Uzbekistan may not be the first thing that comes into mind, as you plan a vacation in Asia. For years, the country was barely on the map and radar of many avid travelers and adventure seekers. But lately, this Central Asian country has been grabbing the attention of many travelers, specifically the cultural vultures and history buffs. As a matter of fact, the country has experienced a massive growth in their tourism industry for the past two years.
Uzbekistan is indeed unlike any other country in the entire Central Asian region. A fabled and exotic destination, this country thrives in offering a diverse medley of culture and history, with a spellbinding display of museums, monuments, artifacts and architecture. Not to mention, the country boasts a welcoming old-world charm and has very hospitable and optimistic locals. With the country’s idyllic ambiance and wealth in tourist attractions, a lot of people have considered Uzbekistan as Asia’s hidden holiday gem.
Undisputed highlights of the country
Tourists, for the most part, come to Uzbekistan to experience the wonderful cultural and historic offerings of its three ancient cities, namely Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. Known as to most tourists as ‘The Big Three’, these cities are an epitome of the entire region, bewitching tourists with their artistic desert caravans and gorgeous architectural wonders that bled well with the sands. As ancient cities with a long history, these destinations have witnessed several famous historic figures, including Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Tamerlane.
Samarkand is arguably the popular city of this Central Asian nation. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the city is practically known as a host to the Registan, the most renowned attraction in Silk Road. As you wander around this city, you will be bombarded with a vast collection of interesting attractions. But if you are short on time, just visit the city’s high-profile tourist traps, including Shah-i-Zinda, Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Guri Amir.
Dubbed as the holiest city in Central Asia, Bukhara features sacred sites and historical buildings that span a millennium of history. Its city center, which was heralded a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has not changed a lot in a couple of centuries. It’s truly one of the best locations in the region to witness the grandeur of Turkestan during pre-Russian days.
There is no shortage of exquisite architectural gems in this city. Here, you get to lay your eyes on a spectacular assemblage of architectural and historical monuments, including the Mausoleum of Samani, The Palace of Emir of Bukhara, Chor Bakr, Poi Kalyan Complex and a whole lot more.
As a former slave trading post, Khiva had a rather brutal and bloody past. But now, it has become a scenic oasis that draws loads of tourists from all corners of the world. As one of country’s main tourist hubs, Khiva is buzzing with beautiful tiled minarets, madrassahs, and mosques. Furthermore, it showcases a handful of museum-like architectural wonders, such as Itchan Kala or Ichon-Qala.
A load of tourist traps
There is more to Uzbekistan than its big three ancient cities. As you take a vacation in this magical country, you get to see the charming and breathtaking attractions of the other Uzbek cities, including ancient fortresses, dazzling bazaars and a splendid variety of overlooked natural attractions. Moreover, you get endless opportunities for trekking and adventure sports in its countryside.
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