Uzbekistan is a nation that will delight the heart of any
adventurous traveller with its teeming bazaars and spectacular
architecture. This nation boasts some of the finest architectural
jewels among the Silk Road countries, featuring intricate Islamic
tile work, turquoise domes, minarets and preserved relics from the
time when Central Asia was a centre of empire and learning.
Macedonians, Russians, Turks and Arabs have all left their
indelible marks throughout the country with countless dazzling
monuments to power, strength, wealth and piety.
The capital, Tashkent, is Central Asia's hub and bubbles over
with eccentricity and effervescence. The city whose name means
"stone fortress" is a sprawling arrangement of tree-lined
boulevards, pretty parks and funky architecture. The Amir Timur
Maydoni is a leafy square where you can sit back and watch the
world go by.
Samarkand is synonymous with the Silk Road, and with its
beautiful domes, larger than life monuments of Timur, technicolour
bazaars and its rich history. You cannot fail to be seduced. The
Bibi Khanum Mosque commemorates Timur's wife and is interesting in
that an abundance of different types of tiles were used in its
Bukhara, like Samarkand provides the visitor with great
sightseeing opportunities within a compact area. This city was once
the centre of a powerful khanate and you can still see many of the
buildings where the emirs and nobles lived, ruled, worshiped and
were buried. The main fortress, the Ark, is an imposing monument
and the square in front of it was once the site of an infamous
slave market. The Bolo Hauz Mosque reflects the magical beauty of
Bukhara and symbolises the mystery and romance that encapsulates
this special city.
Five hundred miles across the desert from Tashkent, lies Khiva,
a well preserved and fascinating city whose mosques, madrassas,
caravanserais and palaces of former Khorezm Lords render a lasting
impression. The climbing of any of the minarets is a must at sunset
or sunrise where the views and colours are incredible. The Khodja
Minaret is Khiva's highest where you climb 188 steps for the fine
views of Karanum Desert's red sand. The madrassa holds Khiva's best
museum of Khoresm handicrafts through the ages including fine wood
carving, Uzbek carpets, stone carved with Arabic script and
jewellery. Uzbekistan despite a checkered history remains an
optimistic nation with good spirited people who allow you to revel
in this inspiring and varied nation.