What to see in Uzbekistan, Central Asia, the region of the “camps”. “Stan” is a Persian word meaning a country inhabited by certain people. I am in Central Asia again and this time I am traveling to the country of the Uzbeks. I go there with certain attitudes about the country: numerous architectural monuments, amazing natural landscapes, magnificent palaces, ruins of fortresses of past civilizations, admirable cities, gastronomic temptations and famous craft workshops. As soon as I arrive, I start to feel like a millionaire and polyglot tourist. I own millions of Uzbekistani soms (1 euro = 3,000 soms).
Even after that, during the trip, when 6 people were paying seven digital bills for lunch and dinner, my hands were sweating. I also spoke Russian without having studied it so far, as neither Bulgarian nor English do much work here. We travel with nice experienced drivers who skillfully handle the bus on bad and very bad roads, as well as the jeep in the desert. We start our journey from the Karakalpakstan region and its capital Nukus with the legendary Savitsky Museum, called the Central Asian Louvre with a collection of over 100,000 world and regional works of art.
Most of this region is occupied by the Kozulkum Desert, the Aral Sea, the Ustyurt Plateau and is surrounded by the Amu Darya and Sardarya rivers, which in itself speaks volumes about the diversity of natural resources. We traveled to the bottom of the parched Aral Sea, called the Aralkum, a dry and salty desert, a sad graveyard of stranded ships, reminiscent of this great ecological catastrophe. We traveled 200 km to reach the small piece of water left over from the sea, where there used to be numerous beaches, fishermen and ports.
We pass through the Ustyurt Plateau – a mysterious and unearthly beautiful place, created millions of years ago under the influence of natural phenomena and cataclysms. And we came to the desert of Kozulkum, one of the largest deserts in Asia, located between the rivers Amu Darya and Sardarya. We travel by jeep through the vast endless sands, vast closed valleys and isolated highly fragmented residual mountain ranges. Our night is in a yurt camp with cozy yurts and walking two-backed camels.
Here in Karakalpakstan, in a fertile oasis in the lower reaches of the Amu Darya River between the Karakum and Kazalkum deserts, is the Khorezm region, the birthplace of ancient civilizations. This is a place shrouded in mystery and historical secrets. We felt it as we toured the ruins of ancient settlements, mighty fortresses and towers, important centers for caravan roads. Ayaz Kala – “Fortress of the Winds”, Toprak Kala – “Earth Fortress”, the ancient necropolis of Mizdahan, the Gyaur Kala Fortress from the pre-Muslim era.
What are the architectural landmarks in Uzbekistan
Another fortress – Ichan Kala has surrounded the capital of ancient Khorezm – Khiva. Here each building is an architectural monument and a separate attraction. We leave Karakalpakstan and the Khorezm region to go to the big attractions in Uzbekistan cities of Bukhara and Samarkand. It is difficult to say which of them is more impressive. Bukhara is a city with more than 140 preserved monuments dating from different eras, squares with architectural complexes of masterpieces, the unique architectural structure Mausoleum of the Samanids, where the rulers of medieval Bukhara are buried, Kalyan Mosque with 50-meter minaret, emblem of the city , the majestic Ulugbek Madrasa, known worldwide for its research in astronomy, the traditional dome bazaars called Toki.
Samarkand, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List under the name “Samarkand – the crossroads of cultures” is a key center of the Great Silk Road. Here in its center is the most beautiful square in the world Registan, surrounded by the architectural ensemble of three madrassas Ulugbek, Tilla-Kori and Sherdor, masterpieces of medieval oriental architecture. Everything seen here reminds me a lot of my previous trip to Kyrgyzstan tourist attractions.
In this city, monuments – masterpieces are everywhere: Bibi Hanum Mosque is actually a complex of three mosques built in honor of the beloved wife of the harem of Amir Timur, the mausoleums Gur-Emir and Shahi-Zinda are tombs for the king and royal families, the mosque Hazrat-Hazr, in the courtyard of which is the mausoleum of President Karimov.
Favorite place for all tourists, and for us including the noisy oriental markets with spices, pastries, dried fruits, souvenirs and shopping. Our journey ends in the capital Tashkent. The pride of the city is the subway, the first in Central Asia, and during the Soviet era – the most impressive in the whole union. National motifs are present in the decoration of many of the stations. We took the subway to the central Amir Temur Square for a few photos and a coffee. That was the only time.