December 10, 2018

Why You Should Visit Uzbekistan

By Dr. Eugenio Matos G.

When you are next deciding where to spend your holidays, consider Uzbekistan. This exquisitely beautiful nation brings together East and West, and offers an abundance of delightful new discoveries for any traveller visiting for the first time

The major cities of Uzbekistan are known as the pearls of the “Great Silk Road”, travel destinations and cities that have absorbed all the singularity and unique beauty of the East. Visiting these cities allows one to be transported back to the atmosphere of a medieval city, to an era in which the Uzbek people made history.

The territory that comprises modern-day Uzbekistan has formed part of the world’s oldest and most prominent civilizations and empires, such as the Khorezm, the Sogdiana, the Greco-Bactrian, Kushan Kingdom, the Empire of Alexander the Great and Tamerlane.

Tashkent, the capital city, is called the “Star of the East”, combining modernity and antiquity that goes back more than two millenniums.It is now the foremost business and cultural center in the region. The most well known historical monument in Tashkent is KukerdashMadrassh, built in the 16th century during the rule of the UabekShaybanid sultans Barak Khan and Dervish Khan.

The Savitsky Museum in Nakus has more than 90,000 exhibits with the world’s second largest collection of Russian avant-garde pieces and art from across Uzbekistan.

But there is a particular venue that visitors cannot miss.

Go to a bazaar (public market) to feel the real heartbeat of Uzbek life, and to truly understand the nation’s customs and traditions, including its many unique national products.

An oriental bazaar serves many functions: as a modern supermarket, a social club for communication amongst locals and foreigners, a source for the latest news, a business hub and an entertainment centre.

Chief among the bazaars in Tashkent Chorsu bazaar, which is both the largest and oldest in the city. Bazaars have been popular since the time of the Great Silk Road that passed through Tashkent.

Chorsu bazaar is located in the heart of the Old City. Walking inside the turquoise dome, you encounter a wide variety of spices, fruits, vegetables, traditional carpets, arts and crafts, as well as an impressive fish and meat market and many traditional style restaurants. A taxi can take you the bazaar to any of the main hotels in Tashkent for as little as three Euros, and there is also a convenient Metro network.

If you go to the City of Samarkand you will also encounter an unforgettable and unique oriental bazaar. If you are part of an organised excursion, ask your guide to include the Samarkand bazaar, for a truly memorable experience.

The oriental market is a special place which has retained its original character from centuries ago. Even though few people speak English in Uzbekistan, locals are friendly and helpful towards foreigners and are sure to make your visit enjoyable. And don’t forget: Uzbekistan is also in the top 10 safest countries in the world!

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About the author: Dr. Eugenio Matos is a Hon. Associate Publisher Diplomat Magazine and a Senior specialist in Public Diplomacy. drembassy1@gmail.com

 

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