The Republic of Uzbekistan
In the north-western part of Asia there is one of the oldest states. It is Uzbekistan, a country with the rich history. Its lands have seen numerous caravans with carpets, porcelain, silk, precious stones and spices, as the Great Silk Road led across Uzbekistan, connecting China, Iraq, Iran, India and countries of the Mediterranean and the East. That’s why many cultures have been interwoven here, preserving high minarets, ancient mosques, grandiose madrassahs, and luxurious palaces. The colour of oriental bazaars, the hospitality and friendliness of local people, customs and traditions have been following here since ancient times attract a lot of tourists.
Uzbekistan is a remarkably beautiful country gifted with rich resources. Diversity of nature is impressive: hot sands of the Kyzyl Kum, one of the largest deserts in the world, as well as the mountain ranges Tien Shan and Pamir-Alai. The nature ranges from deserts and steppes to beautiful oasis with rice, grapes, figs and cotton. Thousands of rivers flow down from the mountains and merge into the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya, major rivers of Central Asia.
Such variety of Uzbekistan’s natural landscapes creates perfect conditions for an interesting vacation. Popular tourist destinations are nature reserves and national parks in the eastern part of the country. You are well advised to visit [[Ugam-Chatkal National Park]Угам-Чаткальский парк], the largest protected area with rare species of flora and fauna. The landscapes range from snowy mountains to green meadows and dense forests. [[Chatkal Biosphere Reserve]Чаткальский биосферный заповедник] attracts tourists with its winding paths and primitive cave paintings. These tours can be booked in the city of Gasalkent, 60 kilometres from Tashkent. [[Nurata Reserve]Нуратинский заповедник] is located in the mixed area of mountains and a desert. Here you can see fragments of petroglyphs. In addition, Nurata Reserve offers you to make a horse, foot or boat trip. The western part of the Pamir-Alai Mountains is occupied by [[Zaamin National Park]Зааминский национальный парк] and [[Zaamin Reserve]Зааминский заповедник]. Here you can enjoy beautiful mountain scenery while climbing, skiing or hiking.
One of the most popular tourist activities in this country is camel safari. It will be a great opportunity for you to see the Kyzyl Kum Desert with its ancient caravan routes, endless expanses, dunes, takyrs and salt lakes, as well as to learn the culture of nomadic tribes, their trades, traditions and customs. The best time to go on camel safari is in mid-March – early June and in late August – early October.
Rafting is quite popular in Uzbekistan, as it is a mountainous country with rapid rivers in highlands. You are advised to go rafting on tributaries of the Syr Darya not far from Tashkent – the Angren, Pskem, Ugam and Chatkal rivers. The best time for rafting is in September and October. The rivers Ugam and Angren are great for beginners, and those to be experienced can try to conquer the Oygaing, Chatkal and Pskem rivers.
In the Chimgan Mountains, modern and highly developed ski resort [[Chimgan]Чимган] for professionals and beginners has been created. The highest slope is 1980 meters high. In addition, you can do snowboarding, free-ride or ice skating, sledding, as well as take a walk on a snowmobile. Ski seasonruns from December to March. [[Beldersay]Бельдерсай] winter resort is popular as well. You will notice steep slopes here and their height is up to 2880 meters, so the resort is intended for more experienced snowboarders.
In Uzbekistan you can relax and improve your health at spa and mountain resorts, such as Zaamin and [[Aktash]Акташ]. Not far from Namangan and Termez, resorts with mineral water springs and healing mud are located.
Many famous landmarks are located on the territory of Uzbekistan along the legendary Silk Road. This route lies through ancient cities of the country, which are situated in the Fergana Valley – Samarkand, Shahrisabz, Khiva, Bukhara, Tashkent, Margilan, Kokand and Andijan. Travelling through these cities, you can see ruins of fortifications, ancient mosques, madrassahs, minarets, tombs and palaces, ruins of caravanserais reminding of the ancient Islamic customs. Each of these cities used to be a capital of a great kingdom, once existed on the territory of modern Uzbekistan. For example, Samarkand was the most beautiful, from the architectural point of view, capital of the Amir Temur Empire, Bukhara used to be the capital at the height of the Samanid Dynasty, and the main city of the Khiva Khanate was Khiva. Today, the capital of Uzbekistan is Tashkent.
Favourable weather, much sunlight and fertile lands of Uzbekistan have favoured the development of wine industry on its territory. Uzbekistan has gained its fame due to excellent dessert wines filled with hot Asian sun. Come to this country and sample this unrivalled drink.
The country is also famous for the production of silk satin with colourful patterns. You’re well advised to visit the city of Fergana. It is the largest city in the Fergana Valley with poplars and plane trees growing along streets. This valley has been known for the production of translucent silk scarves. Today, Uzbekistan is also famous for the gold embroidery, its truly exquisite trade. Images of people dressed in gold embroidery clothes painted on the walls of palaces, that were located on the territory of ancient sites [[Afrasiyab]Афрасиаба] and [[Varahsha]Варахша] C6th-8th, prove that this trade has been developed since ancient times. The art of gold embroidery flourished in the 14th century during the reign of Tamerlane. Today, eastern markets of Uzbekistan offer its visitors to buy real masterpieces: prayer rugs, sjuzane (embroidered wall carpet), gowns, and skullcaps.
Traditions of the Uzbek people and their long history are also expressed in the national cuisine. Countries historically associated with the Great Silk Road have influenced the development of the Uzbek cuisine. Today, the Uzbek cuisine uses unique food technologies for various dishes, among which pilaf is considered to be the main one. It is made of rice, carrots, onion, boiled and roasted meat. In order to give a special flavour, they add barberries, raisins, and fruit. The Uzbeks are famous for excellent skills in making the tastiest pilaf in Central Asia.
One of the unusual Uzbek snacks is kazy made of horse meat. For centuries, the Uzbeks have baked bread in tandoor. In this cylindrical clay oven, bread turns crisp and delicious. There are two types of Uzbek bread: usual flat cake called obi-non and patyr, holiday bread. Uzbekistan's most popular soups are mastava and shurpa. Shashlyk and somsa are patties of puff pastry. They are very famous dishes of the Uzbek cuisine.
The Uzbeks are well known for their hospitality – at their home you’ll be offered to enjoy fragrant green tea served with fresh bread baked in a tandoor according to old traditions. The tea ceremony is quite important there. Teas is poured into small drinking bowls and then poured back into teapot. It is believed that tea reveals its taste and aroma this way. Tea is served first for guest, and then for members of the family.
Administrative division — Uzbekistan
Tashkent Population: 2220700
- Karakalpakstan Population: 1571800
- Andijan Population: 2499900
- Bukhara Population: 1505800
- Fergana Population: 3255000
- Jizzakh Population: 910500
- Namangan Population: 2298000
- Navoiy Population: 767500
- Qashqadaryo Population: 2589000
- Samarqand Population: 2800000
- Sirdaryo Population: 648100
- Surxondaryo Population: 2052000
- Tashkent Population: 2568
- Xorazm Population: 1520000