UZBEKISTAN – PERFECT TOURISTY OF SILK ROAD
Officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, Tajikistan to the southeast, Afghanistan to the south and Turkmenistan to the southwest. This Central Asian country is famous for mosques and mausoleums which date back to 12th century. The religious history of Uzbekistan is very popular and people from all over the country come to this place to explore it. Tourism is the major product of this country which benefits it largely as cities like Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva are hot destinations attracting large number of tourist every year. This land was the crossroad of the Great Silk Road, connecting Asia and Europe.
PLACES TO VISIT IN UZBEKISTAN
The young country which has earned independence very recently in 1991 has a very popular historical landmark in one of its sought-after cities Samarkand. This is the most spectacular sight of entire central Asia. This land is covered with buildings and minarets. Registan which meant Sandy Place in Persian and Tajik unveils its secrets when you head towards this mesmerizing city. It is a home of three madrasah (school) namely Ulugh Meg Madrasah, Sher-Dor Madrasah and Tilya-Kori Madrasah. When you enter Registan, and start by visiting the oldest Ulugh Meg Madrasah, you see the pleasant courtyard with cherry trees. Then when you head towards the newest madrasah Tilya-Kori which located between the two madrasah, it has the mosque with dazzling elegance. The ceilings are flat but when you look from below, it seems domed. It has been designed in that way. Then you go for Sher Dor madrasah, the one with the lion/tigers on its façade. A special evening arrangement for tourist with drinks and dance is prepared here. Exploration of Registan is amazingly beautiful.
Gur-e-Amir or Guri Amir is a widely known mausoleum of the Asian warlord Timur who was a Turco-Mongol conqueror and was the descendent of Mughal emperor Babur. The wonder of medieval Central Asian architecture in Samarkand, houses the family Tomb of Timurids. The one-dome octagonal building of the mausoleum is the precursor of Humayun Tomb and Taj Mahal. Its grand light blue onion dome 64 ribs equaling the number of years the Prophet Muhammad lived. You will notice everything here as a marvelous piece of work from wooden entry gate with beautiful carvings to tombstones in the main chamber of mausoleum where the actual graves in the underground tomb lies.
Largest and most alluring historic mosque in Central Asia, Bibi-Khanym is the mosque ordered to be built by Saray Mulk Khanym, the senior wife of Timur to please him when he returned to home after conquering India. The dome of the mosque has been compared to heavens and its portal arch to the Milky Way by a 15th century historian. There is a huge stone reading stand for the Koran. Due to the materials and technologies used in the construction of mosque which were not sufficient to make it durable enough, the mosque has not survived into the present except for the mausoleum in its courtyard where two tombs lie. When archaeologists opened the tombs, they found remains of two middle-aged women in rich clothes in them. It is said that one of the women was perhaps the senior wife of Timur. There is a 600-year old Bazaar near the mosque and you must visit this place as it still reflects its medieval features.
The walled inner town of Khiva is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This historical place is the abode of 50 ancient monuments and 250 old houses. The crenellated brick walls and four walls, one at each side of the rectangular fortress are the eye-catching features of this place. One of the iconic Djuma Mosque dates back to tenth century but it was rebuilt in 1788.
TOURIST DESTINATIONS IN UZBEKISTAN
Tashkent is the capital and largest city of Uzbekistan famous for large numbers of museums. It has many tourist destinations. The spiritual heart of Tashkent, the Khast-Imam Square was built in record-breaking 4 months in 2007 and it is the largest place for worship in Tashkent. It represents Islam. Baba-khan Madrasah is famous as it preserves a special premise of library which has kept the widespread Koran of Caliph Osman. In the old part of the city lies Mausoleum of Abubakr Kaffal ash-Shashi which is a historical and architectural building of Great Imam in the Arab World, Hazrat Imam who was a saint patron in Tashkent. The largest madrasah Kukledash Madrasah was an educational institution and has gone through several worst situations in its history. But every time it was rebuild and today it is different from the original. Independence Square is the central square of Tashkent and it is also known as Mustakillik Maydoni. You get to see the most beautiful fountains here and take rest as it is the best resting place of the Tashkent inhabitants. Amir Timur Square is a monument to great conqueror Amir Timur with imperial regalia on a reared horse. This square is surrounded with famous buildings like Uzbekistan Hotels etc.
