Travel to Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan consists of ancient caravan cities from the time of the Silk Road, a magnificent desert with green oases and grazing sheep and several hundred year old mosques adorned with mosaics in fantastic patterns. In Uzbekistan, you can drink green tea on every street corner, get lost in the bazaars’ crowds of ceramics and cotton fabrics, and dream back to the heyday of the Silk Road in the oasis city of Khiva.
See trips to Uzbekistan
Residents: 29 mill.
- Uzbek weddings are grand, often with 300-400 guests. The day after the wedding, it is a tradition for the bride to go home to the parents – in – law’s home where the family is waiting with wedding gifts.
- every year Kupkari is celebrated. Two teams on horseback compete in picking up a dead lamb or a goat from the ground without the opposing team getting hold of it!
Geography of Uzbekistan
The Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan is located south of Kazakhstan and the Aral Sea and north of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. The country is Central Asia’s most densely populated and the approximately 29 million inhabitants make up almost half of the region’s total population. Geographically, Uzbekistan is almost completely covered by the flat Kyzylku Desert. Among the sand masses are irrigated oases where large flocks of caracal sheep like to gather. In the northwest, mountain ranges surround the fertile valley of Fergana, where vineyards and cotton plantations take turns. There are also many mulberry plantations and the berries are used as feed for silkworm larvae. Cotton and silk are two of the country’s largest export assets. Fortunately, the Uzbeks themselves retain enough to be able to produce their traditional colorful rugs and robes in imaginative patterns.
According to bridgat, Uzbekistan has a subtropical mainland climate with over 30 degrees in the summer and down to -5 during the winter months. Rain and snow occur in extremely modest amounts and during large parts of the year water is fetched from underground watercourses. Irrigation has meant fertile cotton crops and grass for sheep, but also major environmental problems and the reduction of the Aral Sea in size. Once upon a time, the lake was the fourth largest of its kind, but has now shrunk to about half of its original size.
History of Uzbekistan
For several hundred years, Uzbekistan has played an important role in the history of Central Asia. Over the years, the country has been visited by prominent historical figures such as Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, and has been the starting point for Timur Lenk’s enormous Central Asian dynasty. The Silk Road from China to Europe ran through Uzbekistan and has obviously had a huge impact on the country’s history. Among other things, it helped make Bukhara and Samarkand extremely prosperous cities.
The Uzbek ancestors immigrated to the country in the 16th century and came from the north where they had lived as nomads. Eventually, the area, which the new inhabitants had divided into small so-called khanates, became one of the most powerful in the region. And so it continued to be until Russia in the late 19th century suddenly decided to expand and conquer large parts of today’s Uzbekistan. The country later became part of the Soviet Union and was once used as a final destination for deported prisoners. Around 20 percent of the population in today’s Uzbekistan is therefore of both Russian, Chechen and Korean origin.
Today’s Uzbekistan was formed in 1991 when the Soviet Union dissolved. From the very beginning, the country was a semi-dictatorial republic under President Islam Karimov, who has since succeeded in re-electing the piece with an impressive majority each time. Despite the fact that Uzbekistan in its constitution calls itself a democratic republic, it has become almost impossible to form parties other than Karimov’s party, which ironically is called the People’s Democratic Party. Human rights are not one of Uzbekistan’s strengths, but both the United States and the European Union are trying to maintain good relations with the country. One of the reasons for this is Uzbekistan’s large gas resources, which the EU in particular would like to have access to.
Traveling in Uzbekistan
One can not directly say that Uzbekistan is infested with tourists, and that is a shame, given the country’s fascinating history, respectable desert areas and architectural gems. Especially the three caravan cities from Silk Road to Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva are well worth a visit if you are interested in magnificent and extremely well-preserved architecture, spiced with an exciting history. And who is not?
Samarkand simmers with the Silk Road atmosphere and has lots of monuments from Timur Lenk’s time (1336-1405). The mattresses (old Islamic school) Ulugh Beg, Shir-Dor and Tillja-Kari surround Registan and take the breath away from most people. The Gur Emir mausoleum, where Timur Lenk and his two grandchildren are buried, competes with Registantorget with the blue and sand-colored shades. The Bibi-Khanum Mosque, named after Timur Link’s Chinese wife, and the large collection of tombs, Shah-i-Zinda, are well worth a visit.
Bukhara is the holiest city in Central Asia and is surprisingly well preserved. Here you will visit the Ark Fortress, Ismail’s mausoleum, which is the city’s oldest Islamic monument, and the huge Kalyan Mosque that was used as a warehouse during the Soviet era. And not to forget, the oasis city of Khiva, which is seemingly almost completely untouched by human hands. Here are beautiful historic mosques, palaces and mattresses close together. Highlights include the soaring Allah Kuli Khan mattress, the Kuhna Ark Fortress with the hilarious shifts between bare sandstone and multicolored shards of glass, and the Tashkaul Palace, which gives a whole new meaning to the word decoration.