Reclusive, and hidden away from the travel spotlight, Uzbekistan has finally opened its doors to the world! The land of rich history and culture, and the focal point of ancient Silk Road – travel back in time as you step foot in this impressive country. Right from its well-planned ancient cities to marvelous, staggering mosques and mausoleums, to its never-seen-before landscapes – Uzbekistan leaves a lasting impression! Not giving this hidden gem of Central Asia its due recognition would be highly unfair! (Which is why this country finds its way into Holidayme’s list of 13 must-visit destinations in 2019.) Completely safe, tourist-friendly, and new, relaxed visa policies are the perfect reasons to travel to this timeless country.
If you want to experience vast, empty spaces with buildings in every shade of blue – a trip to Uzbekistan in 2019 should be on your bucket list. Here are a few good reasons to visit Uzbekistan, an unexplored true-blue destination.
6 reasons to travel to Uzbekistan
1. Spellbinding ancient cities
There is no dearth of ‘wow’ moments in the ancient cities of Uzbekistan. At each step, you will stop and marvel at the architecture, the intricate tile work, and the magnanimity of the buildings. Ceramics donning every possible shade of blue, from cobalt to cyan, adorn the grand monuments of this country – making it a true-blue destination! One of the oldest cities of Central Asia and the current capital, Tashkent is a living testament of Uzbekistan’s rich history and culture. Nearly 2000 years old, this city showcases the best of its past and the well-laid future. Khiva, Bukhara, and Samarkand, these splendid cities have played host to many traders and businessmen enroute the iconic Silk Road, and have been able to maintain their old-world charm. The Registan Square and Gur-e-Amir mausoleum in Samarkand, Po-i-Kalyan Mosque of Bukhara, and Ichan-Kala city of Khiva are the biggest showstoppers of Uzbekistan. It’s commendable to see that each monument is well-preserved and restored to their former glory.
2. A glimpse of the Russian era
One can’t help but notice the Russian architectural influence in the major historical buildings of Uzbekistan. A prominent structure standing tall to narrate the tales is the iconic, Hotel Uzbekistan. This massive building has played host to many eminent personalities of the bygone era. The State Museum of History of Uzbekistan in Tashkent which was once the Lenin Museum, is another masterpiece of the Soviet rule.
The Soviet influence is evident in the religious buildings as well. Built in 1866, the chapel of Saint George the Victorious in Tashkent might be in a dilapidated state, but it continues to pay homage to the soldiers who died at war. The Catholic Church and the Evangelic-Lutheran Church in Tashkent, and St. Georgiy the Victorious Temple in Samarkand, are some of the exemplary works that speak volumes of the Soviet legacy.
3. Diverse and unique landscape
The landscape of Uzbekistan is unique and diverse. There are mountains, deserts, canyons, waterfalls, rivers, caves – all packed in one. Head to Chimgan to witness emerald greenery, soak in some picturesque views, breathe the clean mountain air, and watch the tulips in their full bloom. Chimgan is also home to the Gulkam Canyon and famous ski resorts. If your eyes are tired of deserts and mountains, the stunning Lake Ajdarkul will provide a welcome respite. The Ugam-Chatkal National Park makes for a great outdoors destination, full of adventure activities. The Chatkal Valley is the biggest draw for tourists and locals alike, and the artificial Charvak lake being one of its major attractions.
4. A shopping paradise
You are in for an overwhelming experience in the local bazaars of Uzbekistan. These markets serve as the best place to buy souvenirs and to bargain to your heart’s content. Carpets are the most prized souvenirs to carry back home from these Uzbekistan bazaars. Carpet weaving is not just a process in Uzbekistan, but an art! The intricate work on the carpets and rugs is truly worth every penny you spend. Silk cloth, handmade ceramics, lacquer paintings, and miniaturist paintings are other great items to pick up for your family and friends. Uzbek knife, herbs and spices, and dry fruits as souvenirs are also a big hit among many travelers.
5. Culture galore
Having been under the rule of several empires, the Macedonian, the Arab, the Persian, and the Mongol, and later, the Soviet regime – Uzbekistan is home to many cultures. From traditions to architecture, you can catch a glimpse of each ruling empire in the culture and heritage of Uzbekistan. The people of Uzbekistan are quite friendly and are ready for small talk all the time, so be courteous!
6. A celebration of taste
Food is an integral part of any culture, and Uzbek food is no different! The meals served mainly consist of meat, hence, vegetarians might have some problem while visiting this country. Every meal begins with sweets and fruits, moving on to vegetables and salads, then soups, and the main dishes coming up in the end. Plov, shurpa, manti, lagman, shashlik, and samsa are few of the popular dishes that you must savour on your trip to Uzbekistan.