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Sarmysh is a gallery of rock paintings in the open air. The Sarmysh gorge situated on the southern slopes of the Karatau range, 40 km northeast of the administrative centre Navoi, is a unique natural, historical and tourist object. The black basalt walls of the gorge polished by winds contain over 4,000 petroglyphs (ancient images on rock). There cannot be found many places on the earth with such concentration of ancient drawings on a limited area. The images found on the rocks of the Sarmysh gorge are of different style and technique. Some of the petroglyphs were drawn with ochre grou..
The Aral Sea is a once-large saltwater lake in Central Asia occupying the northwest end of Uzbekistan and a part of southeast Kazakhstan. Before the mid-60s of the 20th century the Aral Sea was the world’s fourth largest lake: its area was 68,000 km2, it was 426 km long, 284 km wide and its greatest depth was 68 m. Numerous vessels used to plough the sea one day. Most of them were fishing boats; however, some were military ships belonging to the Amudarya flotilla. Several large ports and fish factories were situated near the sea. The settlements on the shore were buried deep in t..
Marghilan city is a small satellite of Ferghana, its population is more than 200 thousand people, it is located on the mountain plain at the northern piedmont of Alay ridge in Marghilansay valley in 12 kilometers from Ferghana city. As many other cities of Ferghana valley, Marghilan had appeared at the early stage of organizations the silk caravan route over 2000 years ago and later it developed as a trade - craft town. The city is noted in Babur-name (“The notes”, “Memoirs” of Mukhammad Babur written in 20s years XVI century) among eight big cities of Ferghana valley. So Babur wrote about t..
Andizhan is a major Uzbek city in the southeastern part of the Fergana Valley, 350 km from Tashkent and 50 km from the Kyrgyz city of Osh. Andizhan sprang up in the early centuries AD as an important point on the Great Silk Road. According to the travel notes of Arab historian Ibn Khaukal, in the 10th century the site of present-day Andizhan was occupied by a relatively large settlement of traders and craftsmen, who also were good at agriculture. Andukan (Andizhan) is known to have been an economically developed city in the Timurid period, which even minted its coins at that time. After..
Rishtan is a small town, buried in verdure, it is located in the east of the Republic of Uzbekistan, in 270 km from Tashkent and in 50 km from Ferghana. Rishtan is an administrative center of Rishtan district of Ferghana valley, with the population more than 50 thousand people. Rishtan is one of the most ancient cities of Ferghana valley on the Great Silk Road. The first records of Rishtan date from IX century. Since earliest times, it is famous as the biggest center of manufacture the unique glazed ceramic in Central Asia. Rishtan ceramic is notable for the gorgeousness of décor, where blue..
Namangan is a large city in the northern part of the Fergana Valley, 300 km from Tashkent, and the administrative centre of Namangan province. Namangan with a population of about 500,000 people ranks as the third largest city in Uzbekistan after Tashkent and Samarkand. The city's name translates from Uzbek as ‘salt mine.’ For the first time the city was mentioned in Babur’s memoirs (Baburnama); however, according to archaeological data, the first settlement sprang up on the site in the 1st century BC. By the 17th century the village had grown into a city, which soon became the administrativ..
Kokand is a small but very interesting and important city with a long history, situated in the famous Fergana Valley 250 km east of the capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent. Like many other towns and cities in the Fergana Valley, Kokand formerly known as Khovakand and Kavakend sprang up in a densely populated oasis on an ancient caravan route, which, according to 10th-century sources, ran through all major settlements in the valley. Local people were mostly engaged in crafts, agriculture and serving and guarding caravans. In the 13th century the Mongols destroyed the city. According to written so..
The principal holidays in Uzbekistan today are Navruz and the Independence Day. The Independence Day is celebrated on 1 September since 1991, when Uzbekistan gained the status of an independent country. This day is distinguished by large numbers of people walking in the streets of every town and village, listening to folk bands and partaking of the holiday feast. The tradition of celebrating Navruz has come from the Zoroastrian times. This day is celebrated on 21 March and marks the beginning of a new year. On this occasion people are dressed in the best clothes and cook the..
The real sensation in speleological discoveries started in Uzbekistan in the beginning of 70-s. As a result of such discoveries more than 600 caves were detected, among them the deepest abyss of the continent of Asia: Boy-Bulok and Kievskaya, the 16 km long labyrinth of the Festivalnaya-Ledopadnaya cave system. It is worth considering these natural masterpieces in more detail. It is not known how many caves are within the territory of Uzbekistan, but they are all waiting to be explored by speleologists and ready to open their secrets. ..
