9 Reasons to Travel to Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan is an intriguing central Asian country that became independent with the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. Its beautiful architecture and natural landscapes are responsible for making this country one of the most fashionable tourist destinations for world travellers.
Since its independence, major health reforms have been undertaken to reinforce Uzbekistan’s healthcare system. If you are planning for a unique central Asia travel experience, we highly recommend you consider this fascinating country. Do not forget to get travel insurance coverage in Uzbekistan because healthcare can otherwise be difficult to access by tourists.
But why visit Uzbekistan? Here are a few good reasons:
Experience the Magic of Samarkand
Samarkand is one of the great cities of Uzbekistan. Its rich history evokes tales from the “Thousand and one nights” literature. There was a time in which Samarkand was one of the greatest cities in Asia as an important path on the Silk Road which stretched from the Mediterranean to China. Turks, Mongols, Persian and Russian remnants make Samarkand’s culture a fascinating mix. Some of Samarkand’s majestic attractions really worth visiting are the beautiful Registan square, Bibi-Khanym mosque and Gur-e-Amir, the ornate mausoleum of Timur, the 14th century founder of the Timurid empire that stretched from what is now Turkey in the west to Delhi in the east.
Visit Tashkent, its Modern, Soviet-Style Capital
Tashkent is the capital and largest city of Uzbekistan. As well as this, Tashkent was also one of the biggest Soviet settlements in Asia; no wonder then, that the city still has a Russian feel; combining classic Soviet architecture and austere buildings with blue-tiled Persian style facades. It’s also a lively urban city with lots going on. One of the most characteristic things of this city is its finely ornamented subway. Each station represents a completely different scene and style.
Travel the Ancient Silk Road
Uzbekistan is closely associated with the Silk Road; belonging to this country are three of the most famous Silk Road transit cities: Samarkand, Khiva and Bukhara. Uzbekistan was, in the medieval era, one of the main countries traversed by the ancient caravans on the way to China. The historic routes are maintained in today’s Uzbekistan and still attract the curiosity of tourists. Indeed, the Silk Road legacy continues to have a strong influence on tourism in the region.
Explore the Nuratau Montains
The Nuratau Montains attract many tourists thanks to their green landscapes, beautiful Aydar lake and natural rock monuments. In Nuratau reserve you’ll find unique plant and wildlife species including the local Severtsov sheep, with their spectacular long, curving horns. It’s also a great place for birdwatching and silk worm farming. There are beautiful villages spread around the mountains such as Sentyab, Hayat, Mosrum or Asraf; really worth a visit. Sarmysh, site of bronze age rock carvings known as petroglyphs, is an excellent touring choice too, just a little way from the mountains themselves.
Ride a Camel Across the Kyzylkum Desert
In contrast to the green mountains, Uzbekistan also offers three amazing deserts: Kyzylkum (the largest and best known), Aralkum and Ustyurt. Where there is a desert there are often camels around, so one of the typical activities in these places is to have a camel ride and enjoy spectacular orange sunsets reflecting on the sandy desert’s dunes. During the treks, tourists will re-trace many of the routes made by ancient caravans.
Enjoy a Night in a Yurt Camp
Some desert areas are popular with tourists because of their yurt camps. The yurts are Mongolian style round tents beautifully decorated with traditional ornaments and hand-made carpets. A night in a yurt camp could be a fantastic way to relax next to a campfire and watch unbelievable starry skies, while enjoying the typical Uzbek foods and local ancient music (akyns).
Walk around Bukhara, Central Asia Holiest City
With its buildings dating centuries back, Bukhara’s streets are full of history and radiate the ancient Samanids’ culture. Numerous medressas and minarets dot the city which was considered an important intellectual centre of the Islamic world in the past. Bukhara also hosts a sovereign fortress and vestiges of an old Persian market complex. Famous mausoleums, mosques and its historical city centre make of Bukhara an interesting spot to visit.
See the Aral Sea
The Aral Sea, placed in between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, was once the fourth largest lake in the world, but it’s been shrinking since 1960 when the feeding rivers were diverted. The dry side of the Aral Sea is nowadays a vast, desolate but fascinating land; with sunken ships, ruins and abandoned fishermen cottages.
Delight Yourself in the Uzbek Cuisine
The dish eaten by Uzbeks on special occasions is palov; a delicious mix of rice, meat, onions, carrots and berries. Do not forget to try shurpa; the traditional lamb and vegetable soup, or the spicy triangular samsa pastries, similar to the more familiar indian samosas but with thicker, heartier pastry. Breads and noodles are common in the Turkic and Uzbek cuisines as the region grows a lot of grain, and mutton is the most popular meat. Samarkand wines and vodka are worth experiencing too.
Travel Insurance Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan has recently facilitated its visa application process in order to foster tourism. Wondering how to get your visa for Uzbekistan? You can apply online and get access to this amazing country in just 72 hours.
As mentioned before, it’s also important to get a medical cover in Uzbekistan before travelling. If something happens during your trip you’ll have easy access to local hospitals and health treatment as well as full coverage against other contingencies such as flight delays or luggage loss. Some companies hesitate to offer cover for more adventurous destinations, but Healthcare International is happy to cover Uzbekistan as well as other countries in the region such as Iran, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan, and our medical insurance can be tailored to cover your needs wherever you go.