What to See in Uzbekistan

By | July 18, 2022

The capital of Uzbekistan – Tashkent – is located in the north-eastern part of the country in the foothills of the Tien Shan. The first mention of the fortified city of Chach on the site of modern Tashkent dates back to the 2nd century BC. According to Top-mba-universities, Tashkent is located in a zone of high seismicity, earthquakes have happened here more than once, which destroyed most of the historical monuments of the city. Despite the loss of many attractions, the Old City of Tashkent, which is called Eski-Shahar, is still the most remarkable place in the capital of Uzbekistan.. Here you can see unique monuments of medieval oriental architecture: Kukeldash madrasah, Barak-Khan madrasah, Kaffali Shashi mausoleum, Abdulkasim Sheikh madrasah, Sheikh Zainudin mausoleum, Sheikhantaur mausoleum, Kaldirgochbiy mausoleum and Yunus-Khan mausoleum. In addition to historical monuments, museums in Tashkent are interesting: the Timurid State Museum, the Museum of Art of Uzbekistan and the Museum of Applied Arts.

To the northeast of Tashkent stretch the Chimgan Mountains, which are part of the Chatkal Range of the Western Tien Shan. This is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Uzbekistan: Chimgan and Beldersay ski resorts are located here., rest houses and climatic resorts. The slopes of the Chimgan mountains are covered with forests, among which rapid rapids flow with waterfalls and lakes. Getting here is very easy from Tashkent, which is located about 100 km. These places are part of the Ugam-Chatkal National Park, which protects the biodiversity of the mountain landscapes of the Western Tien Shan. It is worth remembering that at the entrance you will have to pay an environmental fee, as this is a protected area.

To the west of Tashkent, on the outskirts of the Kyzylkum desert, there is an artificial lake Aydarkul – the second largest lake in the state (3000 sq. km). In the vicinity of the lake there are yurt camps of Uzbek nomads, where you can get acquainted with the culture of the local population and taste national dishes. Camel tours around the Kyzylkum desert depart from the camps. In addition, Lake Aydarkul is perfect for fishing and waterfowl watching. To the south of Lake Aydarkul, on the northern slopes of the Nuratau ridge, the Nurata Reserve extends.

In the extreme east of Uzbekistan, between the Tien Shan and Pamir-Alay mountain ranges, the Ferghana Valley is located. It is 370 km long and 190 km wide. In the valley by the confluence of the Karadarya and Naryn rivers the Syrdarya river is formed. The abundance of water arteries and the favorable climate of the valley make it possible to grow many agricultural crops here. This is the most fertile and most populated region of Central Asia. All cities of the Ferghana Valley are surrounded by gardens with fruit trees. The valley has been known since ancient times as one of the largest centers for the production of silk; the Great Silk Road passed through its territory. In the 18-19 centuries, the valley was the center of the mighty Kokand Khanate, and in 1876 it became part of the Russian Empire.

The largest city in the Fergana Valley is the city of Fergana . Fergana was founded in the second half of the 19th century, when the valley became part of the Russian Empire. The sights of the city include its numerous parks and gardens, the monument to Ahmad Al Fergani, the great astronomer of the 10th century, and the Museum of Local Lore. 15 km north of Fergana is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia – Margilan. It appeared about 2000 years ago. Margilan stood on the Great Silk Road and was known for its craftsmen – weavers of cotton and silk. Today Margilan is also famous for its silk production. Buildings of the 18th-19th centuries have been preserved in the city: the Pir Siddik complex (18th century), the Khoja Magiz mausoleum (18th century), the Chakar mosque, the Said Ahmad-Khoja madrasah (19th century) and the Toron-bazaar mosque (19th century). Rishtan village is located 35 km north of Margilan. The village is famous for its pottery, which has been produced here for over 1000 years. Ceramics are made from local varieties of red clay and glaze from natural mineral dyes and ash from mountain plants.

In the western part of the Fergana Valley, 88 km west of Fergana, is the city of Kokand. For the first time these places are mentioned in the Chinese chronicles of the 2nd century BC, the first mention of the city of Kokand itself dates back to the 10th century AD. In the 12th century, the city was destroyed by the Mongols, it was revived only in the first half of the 18th century, when the founder of the dynasty of Kokand khans founded the Eski-Kurgan fortress in its vicinity. From that time until the end of the 19th century, Kokand was the capital of the Kokand Khanate. The former grandeur of Kokand is reminded of the palace of its last ruler Khudoyerkhan – Urda, the tomb of the Kokand khans of the early 19th century, the Friday mosque (Jami) of the early 19th century, the Emir madrasah and the Norbutabi madrasah (both of the late 18th century).