Nukus is the capital of Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic within Uzbekistan, which is situated in the north-west of the country, on the right bank of the Amudarya, Central Asia's largest and longest river. The city borders on the Kyzylkum Desert in the south and east, the Amudarya River delta lies north of Nukus and the lifeless Ustyurt Plateau stretches to the west of the capital of Karakalpakstan. The city’s area is 200 km2. The climate is continental, with long and dry summer, cold winter and little precipitation. The name Nukus derives from the ancient Karakalpak clan Nukis, so..
The Kitab National Reserve is situated in Kitab district, Kashkadarya province, Uzbekistan, and is located on the southwestern spurs of the Zeravshan Range, in the Kashkadarya river basin (on the left bank of the Jindydarya river). The Kitab Reserve is the only one in Uzbekistan that is administered by the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Geology and Mineral Resources. This reserve was organised with the special purpose of preserving unique stratigraphic successions and the fossil forms of marine animals and plants they contain. The Palaeozoic strata in the territory ..
When in Samarkand, be sure to visit an original workshop specialising in the manual production of paper using a revived medieval technology. Historical background. According to a number of reliable sources, Samarkand was the first place in Central Asia and the Middle East where paper was made manually with the help of a watermill. The production technology had been adopted from China. Later, the Arabs carried it westwards: by the 11th century it reached the Middle East, in the 12th century it came to Spain and then spread across Europe. The paper manufactured in China and Samarkand s..
The village of Sentab is situated on the southern slopes of the Nurata Range close to the Nurata State Reserve, Navoi province. Since the 5th century the area has been known as a goldfield. Local people continue to follow ancient traditions and lifestyle. The village is the only one in the region where you can come across houses built of flat stones on the edges of steep walls. The Sentabsay, a little stream running along the gorge and cutting the village into two parts, is responsible for the wonderful microclimate permeating this cosy place on the border between mountains and a..
Wine sampling at the Khovrenko Winery in Samarkand, the oldest wine factory in Central Asia, will be a nice addition to your city tour programme. The tasting room is organised in a historical building of the late 19th century, the house of Russian merchant Filatov who founded the first winery in Uzbekistan as far back as 1868. Filatov used local sweet varieties of grapes and introduced new ones he had brought from Crimea and some other parts of Europe. Four years later the various types of 'Samarkand grape wine from Filatov's gardens' won gold and silver medals in international c..
There are many tourists who wish to learn more about the life of local people. The most suitable for that purpose are the mountain villages of Asraf, Ukhum, Khayat, Majrum and Sentab situated on the southern slopes of the Nurata Range, near administrative centre Farish. Each of these villages is hidden in a gorge and located 5 to 8 km from the Jizzah - Nurata road. Tourists like to wander about the villages’ picturesque neighbourhoods, admiring the local nature and watching and listening birds. One of the visitors’ favourite activities is to walk on mountain paths from one village ..
The Khakim at-Termezi Mausoleum is a cultic and memorial complex which formed around the grave of 9th-century theologian Khakim at-Termezi, a holy person regarded as a patron of the city of Termez. The complex is situated in the village of Sherabad 60 km north of Termez. Khakim at-Termezi is the author of numerous mystic and philosophical treatises and the founder of the Khakimi dervish order, one of the twelve best known mystic orders. In the 10th century the grave was enclosed in a mausoleum decorated with fine fretwork in ganch, which featured bright plant and epigraphic or..
The Safari yurt camp is situated 5 km from the western shore of the Aydar Lake, near the village of Dongelek lost in sands in the very heart of the Kyzylkum desert, 60 km from administrative centre Nurata. Today it is one of Uzbekistan’s largest and most comfortable yurt camps. There are 20 ceremonial Kazakh yurts that comprise the camp’s permanent dwellings, with 6 other yurts erected in case of necessity. The yurts are richly decorated with carpets and sherdaks made manually by local artisans. The colourful ornamental patterns combined with original illumination tend to create festive..
Fayaz-Tepa, a complex of Buddhist temples. The Fayaz-Tepa complex was discovered by L. I. Albaum in 1963, when the archaeologist was excavating a site near the Kara-tepe Buddhist temple in the centre of Old Termez. This complex features a wide diversity of paintings and numerous sculptures in a good state of preservation. When observed from above, the temple complex has the form of a series of U-shaped corridors, cells and sanctuaries. There is a free-standing stupa of great scientific interest. Fayaz-Tepa is one of the few Buddhist cultic monuments in Central Asia that featur..
