Even if a visitor is a bit familiar with the history of mankind, he does not need to ask himself what makes tourism in Uzbekistan so attractive and what makes it different from hundreds of other destinations. Because the answer is obvious. The same as almost two and a half millennia ago attracted Alexander the Great to this country, which the ancient Greeks called Transoxiana (“land beyond the Oxus”). What fascinated the Arabs was the land they called Mawara’unnahr (“that which lies beyond the river”) – the land between two great Central Asian rivers – the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, mighty oasis towns inhabited by skilful craftsmen, the land of generous fields and gardens offering sun-drenched crops.
Like the waves through fertile land and thousand-year-old cities, Macedonians, Arabs, Mongols, each time proclaiming and building eternal empires. Their eternal empires were scattered, scattered and covered with sand by the winds of time, and the peoples of this land are skilful, enterprising, open and hospitable while enjoying the generous sun and each new face.
Tourism in Uzbekistan is traditionally associated with the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. The history of these cities goes back thousands of years; the old walls of the ramparts remind us of the phalanges of Alexander the Great, the hordes of Genghis Khan and the warriors of Amir Temur (Tamerlan).
The ancient city of Afrasiyab, where you will be shown the site of the ancient palace where Alexander the Great killed Cleitus (Cleitus the Black) in anger. The holy city of Bukhara, whose majestic minaret Kalyan impressed the Mongols so much that they gave the order not to destroy even the heartless of the universe Temujin, Bukhara. The amazing city of Khiva as an open-air museum, which has been preserved to posterity almost in untouched beauty due to its distance from the Bolshevik maximalism of the communists.
But it is not only the UNESCO World Heritage Cities that attract thousands and thousands of visitors. Every city in Uzbekistan gives hundreds of reasons to visit them. Cities like Tashkent, Kokand, Andijan and Shakhrisabz are endless modern oriental fairy tales.
The wedding pilaf in Tashkent can surprise every discerning gourmet. Forged by native blacksmiths in Shahrikhan, the pichak (knife) will cut the thinnest fabric. The imagination of the connoisseur will impress millions of stitches of Shakhrisabz handmade old traditional embroidery styles “basma” and “iroki”. And there is also an atlas of Margilan. Woodcarving from Fergana. Tandir Kebab from Surkhandarya. Ceramic tableware and terracotta jugs from Rishtan.
The variety of nature in Uzbekistan – from the ski slopes of Chimgan and Beldersay to the hot sands of the Karakum desert – will astonish the imagination of a traveller diving into the wonderful world of Central Asia for the first time. The vast expanses of the country are occupied by the Kyzylkum and Karakum deserts. Fragrant honeydew melons ripen in the once hungry steppe. The unusual beauty of the Ustyurt plateau will remind the traveller of space images of supernatural landscapes of distant planets. The mountains of Uzbekistan are not as high as the Himalayas or the Alps – the height of the Khazret Sultan’s peak is 4643 metres above sea level – but even here you can make fascinating hikes through the mountains of Tien Shan, Gissar and other mountain systems.
In various parts of the country you can admire carefully preserved rock carvings – petroglyphs from the late Stone Age – which are the work of primitive man, who has survived through the depths of time for tens of thousands of years.
At the same time, during your journey through Uzbekistan you will have the opportunity to feel the hospitality and kindness of the Uzbek people, who have hospitality and respect for guests in their blood. “The guest stands above his father” (Mehmon otangdan ulug) – that is what they say and do in Uzbekistan. In the river valleys, which have served as agricultural centres of Uzbekistan since ancient times, you will get to know the rural life of the peoples of Uzbekistan. They will gladly tell you about the life, culture and history of their region and will certainly offer you green tea, which is pleasantly refreshing in the summer heat.
You will not forget the most delicious and sweetest natural fruits and vegetables in the world, which made tourism in Uzbekistan so famous, throughout your life!