On the eastern outskirts of the Ferghana Valley, the ancient cities of Andijan are of interest, where Zahriddin Babur, a military leader, statesman and descendant of Timur, who conquered India and in the 16th century founded the Mughal Empire, and Namangan , which was first mentioned in the autobiography of Zahriddin Babur “Baburname”.

The mild climate of the Fergana Valley and numerous mineral springs attract many tourists here. 32 km south of Ferghana, in the foothills of the Alai Range at an altitude of 450 m, there is a balneological resort “Chimion”, which specializes in the treatment of diseases of the circulatory system, nervous system, movement organs, gynecological and urological diseases. A little higher on the northern slope of the Alai Range is the mountain climatic resort Khamzaabad. Not far from Namangan in the valley of the river Chartaksay is located balneological resort “Chartak”, functioning on the basis of iodine-bromine mineral waters, and in the mountain spurs of the Chatkal ridge there is a valley of the Padshaatasay river with numerous recreation areas. Samarkand , the second largest city in the country and the center of world tourism, is located 275 km southwest of Tashkent on the slopes of the Turkestan Range at an altitude of 700 m. The city was first mentioned in 700 BC as Maracanda. It was the capital of the state of Sogdiana. Since the opening of the Great Silk Road, Marakanda has been its key point. The city acquired its modern name under Genghis Khan. The heyday of Samarkand fell on the reign of the great commander Timur (14-15 centuries), when Samarkand became the capital of his empire. Samarkand was surrounded by fortress walls, within which grandiose architectural ensembles were erected and numerous parks were equipped. In 2001 for its unique appearance Samarkand was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The city is famous for its architectural monuments dating back to the reign of the Timurid dynasty. Samarkand architecture of the Middle Ages is known all over the world: the unique external glazed and gilded cladding of ancient buildings are the hallmark of the city. The main attractions of the city are the Registan Square Ensemble (15-17th century), the huge Bibi-Khanym Cathedral Mosque of the early 15th century, the Shakhi-Zinda burial complex of the 14th-15th centuries, and the mausoleum of Emir Timur and his descendants – Gur-Emir (15th century). In 1908, the remains of Ulugbek’s observatory of 1428 were discovered 2 km northeast of Samarkand on the Kukhak hill. In the Middle Ages, it was one of the most grandiose observatories in the East.

Samarkand and its surroundings attract not only history buffs. The city is surrounded by the Gissar and Turkestan ranges, the Matcha and Fan mountains, which are great places for hiking and ecotourism. The slopes of the mountains are dotted with numerous routes, most of which pass through protected areas: Zeravshan Reserve, Zaamin National Park and Zaamin Reserve. The city of Shakhrisabz is located 170 km south of Samarkand.. Shakhrisabz is known as the birthplace of Emir Timur. At the end of the 14th century, by order of Emir Timur, the construction of the Aksaray Palace began here, the ruins of which have survived to this day. Now in its place you can see two flanking towers, a 40-meter gate, part of the walls and magnificent mosaics in blue, white and golden tones. In the southern part of the palace complex, the mausoleum Dorus-Siadat, which was erected for the eldest son of Timur, has been preserved. To the west is the Kok-Gumbez mosque, built in the 15th century under Ulugbek. Nearby is a complex of mausoleums Gumbezi-Seyidan of the 15th century.

To the east of Shakhrisabz, in the spurs of the Tien Shan mountains, there are two protected areas: the Kitab geological reserve and the Gissar reserve.

To the south of Shakhrisabz on the border with Afghanistan on the banks of the Amu Darya River is located the city of Termez . It was formed in the 19th century on the site of a Russian border post, however, a large trading settlement on this site existed during the reign of the Seleucids in the 2nd-3rd centuries BC. The remains of this settlement were found a few kilometers from modern Termez. In the 1st century A.D. Termez became one of the main Buddhist centers of Central Asia, as evidenced by the numerous cult complexes found in the vicinity of Termez.

To the north of Termez, the Baysun ethnographic zone is interesting, which keeps the memory of the Greco-Bactrian and Kushan kingdoms. In ancient times, the paths of the Great Silk Road passed through the local mountain gorges. The local Teshik-Tash cave is known all over the world, in which traces of fires, a rich complex of stone tools and an incomplete skeleton of a Neanderthal boy were found. Trips to the villages of Baysun are very popular, where you can get acquainted with the folklore traditions of the local people and their main crafts – embroidery, carpet production, painting on ceramics and the Kuznetsk business. Surkhan Nature Reserve is located near Baysun on the slopes of the Kugitang ridge.. In addition to the rich and diverse flora and fauna, the reserve is also home to archaeological sites. In the southeast of the reserve, traces of dinosaurs were found that lived in these parts several hundred million years ago. Also, more than 200 colored rock paintings of the Mesolithic and Neolithic eras were found on the territory of the reserve.