Kara-tepe is a 1st-4th-century Buddhist monastic complex built on three hills in the northwestern part of Termez. The complex includes a few temples and monasteries constructed in the early 2nd century AD. Kara-tepe features original architecture, which consists of a combination of caves in sandstone and external structures built of pakhsa (rammed earth) and mud bricks. The internal parts of the temples were decorated with themed drawings, ornamental patterns on plaster and loess and clay sculptures. Marble-like limestone and fretted gypsum were widely used in the ornamentation ..
The Museum of Archaeology was founded on 24 October 2001 in honour of the 2500th anniversary of the city of Termez, following a decree from President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov. Featuring a diverse and unique collection, the museum has no rivals among its kinds in either Uzbekistan or other Central Asian countries. The internal space consists of 10 sections, each devoted to a certain theme. The museum’s entrance hall contains original stone and gypsum statues, large ceramic vessels, a stone pool and a map of Surkhandarya province with 20 archaeological monuments from different historical pe..
The Jarkurgan Minaret commissioned by Sultan Sanjar and constructed by architect Ali ibn Muhammad Serakhsi in 1109, is one of Uzbekistan’s oldest minarets. The monument is located in the village of Minor, 7 km from the town of Jarkurgan and 40 km from Termez. The minaret has an original form and initially had two tiers, of which only one has remained to our days. The tower is embraced by a continuous circle of 16 semi-columns, whose brickwork forms the ‘herringbone’ pattern. The base of the minaret is covered with extracts from the Koran, which, however, had not been finish..
The Sultan-Saodat memorial and cultic complex (10th-18th centuries) is the family grave of the Seyids, the ruling dynasty of Termez. The complex consists of a series of mausoleums, mosques and khanqahs, all built of baked bricks. The buildings which were being constructed for 6-7 centuries are grouped around a court 70 m long. The Sultan-Saodat complex occupies an area of about 4 ha and comprises 143 structures. The most interesting structure is an 11th-century mausoleum in the northernmost part of the complex. This is the tomb of Khasan al Emir, the founder of the Seyid dynasty of Ter..
The Zurmala Tower rising to the northeast of the Termez fortification walls of the Kushan period is one of the Buddhist monuments of ancient Termez. Probably, once there was a complex of Buddhist constructions in the area, but by the Middle Ages this territory had been turned into agricultural fields. The only construction that has survived the time span of many centuries, though lost all its decoration, is a huge stupa – the complex’s central structure. By now it has lost its form completely, but, according to excavated data, the structure consisted of a rectangular pedestal, on which ..
Mizdahkan (Mizdahan, Mizdakhan) is a major architectural and cultic complex and one of Karakalpakstan’s most interesting tourist objects. Mizdahkan is situated about 20 km from Nukus, the capital of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, stretching along the road to Kunya-Urgench. The complex was founded over 2 thousand years ago. Situated on three high hills, it currently ranks as the oldest cemetery in Uzbekistan. However, it is not a cemetery in the usual sense – a place where mortal humans find their last refuge. The site is full of mysteries and mysticism and to this day remains a place of pil..
Kyrk-Kys (‘forty girls’) is an interesting 9th-11th-century construction. According to medieval historians, this feudal palace and castle was the country residence of the ruler of Termez. History contains no references to the origin of the mansion's name. We do not know, whether a squad of 40 girls guarded the castle or the castle’s harem consisted of 40 concubines. In our days only fragments of the palace’s ruins remain to testify to the high level of craftsmanship possessed by its builders. This was a square (54 x 54 m) two-storey building with robust towers in the corners. The comp..
The Gulkam Canyon is located in the Ugam-Chatkal National Natural Park, near the Chimgan ski resort highly popular among Tashkenters and the visitors of the Uzbek capital. Its nearness to Tashkent (85 km from the city) would take you no more than a couple of hours to move from the bustle of a metropolis to the quietude and cosiness of high mountains. On the bottom of the canyon runs a little stream, the Gulkam, which forced its way through the mountains to the Charvak Reservoir. The canyon extends for many kilometres, narrowing to a width of 5-6 m in some places or widening to a broad v..
Fergana is a major city in the Fergana Valley in the east of Uzbekistan and the administrative centre of Fergana province with a population of over 300 000 people. The city was founded in 1876 by Russian general Skobelev as an important strategic point and made a regional military and administrative centre. Named initially Novy Margilan (New Margilan) after a small old town situated in the neighbourhood, it was renamed into Skobelev in 1907 and given its present name, Fergana, in 1924. In the Soviet years and during the period of Uzbekistan’s independence the city has evolved into one of th..
Currently the Abulkasym madrasah houses the Khurnamad association for craftsmen also known as the Centre for Traditional Applied Arts. There you can watch painters, jewellers, wood engravers and miniaturists at work, take a lesson of craftsmanship from them and buy one of their beautiful items that would ever since remind you of Uzbekistan. ..
