Uzbekistan – a captivating blend of Silk Road and Soviet histories, not to mention a cultural hotspot with a dash of astounding architecture for good measure. Meet welcoming locals and get caught up in the lively atmosphere of Chorsu Bazaar as you browse the mountains of fresh produce and unique locally produced goods. Traverse the depths of the Fergana Valley or hike to the top of the Nuratau Mountains for stunning views. In this eclectic land, there’s something for everyone. It is even home to the rather bizarre Tashkentland, the disneyland of Central Asia.
One glimpse of the Ichon-Qala (inner walled city) of Khiva will immerse you in the enthralling history of the city. See the vividly beautiful turquoise-tiled Kalta Minor Minaret, dating back to 1851. Dive into the past with a visit to the 12th century Kuhna Ark, leading to the mesmerising Summer Mosque, featuring stunningly intricate tilework and a fascinating archaeological museum. Climb the watchtower here for astounding views across the city.
In Bukara, visit the Ark Fortress, the city’s oldest structure, a remarkable town-within-a-town dating back to the fifth century and occupied until 1920. The ruins currently house several museums, and if you venture behind the Ark, you will discover the Zindon, formerly a jail, featuring gruesome cells and torture chambers. See the photogenic Char Minar, a gatehouse built in 1807. Relax at the oasis of Lyabi-Hauz, featuring one of the few remaining hauz (ponds) in the city.
Samarkand is arguably Uzbekistan’s most beautiful city. The Registan public square is a must-see, surrounded by three madrasahs (Islamic schools) of traditional Islamic architecture. Witness the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the Islamic world, dating back to the fifteenth century. Explore the enthralling crypts of the Gur-E-Amir Mausoleum and the Shah-i- Zinda necropolis. For contrast, tour the chic, modern Samarkand.