About Uzbekistan

Why Uzbekistan deserves to be your travel destination in 2021?
02 May 2020

Soon, we will step out from behind our screens and will be able to travel again instead of arm-chair travelling with our TVs and notepads. Until then, stay healthy and stay positive. And start generating some ideas for your 2021 travel plans.

It is obviously hard to imagine right now airport crowds, border crossings and long-distance travels with many hours flights. Some of us predict only home tourism will be prevalent in the coming years with only few leaving their own countries for leisure. But the truth is that home tourism might in fact be trickier if we think of the virus pandemic, as there might have been more virus hotspots in our own countries than in the ones that we can or plan to visit.

Considering safety, Uzbekistan is among few countries that mainly avoided being affected by pandemic, registered a small number of infected people and due to preemptive quarantine measures successfully stopped the spread of disease at the very start.  The country’s immediate neighbors are also among the least affected countries and the whole of Central Asia can be considered quite safe. And with the direct flights to Tashkent resuming from many European airports, you can avoid changing flights in transit countries and have less worries contracting the disease.  

This Central Asian nation probably isn’t on your list of places to go, so here's why Uzbekistan deserves to be your travel destination in 2021?

It is still relatively undiscovered although tourist numbers were doubling annually for the last couple of years, meaning relatively soon it will not be so authentic and genuine and might become a mainstream tourist hotspot with all the advantages and tons of disadvantages coming with that.

Visas are no longer required for most nationals, and transport links are very good, with high-speed trains and regular flights circling between Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva.

There is so much to see and experience in this sunny and tremendously hospitable country that this small article won’t be able to fit. The country for centuries was on the crossroads of different cultures and civilizations, starting from Greek and Persian empires, then Islamic and Mongol eras to more recent Russian and Soviet periods.

Just imagine that Alexander the Great reached these places, who even married the Roxanne who captivated him with her beauty. Imagine to see a 2,500-year-old Khiva city – capital of the Khorezm kings who ruled here in the third century – whose mud brick walls and doorways are still visible; or witness unforgettable sunset views across the seemingly endless Kyzylkum desert whilst staying overnight in the yurt camp.

At a time when Europe was still moldering in the dark ages, the land of present day Uzbekistan was soaring into its renaissance. From here came algebra, thanks to Muhammad al-Khwarizmi. Medicine and philosophy came via Avicena in the 10th century. Al-Biruni, a man of astonishing talent, wrote treatises on mathematics, anthropology, astrology and geography in the 11th century.

Centuries later, Ulugh Begh, grandson of Timur and sultan of Samarkand, drew on this ferment of knowledge to found a cutting-edge astronomical observatory on top of a hill in Samarkand. Visitors can still see the ribs of a mighty sextant curling down a trench, the largest meridian instrument of its time. Among other astonishing things, it discovered almost 200 new stars, and predicted, almost to a minute, the exact length of a year.

You will mesmerised by limitless minarets, mosques, madrasas and mausoleums. When in Khiva, visit the Juma mosque and see its 213 wooden columns. Climb the stairs at the North gate of the Ichan Qala mud wall for amazing views at sunset.

In Bukhara, check out the Magok-i-Attari, a ninth-century mosque, and the towering Kalyan Minaret – both among the few structures to survive Genghis Khan.

In the flatlands of the Republic of Karakalpakstan lies a portal to another era, that of the glorious Zoroastrian Persian empire, maybe the world's first superpower, whose demesne once stretched from the Indus River to the Balkans in Europe.

Travelling to Uzbekistan will never disappoint you. This is a cradle of civilizations that passed through many turbulent times and was always reviving one crisis after another. This is a place whose history can encourage all of us in these difficult times and remind that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Visit Uzbekistan to get inspired.   

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Did you know?

Uzbekistan is one of only two countries in the world to be ‘double landlocked’ (landlocked and totally surrounded by other landlocked countries). Liechtenstein is double landlocked by 2 countries whilst Uzbekistan is surrounded by 5!