In the center of Uzbekistan there is one of the oldest and one of the most famous cities of Uzbekistan, once a large trade center on the Great Silk Road – Bukhara . The age of the city exceeds 2500 years. It is authentically known that in ancient times Bukhara was part of the state of Sogdiana. The city acquired its modern appearance during the reign of the Sheibanid dynasty in the 16-17 centuries, then it was surrounded by fortress walls, inside which mosques, madrasahs, mausoleums, caravanserais and baths were erected. Today in the Old City of Bukhara you can see the Ark fortress, where from the moment of its creation (mid-16th century) the rulers of the city lived, the Poi-Kalyan square, surrounded by the majestic Kalyan mosque of 1514, the Miri-Arab madrasah (1536) and the Kalyan minaret 46 m, the Lyabi-Haus ensemble of 1620, which is the hallmark of the city, the mausoleum of the Samanid dynasty and more than 100 architectural monuments.

In the vicinity of Bukhara, it is worth visiting the mausoleum of Baha ad-Din 16th century, where the head of the dervish order of the Nakshbandis is buried, the Chor-Bakr necropolis, which is a whole city with streets, courtyards, gates, a mosque and madrasah, among which you can see many burial places of sheikhs from the family of the Dzhuybar seyids, and the Varakhsha settlement , where before coming to The region of the Arabs was the residence of Bukhara-Khudats, who ruled Bukhara. About 150 km north of Bukhara, the sands of the Kyzylkum desert begin. Here, within the limits of the Turkestan Range, the tract Sarmyshsay is located. occupying a mountain gorge with a river. Here, on an area of ​​approximately 20 square meters. km, you can see the remains of ancient settlements, grave hills, crypts and rock paintings (about 4000 fragments of rock art in total), dating back to the Stone Age.

In the western part of Uzbekistan lies the Republic of Karakalpakstan. Its territory is occupied by the northwestern part of the Kyzylkum desert (about 80% of the total area of the republic) and the southeastern part of the Ustyurt plateau. Here is the southern part of the Aral Sea and the vast delta of the Amudarya River. Back in the 7th-6th centuries BC. the powerful state of Khorezm was formed on the territory of Karakalpakstan. One of the main attractions of the republic is the ancient city of Khiva. – once the largest city of the state of Khorezm. The city was one of the main centers of the Great Silk Road. In the 16th century, after the bed of the Amu Darya River shifted and destroyed the former capital of Khorezm – Gurandzh (now Urgench), Khiva became the capital of the Khiva Khanate and the capital of the Timurid dynasty. The inner city of Khiva is known to the whole world- Itchan-Kala, which is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Fortified walls 2 km long, up to 10 m high and up to 8 m thick, ancient gates, percussion towers towering above them and numerous mosques, madrasahs and minarets, decorated with Khiva wood carvings and majolica cladding, have been preserved here. Most of the architectural monuments of Ichan-Kala were built in the first half of the 19th century. Itchan-Kala is surrounded by an outer city – Dishan-Kala. Unfortunately, only small fragments of walls and gates have survived from this part of Khiva.

To the east of Khiva, on the banks of the Amu Darya River, there are the Badai-Tugai reserve and the Kyzylkum reserve, in which tugai forests, floodplain meadows and a section of the Kyzylkum desert are protected.

Among tourists, trips along the sands and dunes of the Kyzylkum desert are very popular, especially camel trips . During the excursions, you will be able to get acquainted with the nature of the desert and visit the yurts of desert nomads, where they will cook local dishes and tell you about the culture of nomadic tribes.

In the northern part of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, on the border with Kazakhstan, there is the infamous Aral Sea-Lake.. Until 1960, it was the fourth largest lake in the world, its area was about 68 thousand square meters. km. In subsequent years, as a result of the intensive use of the waters of the rivers flowing into it for irrigation, the lake began to shallow, and the salts carried from the exposed bottom caused the destruction of the soil. Nowadays, the lake has split into two reservoirs: the Small and Big Aral, the total area of ​​which does not exceed 20 thousand square meters. km. The drying process has become irreversible, but scientists are still trying to solve this problem. You can estimate the scale of this ecological catastrophe by visiting the city of Muynak. Previously, Muynak was one of the two main fishing ports of the Aral Sea, and now it lies 40 km south of the coastline. The city is surrounded by rusty ships that got stuck in the sands after the waters of the Aral moved to the north.

What to See in Uzbekistan