The Opera and Ballet Theatre is one of the most interesting tourist attractions in Tashkent. The theatre is located in the very heart of the city, next to the Central Department Store and Tashkent’s oldest hotel, in a historical building with an original design. The theatre’s history began in the 1920s, when M. Kari-Yakubov, a theatrical art enthusiast, organised an ensemble of professional musicians and dancers in Tashkent, which became the core of the State Uzbek Musical Theatre founded in November 1929. In 1939 the theatre staged its first opera Buran by Uzbek composer Ashrafi. After th..
The Kukeldash madrasah is Tashkent’s oldest madrasah, which is well preserved and still functioning. It was constructed in the 1560s by Dervishkhan, the vizier (minister) of Tashkent governor Barakkhan also known as ‘kukeldash,’ which translates as ‘a foster brother.’ The Kukeldash madrasah is situated on the top of a high hill near the Chorsu Square, in the old, historical part of the city. The Kukeldash madrasah’s design is typical of the Islamic architecture. The main façade of the building features a high arched portal (peshtak) 20 m high, which is decorated with majolica, two-tier..
The Alisher Navoi National Park is one of Uzbekistan’s largest urban parks. It was founded by the members of the Komsomol organisation from Tashkent in 1932. The park, which in the Soviet period was named Komsomolsky, was constructed on the site of the quarry of an old brick factory by volunteers. Currently, it bears the name of great medieval enlightener Alisher Navoi. The area of the park's land is 65 ha, while its lake and network of canals make up a total of 9 ha. The Alisher Navoi Park is located in Almazar Street, one of Tashkent’s key arteries. The arch of the main entrance faces..
Tourists will hardly get bored in the capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent. A wide range of ancient and modern architectural monuments, museums, exhibitions, parks, restaurants and night clubs – all this will ensure pleasant and wholesome recreation. However, the area outside the city also abounds in attractions, places of interest, picturesque mountain villages, ski and health resorts and marvelous natural landscapes. Ski resorts Beldersay, Chimgan and Yangiabad are wonderful places for those who like skiing and outdoor activities, worth visiting in any season. Charvak is a high-a..
The palace of Grand Duke Nicholas Konstantinovich Romanov, the grandson of Russia’s Emperor Nicholas I, who, exiled by his royal parents to Tashkent in 1877, stayed there until his death in 1918, is, perhaps, the most romantic building in the Uzbek capital. The palace, which is still in a perfect state of preservation, is situated in the very heart of the city, next to the Square of Independence and close to Tashkent’s Broadway and the Amir Timur Square. The palace in the art nouveau style, which was highly popular at the time, was designed by architects V. S. Heinzelman and A. L. Benoi..
Khast-Imam (Khazrati Imam), a cultic architectural complex and the religious heart of Tashkent, is located in the old part of the city amidst ancient wattle-and-daub houses. The complex formed around the grave of outstanding Muslim scholar Khazrati Imam (full name Abu Bakr Muhammad Kaffal Shashi), who was one of Tashkent’s first imams. Khazret Imam was born in 903, in Tashkent, which at that time had the name of Madina ash Shash, into the family of a skilled kaffal (craftsman specialising in making sophisticated door locks). The boy was named so after the first caliph and the Prophet’s..
The centre for pilaf in Tashkent (‘Osh Markazi’) can be mentioned among the city’s most unusual attractions. No doubt, every tourist would think it essential to visit the place and taste the most delicious pilaf in the Uzbek capital. Actually, there are quite a few places in Tashkent offering pilaf of a similar quality, but you can hardly find one comparable to the pilaf centre close to the Tashkent television tower in terms of cooking scale. The centre’s story begins in the early 1990s. The establishment was organised in the small yard of an old house in Badamzar Street. In time, the..
Gur-Emir (translates as ‘the grave of the emir’) is the place where Tamerlane is buried together with his sons and grandsons. Initially, the mausoleum was built for Muhammed Sultan, Tamerlane’s grandson, who died young in 1403, during a military campaign. Shocked by the death of his favourite grandson whom he regarded as his heir, Tamerlane ordered to build a mausoleum in the territory of the ensemble of Muhammed Sultan. Muhammad Sultan was the son of Tamerlane’s eldest son, Jehangir, and often substituted his grandfather on the throne in Tamerlane"s absence. The mausoleum is a one..
