Uzbekistan - the treasury of architectural monuments, the crossroads of civilization and the heart of Central Asia, one of the centers of the legendary Silk Road. Today Uzbekistan is one of the most unique places in the world. This uniqueness is in its unique culture, which has been evolving for thousands of years. The center of ancient caravan routes with 2500 years of history are yours to explore. With its main touristic hotspots such as Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, Uzbekistan has much to show to the world. Samarkand with its Registan, Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Gur-Emir and Shah-i-Zinda, Bukhara with its Po-i-Kalyan Complex, Ark citadel, Samanid Mausoleum and Lyabi Khauz Ensemble, and of course, Khiva with its intact inner city Ichan Kala, mosques, madrasahs, minarets, walls and gates are some of the most popular sites among tourists. In the deserts of Kyzyl Kum you can enjoy many kinds of rare animals and fauna, while at the Aydar Lake you can experience outdoor activities such as 'yurting' (i.e., camping in special tents) and camel-back riding.
A large number of tourists have been visiting Uzbekistan to savour and learn about its religious heritage. The followers of Sufism know that dozens of historical sights of Islam such as Mausoleum of Sheikh Zaynudin Bobo, Sheikhantaur and Mausoleum of Zangiata in Tashkent or Bakhauddin Ensemble, Bayan-Quli Khan Mausoleum, Saif ed-Din Bokharzi Mausoleum and many more monuments in Bukhara and other parts of the country are precious marvels.
The graceful and elegant minarets of the mosques, medieval mausoleums and palaces, decorated with unique ceramic ornaments, oriental flavor markets will make your vacation in Uzbekistan fabulous and unforgettable. You can taste the real Uzbek pilaf, cooked to recipes that are more than a thousand years old.
Outdoor tourism lovers can take pleasure in mountaineering and rock climbing in the mountains of Uzbekistan. The most well known for its ease of access from Tashkent is a mountain resort Chimgan, including its skiing complex. It is located along the Chatkal Range (part of the Western Tien Shan mountains) at an altitude of 1,620 m with the main peak of Greater Chimgan (3,309 m).
General information about Uzbekistan
The Republic of Uzbekistan declared the independence on August 31, 1991 and celebrates the Day of Independence on September 1.
Formal name: The Republic of Uzbekistan
Geography: Uzbekistan has an area of 447,400 square kilometres (172,700 sq mi). Uzbekistan borders Kazakhstan to the northwest and north, Kyrgyzstan - to the northwest, Tajikistan - to the east and southeast, Turkmenistan - to the southwest, and Afghanistan - to the south.
Climate: mostly mid-latitude desert, long and hot summers, mild winters; semiarid grassland in the east
Natural resources: natural gas, petroleum, coal, gold, uranium, silver, copper, lead and zinc, tungsten, molybdenum
Population: 29 million (January, 2011)
Ethnic groups: Uzbeks 80%, Russians 5.5%, Tajiks 5%, Kazakhs 3%, Karakalpaks 2.5%, Tatars 1.5%, others 2.5% (1996 est.)
Religions: Muslim 88% (mostly Sunnis), Eastern Orthodox 9%, others 3%
Languages: Uzbek 74.3%, Russian 14.2%, Tajik 4.4%, other 7.1%
National currency: Sum; 1 sum = 100 tiyin
Public Holidays: Jan 1 - New Year’s Day. Jan 10 - Kurban Khait. Mar 8 - International Women’s Day. Mar 21 - Navruz. May 9 - Day of Memory and Respect. Sep 1 - Independence Day. Dec 8 - Constitution Day.
Uzbek cuisine basks in centuries-old history and variety. People in the northern part of the country prefer rice, fried meat, pastry and cakes, in the southern part - complex dishes with rice and vegetables, and excellent desserts. Important and popular ingredients in the cuisine are mutton, horse meat, vegetables, dairy products and bread.
The main drink of the country - tea. Every meal begins and ends with it. Locally produced fine dry wines offer encouraging good flavor and a really good value for money.