Mahmud. Khiva Photo by Ucell Business
Mausoleum of Pahlavan Mahmud. Khiva Photo by Ucell Business

  • Pahlavan Mahmud Mausoleum was built in the 14th-19th centuries on the burial place of Pahlavan Mahmud, a folk hero and poet who was known for his strength, wisdom and kindness. The mausoleum has a complex architecture that combines different styles and elements. It consists of a domed chamber, a mosque, a madrasah, a courtyard and other buildings. Pahlavan Mahmud Mausoleum is a place of pilgrimage for Muslims as well as a place of visit for tourists.

The residence of Khiva khans - Tosh Hovli, Khiva. Photo: wikipedia.org
The residence of Khiva khans - Tosh Hovli, Khiva. Photo: wikipedia.org

  • The Tosh-Hovli Palace was built in the 19th century by order of Khan Alla Kuli. The palace was intended for receiving guests and ceremonies. The palace has a luxurious decoration that includes colored tiles, paintings, carvings, carpets and other precious materials. The palace consists of three courtyards surrounded by 150 rooms, a mosque, a throne room, a harem and other buildings. Tosh-Khovli Palace is one of the most exquisite and colorful palaces in Uzbekistan.

Among the large flow of information about Khiva that can be found on the Internet, the following things can be singled out:

  • Khiva has been and remains for the last 4 centuries and is real emerald in the middle of the desert.

  • Compared to Tashkent, Samarkand or Bukhara, Khiva is nothing like it. It is supposedly from another in time and dimension.

  • Khiva is part of the great history of the Khorezm state, which existed for many centuries.

  • This land gave the world such famous scientists as Al-Beruni, to whom he calculated the length of the radius of the globe back in the 9th century. Another world-famous name from this land is Muhammad al-Khwarizmi, after whom the term "algorithm" is named.


Advice:

  • If you have a couple of days in Khiva, then the first day can be devoted to getting to know the city of Ichan-kala (Inner City). On the second day, you can go on a one-day excursion to the ancient fortresses (Ayas-kala, Toprak-kala, Kizil-kala, Guldursun-kala, Kirkkiz-kala), which were built in the II - V centuries. of our time

  • Around the city of Khiva there are many ponds where the best-tasting fish - carp - is grown. Near the ponds you can find small private teahouses where fried fish is prepared in the desert.

  • Try the gastronomic delights of this region, such as thum barak (like dumplings with an egg), shout-oshi (green noodles with sauce), Khorezmiya pilaf (low-fat, more dietary) and Khorezmiya tandoori bread.

These are just some of the many places and architectural monuments that can be visited in Uzbekistan. The former capital of the Khorezm Khanate, Khiva is known for its history, culture and beauty, which will not leave anyone indifferent. Bukhara is the pearl of the East, with its hundreds of domes, shopping rows and narrow streets and open hearts, similar to the city from the fairy tale "1000 and one night". Samarkand is the same age as Babylon with blue domes and mountain landscapes as one of the centers of world culture.


Ukraine, as a part of the free world, deserves freedom, the right to life and one's own choice. This country should not depend on the whims of a dictator and his supporters. Let's not forget to make a contribution for the Victory!



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