The observatory constructed by Ulugh Beg on one of the hills near Samarkand in 1428-1429 occupies a special place among the city’s historical monuments. According to Babur (Timurid ruler, founder of the Mogul Empire in India), who had personally seen the observatory, it was a three-storeyed round building, 30 m high and 46 m across, decorated with beautiful ornamental tiles. The main hall contained a huge instrument for observing the Sun, the Moon and other celestial objects. The observatory was a unique construction for its time. A gigantic arc for measuring angles, 63 m long an..
The Aydarkul Lake with its more than 3,000 km2 water surface is the largest fresh water lake in Uzbekistan. The lake is manmade and is regarded as a “geographical wonder” for it has originally appeared as a result of filling up the enormous natural depression with excess water from Chardara reservoir during the disastrous high water in Syrdariya river in 1969. Today there live and migrate variety of wildlife - birds, fish and mammals. ..
The Samanids mausoleum (9th-10th century) is the tomb of the Samanid dynasty, which used to rule Bukhara in the Middle Ages. A unique sample of the early medieval architecture, the mausoleum is one of the oldest monuments in Bukhara and Central Asia that have reached our days in a good state of preservation. Specialists hold the construction in high esteem as one of the Central Asian masterpieces and a true gem in the world’s architecture. The mausoleum was constructed between 892 and 943 by the order of Persian ruler Ismail Samani, the founder of the huge Samanid Empire, which covered the..
Chor-Minor (the name translates from Perisan as ‘four minarets’) is the most original and interesting construction in Bukhara situated deep inside an ancient residential quarter (mahalla) ten minutes on foot from Labi Khauz. Chor-Minor consists of an entrance portal (chartak) of an unusual shape with a dome and four low towers imitating minarets, whose domes were once decorated with blue tiles and drums covered with mosaics of bricks against a terracotta background (single blue and white slabs). The minarets’ trunks are constructed of polished bricks. The portal is the only element that ha..
The Independence Square (originally laid out in the second half of the 19th century as Cathedral Square, then after Great October Revolution renamed into Lenin Square) lies in the town’s centre. It is there where the Monument of Independence and the Arc of Good Hopes and Good Wishes symbolizing good will of independent Uzbekistan to develop itself in line with the rest of progressive humankind are located. It is there in the Square where country’s main holiday – Independence Day (1st September) is celebrated. The Square in encircled by office buildings: Cabinet of Ministers, Senate (up..
For travelling in Uzbekistan foreign tourists need to have a tourist visa. The visa can be obtained with the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan at the country of your permanent residence or neighbouring country. Citizens of following counrties can get their visas from nearby Uzbek Embassy without prior obtaining visa support from Uzbek travel agency: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, Spain and Switzerland. Tourists from other countries should apply for visas to the Uzbek Embassy subject to invitation letter (visa support) arranged by any tour operator of Uzbekist..
Ugam-Chatkal is the state national wild nature park, created in 1992 by reorganization of Chatkal biosphere reserve. It is located at Chatkal ridges of Western Tien-Shan, encompassing Akhangaran, Brichmulla and Chirchik lumber reserves, and has a total area of 668350 hectares, which makes it the largest nature protection complex in Uzbekistan. The National park was created to protect Tien-Shan highland woods and unique ecosystem, inhabited by multiple rare and endangered species of animals and plants. Its territory is a scene of permanent intensive research work on ecology of rare and endang..
The deepest cave of the continent of Asia Boy-Bulok (1415 m) is situated in Surkhandarja region, 60 kilometers from Baysun regional center, in Chul-Bair mountain range (part of Surhantau mountain range). The inhabitants discovered the entrance into this cave a long time ago, as the whole year round a small stream flows out from it, but nobody dared to go into for a long time, especially after the event when one of the town inhabitants, a the teacher named Mustafa, vanished in the cave. Only after 20 years were his remains taken out of the cave by speleologists from Ekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk)...
Artistic crafts occupy an important place in the Uzbekistan cultural heritage. The secrets of craftsmanship have always been passed from generation to generation, while ancient decorative patterns have been carefully preserved by artisans. The various artistic crafts have been formed around ancient artistic schools. The combination of the ancient and the contemporary in architecture, art and traditions is what makes Uzbekistan a real pearl of Central Asia. Artistic ceramics is one of the most interesting types of applied arts of Uzbekistan. Items made by masters from Rishtan (Ferga..
Artistic ceramics is one of the most ancient and interesting types of applied arts in Uzbekistan. The earliest ceramic items discovered by archaeologists in the territory of the country date back to very ancient times. The articles found include lagans (large plates), hemispherical pialas and kosas (bowls), vases, khums (large jugs), and jugs of various dimensions – from large to the tiniest, very delicate and convenient at the same time. Ceramic articles have always been in high demand in the region. Many of those items produced today in Uzbekistan are distinguished by high level of perfo..
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