Urgench is not a tourist attraction place. It plays a vital role in the transportation in Uzbekistan. It is the nodal point in the region. It was founded in the late 20th century and so there is no historical picturesque. Urgench acts as a place for starting your journey towards the amazing cities of Uzbekistan.
Nukus is the capital city of Karakalpakstan in the northern Uzbekistan. It is the sixth largest city in Uzbekistan. It is famous for Nukus Museum of Art named after IV Savitsky. The founder of this museum was the Russian Painter, archaeologist and collector Igor Satvitsky who came to Nukus started collecting the artifacts of Karakalpak and convinced the authorities to make a museum. This museum is the repository of more than 82,000 items and in Europe it is one of the best museums of the world. It is also the starting point of less known Ustyurt and the shore of the disappearing Aral Sea. Therefore it houses many hotels and restaurants.
It is the mysterios plateau in Uzbekistan and Kazakhsthan between the Aral Sea and Amu Darya Delta with heart melting views. You have to start your journey from Kungrad district which is one of the trading centres in the Silk Road. On the way to Ustyurt, you observe the ruins of the village of Urga on the shore of Lake Sudochye and it was the first Russian settlement in the region of Khoresm. Lake Sudochye had plenty of fish at that time and it attracted large number of fisherman. It was the economical source point of the People of Urga. But with the shrinkage of Aral Sea, People started leaving this place and finally the village came to an end. Ustyurt Plateau has charming sight as well like steeply rising walls in desert varying in colors from pure white to blue and pink which gives the feeling of fantasy land. It is a very ancient place and more than 60 settlements sites have been discovered here which belong to the Neolithic Age. The most interesting thing about this place is that the locals describe about the mysterious lights in the sky. Sometimes the visitors also witness this. So it is an amazing spot to unfold the mysteries of the land.
The most interesting and adventourous journey towards Aral Sea reveals the unique nature of incomparable surrounding cities and deserts. It was once a saltwater lake. But today it has become a sandy wasteland shrinking year after year. It is also known as the disappearing sea. The jeep adventure to the Aral Sea is very adventourous. The amazing canyons are noteworthy. Take lots of photographs.
The city in northern Karakalpakstan of Western Uzbekistan lying alond the bottom of the disappeared sea (Aral Sea) is widely known as Tragedy City due to the Aral Tragedy. But still it has many famous places which are noteworthy. Monument to the victims of the Second World War is the highest point in Muynak. It is now a monument to the Aral Sea. It provides a wonderful view of the town and Aral Sea. The abandoned city has another sad site which is known as Cemetery of Ships where you can see the shipwrecks. Another visiting site is the House of culture in Muynak which showcases the history behind the Aral Sea and the lovely Amu Darya River depicted by soviet artists F. Madgazin and R. Matevosyan. Here you become lost in observing the way of living of people during those times.
The city with around 50,000 residents is the part of Xorazm region in Uzbekistan. It was the major trade hub of Silk Road in 10th century. It was the must have stop for all the caravans on their way to China. Itchan-kala is famous as a walled inner town. Pakhlavan Mahmoud Mausoleum is the holiest site in Khiva. It’s a holy place of Khiva’s patron saint, Pakhlavan Mahmud, a fur hat maker and great poet. The rooms with painted majolica tiles, green dome topped with a large brass finial looks stunning in evening and at night. Kunya-Ark Fortress is the heart of the inner town was the Khiva ruler’s residence. The modern Kunya-Ark with finest decorations in interior wall and highly skilled carvings on doors, pillars and balconies is what makes this ancient building famous. Islam Hajji Madrasah & Minaret is another stnning site. Tash Khauli Alakuli Khan Palace in the eastern part of Itchan – Kala gives you an opportunity to witness the Khorezm architectural majesty of 18th century. The Khan’s chamber is the major attraction which is rich in decoration. The magnificient white and blue majolica tiles has been used for decoration which allures its visitor to great extent. Juma Mosque is the popular mosque in Itchan-Kala and one of the reason is its Friday-Prayer. It is a one-storey structure with strong walls with strong walls and three doors. Muhammad Amin khan Minaret & Madrasah is the largest Central Asian madrasah with five domes and corner towers. Avesta Museum preserves the sacred book of Zoroastrianism which is one of the first religions of its kind. The book itself is known as Avesta.