Did you know that Uzbekistan lies in the very heart of Eurasia, the coordinates for Uzbekistan are 41.0000° N, 69.0000°

Uzbekistan is home to the Muruntan gold mine, one of the largest open pit gold mines in the world! The country has 4th largest reserves of gold in the world after South Africa, USA and Russia

Uzbekistan is the world capital of melons. They have in excess of 150 different varieties, which form a staple part of the local diet, served fresh in the summer and eaten dried through the winter.

It is Uzbek tradition that the most respected guest be seated farthest from the house’s entrance.

Tashkent’s metro features chandeliers, marble pillars and ceilings, granite, and engraved metal. It has been called one of the most beautiful train stations in the world.

The Uzbek master chef is able to cook in just one caldron enough plov to serve a thousand men.

When you are a host to someone, it is your duty to fill their cups with for the whole time they are with you.  What you must not do, however, is to fill their cup more than half-full.  If you do that as a mistake, say it is a mistake immediately.  Doing it means you want them to leave.  Wow!  Amazing, right?

To Uzbeks, respect means a whole lot.  For this reason they love it if, even as foreigners, you endeavour to add the respectful suffix opa after a woman's name; and aka after a man's.  Example: Linda-opa and David-aka.  You could also use hon and jon respectively.

Having been an historic crossroads for centuries as part of various ancient empires, Uzbekistan’s food is very eclectic. It has its roots in Iranian, Arab, Indian, Russian and Chinese cuisine.

Though identified with the Persia, the Zoroastrism probably originated in Bactria or Sogdiana. Many distinguished scholars share an opinion that Zoroastrianism had originated in the ancient Khorezm. Indeed, today in the world there were found 63 Zoroastrian monuments, including those in Iran, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Thirty-eight of them are in Uzbekistan, whereas 17 of these monuments are located in Khorezm.

One of Islam's most sacred relics - the world's oldest Koran that was compiled in Medina by Othman, the third caliph or Muslim leader, is kept in Tashkent. It was completed in the year 651, only 19 years after Muhammad's death. 

Tashkent is the only megapolis in the world where public transport is totally comprised of Mercedes buses. And due to low urban air polution it is one of the few cities where one can still see the stars in the sky.

You would be surprised to know that modern TV was born in Tashkent. No joke! The picture of moving objects was transmitted by radio first time in the world in Tashkent on 26 of July 1928 by inventors B.P. Grabovsky and I.F. Belansky.

Uzbekistan is the only country in the world all of whose neighbours have their names ending in STAN. This is also the only country in Central Asia that borders all of the countries of this region

Uzbeks are the third populous Turkik ethnicity in the world after Turks and Azeris (leaving both in Azerbaijan and Iran)

Did you know that there was silk money in Khiva? Super interesting right? Of course, but the best part of having silk money was that it could be sewn into your clothing.

Famous Islamic physician Ibn Sina (Avicenna in the Latin world) who was born near Bukhara was the one of the first people to advocate using women’s hair as suture material – about 1400 years ago.

Uzbekistan has a long and bloody history. The most notorious leader of Uzbekistan was Timur (or Tamerlane) who claimed descent from Genghis Khan. His military campaigns have been credited for wiping out some 5% of the world’s population at the time.

If you have thought that some of the Islamic architecture in Uzbekistan resembles that from Northern India, then that is because Timur’s great great great Grandson, Babur Beg, was the founder of the Moghul Empire that ruled much of India for almost four centuries! Babur’s great great Grandson was Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal.

Uzbekistan was once a rum producig country. There is still a real arboretum in Denau (city near Termez on the border with Afghanistan), grown from a selection station that studied the prospects of plant growing in the unusual for the Soviet Union subtropical climate of Surkhandarya region: only here in the whole of the USSR sugar cane was grown and even rum was produced!

Uzbekistan has been ranked one of the safest countries in the world, according to a new global poll. The annual Gallup Global Law and Order asked if people felt safe walking at night and whether they had been victims of crime. The survey placed Uzbekistan 5th out of 135 countries, while the UK was 21st and the US 35th. Top five safest countries:

  • Singapore
  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • Finland
  • Uzbekistan
Exchange rates
100 RUR
14449.76 UZS
100 USD
1262518.91 UZS
100 EUR
1359374.21 UZS
100 GBP
1594055.66 UZS
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