Why Visit Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan, officially known as the Republic of Uzbekistan, is a country located in Central Asia. It is a doubly landlocked country – countries that are fully surrounded by one or more landlocked countries – that shares a border with Afghanistan to the south, Kazakhstan to the north, Kyrgyzstan towards the northeast, Tajikistan towards the southeast and Turkmenistan to the southwest.
Uzbekistan is a country rich in history with a mostly mid-latitude desert climate experiencing long and hot summers part of the year and mild winters during the other. The country is mostly flat with rolling sandy desert dotted with sand dunes with the areas of Amu Darya, Syr Darya and Zarafshon surrounds flat river valleys that are intensely irrigated. Meanwhile, Ferghana Valley which is located in the eastern region is surrounded by its mountainous neighbors – Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The country is also rich in heritage with the Silk Road plying through Samarkand and Bukhara. It is also the leading producer of cotton, natural gas and various petroleum products.
While it is not a country that comes to mind when planning a holiday in Central Asia, Uzbekistan is a welcoming destination where many would enjoy walking through the cities with its beautiful architectural buildings or trekking through the surrounding areas of the Nuratau Mountains with various ecotourism activities.
What to see & do in Uzbekistan
There are many sights to see and activities to partake while on vacation in Uzbekistan. Head to Samarkand, known as the cultural heart of Uzbekistan, for some of the more popular tourist spots in the country. It is the second largest city, after Tashkent, and home to the most famous Silk Road attraction, the Registan. It also has the distinction of the city wholly being a UNESCO World Heritage site. Some other sights not to be missed while in Samarkand include the Bibi-Khanym Mosque which is one of the most well-known architectural attractions in Central Asia and the Afrosiab which is in the northern part of the modern town and is the ruined site of ancient and medieval Samarqand. The Shaki-Zinda Ensemble is also worth a visit as it is an ancient necropolis located on the south-eastern mound of Arosiab with 44 tombs and over 20 mausoleums found within the architectural complex.
After Samarkand, Tashkent would be a great destination to follow. It is Uzbekistan’s capital city and situated right on the Great Silk Road from China to Europe. Tashkent is little less an ancient Central Asian city now but very much more a Soviet city. It is an interesting mixture of modern architecture structures situated along with crumbling Soviet-style buildings. While in Tashkent, visit the Old Town which has retained its old world charm with its narrow streets and alleyways winding along houses with shady courtyards, ancient mosques, and historic madressas. In the Old Town, you'll also find the Tellya Sheikh Mosque, popular for its gorgeous Islamic library featuring ancient ceilings and housing the Osman Koran and other ancient manuscripts. Don’t miss a visit to the Moyie Mubarek Library Museum which houses the oldest Korean in the world described to be a large and well-preserved deerskin copy from the 7th century.
How to get around Uzbekistan
Getting around Uzbekistan is easy with a variety of public transportation available for locals and traveler. Public buses and local marshrutkas are available to ferry passengers around the country. However, a better alternative with its convenience and faster travel time, are the country’s train system. For those who prefer to travel in their own privacy and comfort can also choose to rent a car and drive around the country. However, keep in mind that the roads may be different from your resident country and you may have to stop for frequent checkpoints.
How to get to Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan has several international and domestic airports located throughout the country. For travelers overseas, Uzbekistan has six international airports, namely Bukhara International Airport (BHK), Fergana International Airport (FEG), Navoi International Airport (NVI), Samarkand International Airport (SKD), Urgench International Airport (UGC) and its main international airport, Tashkent International Airport (TAS).
The Tashkent International Airport or the Toshkent Xalqaro Aeroporti, also the busiest airport in Central Asia, is located 12 kilometers from the city center of Tashkent. It is the main hub for the country’s flag carrier, the Uzbekistan Airways. Other airlines that operate flights to and from Tashkent Airport include Asiana Airlines, Korean Air, and Turkish Airlines.
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