It is the fifth largest city of Uzbekistan located in Silk Road and widely known as City-Museum with about 140 architectural monuments. It has many antique masterpieces which are among top tourist attractions. Just outside the historic Urban center of Bukhara lies Samanids Mausoleum which was erected as a family crypt after the death of Ismail Samani’s father. Near to this mausoleum lies another famous spiritual mausoleum known as Chashma-Ayub mausoleum. It is this land where Bible prophet Job visited and decided to help the people of desert who were suffering from water shortage. He dug the well which provided source of water to people. It is a must visit holy place. The only preserved monument in the Registan Square, Bolo-Khauz Complex houses the pond which is called Bolo-Khauz. The famous ancient rectangular bulding of Bukhara known as Ark of Bukhara or Ark Citadel which is according to the legends, the proof of the love given by epic hero Siyavush. Complex Poi-Kalyan has three constructions namely Madrasah Mini-Arab, Mosque Kalyan and Minaret Kalyan among which Minaret Kalyan is the greatest building of the Muslim East. The most ancient madrasah Ulugbek Madrasah is an outstanding evidence of Bukhara architectural style and today it houses Bukhara Restoration History Museum. Lyab-i Hauz Architectural Ensemble is the best place to sit and take rest. The major attraction of the point is its artificial pond with Nadir Divan-Beghi Madrasah, Nadir Divan-Beghi Khanaka and Kukledash Madrasah. There are few places out of town which are visited by tourists. Such places include palace of moon-like stars Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa Palace, the spiritual Memorial Complex of the Islamic Saint Baha-ud-Din Naqsband and located in the city of dead Chor-Bakr Memorial Complex is the burial place of Abu-Bakr Said.
The second largest city of Uzbekistan is the top tourist destination here. The Blue-titled city is popular as the city of mosques and mausoleums. The main attraction is famous square of Central Asia – Registan Square. Then other top places include Gur-e Amir Mausoleum – a Necropolis of Timurids, Bibi-Khanym Mosque. Shah-i-Zinda is located near to Bibi-Khanym and known as ‘the street cemetery’ by the locals is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Ulugbek Observatory was created by Mukhammad Taragay mostly known as Ulugbek, grandson of Timur. Ulug means great and Bek means ruler. Ulugbek was a ruler as well as great scientist and it was his dream to form his own observatory.
POINT OF INTEREST AT UZBEKISTAN
Yodgorlik is a silk factory in one of the ancient city of Uzbekistan, known as Margilan. It is situated in Fergana Valley. This factory is famous for hand-made Khan-atlas.
Palace of Khudayar Khan
The pearl of Kokand in eastern Uzbekistan is the palace of the last ruler of Kokand Khanate, Khudayar Khan. In olden days, it has 114 rooms and seven courtyards. But today it has preserved 19 rooms and four courtyard with stunning decorative features.
Mausoleum of Modari Khan
Modari Khan Mausoleum reminds the famous Uzbek poetess Nadira. Her poems were so popular in Uzbek Poetry and so the buildings built on the behest of Kokand. It is located in Fargana City.
The great place of pilgrimage for Muslims is Mizdakhan Complex in the Khojdeyli district of Karakalpakstan. This complex consists of Caliph Erejep, Jumart-kassab hillock, half-underground Mazlumkhan-sulu Mausoleum and Shamun-nabi Mausoleum.
THINGS TO DO IN UZBEKISTAN
- Ride over famous Kyzyl-Kum Desert and along the Amudarya River which is breathtaking.
- Visit pottery workshops in Rishtan to observe the unique hand-made ceramics.
- Head towards Kuva to familiarize yourself with the monument to the famous medieval astronomer and the mathematician al-Fergani.
- Shop in the Oriental Bazaar in Margilan and visit the handmade carpet making workshop Said Ahmed Khoji Madrasah.
- Shop the antique pieces at the Bukhara Domed Shopping Arcade.
- Explore the artificial ponds named Kharot and taste fresh-caught fried fish.
- Visit the oldest Bazaar of Tashkent – Chorsu and Museum of Applied Arts.
Uzbekistan gives you the smell of the most ancient period and the site of its mosque and mausoleum fills your heart with great gratification.