Attractions of Uzbekistan
Let’s talk a little about the most attractive part and the spice of Central Asia — Uzbekistan. Today we immerse into a series of fabulous sights, where everything is imbued with the spirit of the East … whether it is the Princess Tomiris Palace or the memory of the mighty Tamerlane and his feats.
Our journey begins in the capital of Uzbekistan — the city of Tashkent. It is an amazing and very special city. The milestones of history and modern life have been intertwined here. The city was founded in 1924. However, it was known under various names in the II-I centuries BC. In the XIV — XV centuries, Tashkent was a part of the empire ruled by the famous commander Timur (Tamerlane).
Emir Timur (photo from idea37.info)
Visiting Old Tashkent and Kukeldash Madrasah. The construction was completed in the middle of the XVI century by the vizier of the Kukaladash ruler. After the secular use as a warehouse and museum during the Soviet times, today the original religious role of the madrasah has been restored.
Also visit the Hast-Imam Square — the sacred heart of Tashkent and the least Russified part of the city — including Barak Khan madrasahs, Tillya-Sheikh Mosque and the Mausoleum of the Kafala Shashi. Barak Khan was founded in the XVI century by one of Tamerlane’s descendants who ruled Tashkent for the Shaibanid dynasty. Today it is the administrative center of the mufti of Uzbekistan, the head of official Islam in the Republic. The Tillya-Sheikh Mosque, built at the same time as the Barak Khan madrasah, is currently the main mosque of the city on Fridays.
The highlight is the huge Ottoman Quran, which is considered the oldest in the world; In 655 it was stained with the blood of the murdered Osman Caliph. Mausoleum of Kafala Shashi is the grave of the great doctor, philosopher and poet of Islam, who lived from 904 to 979. The portal, the inner dome and the arcade date back to the XVI century. Also visit the Chorsu Bazaar — the largest, spice-rich farmer’s market in Tashkent.
After visiting the Old Town, we reach the modern part of Tashkent. Visiting the Amir Temur Square — the oldest public park in Tashkent; the Independence Square, the largest city square in the former Soviet Union, surrounded by public buildings and fountain walls; the Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Alisher Navoi built in yellow brick by Japanese prisoners of war in 1947 is a fusion of classical and Central Asian styles. We also recommend taking an underground train around the Metro stations — the jewel of the new city.
Samarkand city sightseengs
However, this is just the introduction to our tour around Uzbekistan. Then we head to the beautiful and amazing Samarkand. Here we are going to explore the Bibi Khanym Mosque (XV century) — a giant congregational mosque, once one of the largest mosques in the Islamic world, the Siab Bazaar — a colorful farmer’s market following by the visit of Shah-i-Zinda («The Living King») — the necropolis for Samarkand rulers and nobles. The name refers to its original and most sacred shrine — the tomb of Kusam-ibn-Abbas, Prophet Muhammad’s cousin, who is said to have brought Islam to the area.
Don’t miss visiting the Ulugh Beg Observatory (1420) — the remains of a huge (30 m.) Astrolabe for watching stars are the part of a three-storey observatory and the ruins of Afrasiab and a museum with fragments of frescoes from the VII century.
Visiting the Mausoleum of Khodja Doniyor. We continue our walk around the city and visit the Gur-e-Amir which is the mausoleum of the threatful Tamerlane and the Timurids.
The Registan Square (the sandy place) is an ensemble of majestic madrasah (XV -XVII centuries), ranked top in Central Asia and of the greatest and magnificent works of the Islamic world.
And now from here we move to the unique and beautiful Bukhara, the ancient Uzbek city that once used to be a major hub for caravans that moved along the Great Silk Road. Here we are going to explore attractions such as the Ark Fortress, the Bolo Hauz Mosque, the Samanid Mausoleum, Chashma-Ayub, the Lyab-i Hauz complex, Ulugbek Madrasah, the Abdullazizkhan Madrasah, the Kalyan minaret, the Miri-Arab madrasah, the Magoki-Attori Mosque, as well as a range of trade houses with goods that will definitely be a taste hit for any foreign guest.
Bukhara and Poi-Kalyan tower
Finally, we would like to talk about Khiva — another exciting city of Uzbekistan — where so many amazing sights have not been touched by time. The ancient complex of Itchan-Kala. It can be described as a city inside the city built in the Middle Ages. For the time of its existence, it would be destroyed and then rebuilt many times by various rulers. The whole city is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Kunya-Ark Citadel can be called the fortress of the ruler. Built in every ancient city such fortresses used to be administrative centres.
Khiva from the city walls
The minaret in the Islam Khoja complex used to serve as a guide for travellers. Thanks to its construction and height of almost 45 m it was visible from afar and used to help find the way to the city. Its construction dates from XI — XII centuries. It is impossible not to mention the Kalta-Minor Minaret, which is famous for its special shape and recognizable coating made from the traditional glazed tiles of turquois, blue and white colors all over the surface of the tower. Another outstanding building is the Muhammad Amin-khan Madrasah, the largest in Khiva and in Central Asia.
A lot can be said about the sights and attractions of Uzbekistan. These places are fascinating and attract tourists from all over the world. However, a picture is worth a thousand words though we never get tired of talking about the unique identity and magnificence of Central Asia.