Top Ten Uzbekistani Attractions

Top Ten Uzbekistani Attractions


       Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south. Prior to 1991, it was part of the Soviet Union. Once part of the Persian Samanid and later Timurid empires, the region was conquered in the early 16th century by Uzbek nomads, who spoke an Eastern Turkic language. Most of Uzbekistan’s population today belong to the Uzbek ethnic group and speak the Uzbek language, an offshoot of the Turkic languages. Uzbekistan was incorporated into the Russian Empire in the 19th century and in 1924 became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, known as the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (Uzbek SSR). It has been an independent republic since December 1991.Uzbekistan’s economy relies mainly on commodity production, including cotton, gold, uranium, potassium and natural gas. Despite the declared objective of transition to a market economy, Uzbekistan continues to maintain rigid economic controls, which often repel foreign investors. The policy of gradual, strictly controlled transition has nevertheless produced beneficial results in the form of economic recovery after 1995.

  1. Historic Center of Bukhara
    Historic Centre of BukharaHistoric Centre of Bukhara1Historic Centre of Bukhara2Historic Centre of Bukhara3Historic Centre of Bukhara4Historic Centre of Bukhara5
    Bukhara, from the Soghdian βuxārak (“lucky place”), is the capital of the Bukhara Province (viloyat) of Uzbekistan. The nation’s 5th largest city, it has a population of 263,400 (2009 census estimate). The region around Bukhara has been inhabited for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time. Located on the Silk Road, the city has long been a center of trade, scholarship, culture and religion. The historic center of Bukhara, which contains numerous mosques and madrassas, has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Ethnic Tajiks constitute the majority in Bukhara, but the city long had a population including Jews and other ethnic minorities as well.
  2. Samarkand “Crossroads of Cultures”
    Samarkand, “Stone Fort” or “Rock Town,” is the 2nd largest city in Uzbekistan and the capital of Samarqand Province. The city is most noted for its central position on the Silk Road between China and the West, and for being an Islamic centre for scholarly study. In the 14th century it became the capital of the empire of Timur (Tamerlane) and is the site of his mausoleum (the Gur-e Amir). The Bibi-Khanym Mosque remains one of the city’s most notable landmarks. The Registan was the ancient center of the city.
    Links: Top Ten Dome Interiors,,
  3. Itchan Kala
    Itchan KalaItchan Kala1Itchan Kala2Itchan Kala3Itchan Kala4Itchan Kala5Itchan Kala6
    Itchan Kala is the walled inner town of the city of Khiva, Uzbekistan. The old town retains more than 50 historic monuments and 250 old houses, dating primarily from the 18th or 19th centuries. Djuma Mosque, for instance, was established in the 10th century and rebuilt from 1788 to 1789, although its celebrated hypostyle hall still retains 112 columns taken from ancient structures. The most spectacular features of Itchan Kala are its crenellated brick walls and four gates at each side of the rectangular fortress. Although the foundations are believed to have been laid in the 10th century, present-day 10-meters-high walls were erected mostly in the late 17th century and later repaired.
  4. Historic Center of Shakhrisyabz
    Historic Centre of ShakhrisyabzHistoric Centre of Shakhrisyabz1Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz2Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz3
    Shakhrisabz, meaning “green city” in Persian, is a city in Uzbekistan located approximately 80 km south of Samarkand with the population of 53,000 (1991). Once a major city of Central Asia, it is primarily known today as the birthplace of 14th century Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur.
    Links: Sculptures,,
  5. Chor-Bakr
    The memorial complex of Chor-Bakr was built over the ostensible burial place of Abu-Bakr-Said, who died in the year 360 of the Muslim Calendar (970-971 AD), and who was one of the four of Abu-Bakrs (Chor-Bakr), descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. The complex includes the necropolis of family tombs, and courtyards enclosed with walls.
    Links: Top Ten Necropolises,,
  6. Historic Center of Qoqon
    Historic Center of QoqonHistoric Center of Qoqon1Historic Center of Qoqon2Historic Center of Qoqon3Historic Center of Qoqon4
    Kokand is a city in Fergana Province in eastern Uzbekistan, at the southwestern edge of the Fergana Valley. It has a population of 192,500 (1999 census estimate). Kokand is 228 km southeast of Tashkent, 115 km west of Andijan, and 88 km west of Fergana. It is nicknamed “City of Winds”, or sometimes “Town of the Boar.” Kokand is on the crossroads of the ancient trade routes, at the junction of two main routes into the Fergana Valley, one leading northwest over the mountains to Tashkent, and the other west through Khujand. As a result, Kokand is the main transportation junction in the Fergana Valley.
  7. Sheikh Mukhtar-Vali Mausoleum Complex
    Sheikh Mukhtar-Vali Mausoleum ComplexSheikh Mukhtar-Vali Mausoleum Complex1Sheikh Mukhtar-Vali Mausoleum Complex2
    The Sheikh Mukhtar-Vali Complex is a mausoleum located in the town of Khiva, Uzbekistan. It was erected in the 16th century, above the grave of Sheikh Mukhtar-Vali.
  8. Mountains of the Western Tien Shan “Chatkal Sate Biosphere Reserve”
    Mountains of the Western Tien ShanMountains of the Western Tien Shan1Mountains of the Western Tien Shan2Mountains of the Western Tien Shan3
    The Tian Shan, “celestial mountains,” is a large mountain system located in Central Asia. The highest peak in the Tian Shan is Victory Peak (Jengish Chokusu), which is 7,439 meters (24,406 ft).
  9. Andijon
    Andijan or Andizhan is the 4th largest city in Uzbekistan, and the capital of the Andijan Province. It is located in the east of the country in the Fergana Valley, near the border with Kyrgyzstan on the Andijan-Say River. It has a population of 323,900 (1999 census estimate).
  10. Desert Castles of Ancient Khorezm
    Desert Castles of Ancient KhorezmTop Ten Uzbekistani Attractions1Top Ten Uzbekistani Attractions2Top Ten Uzbekistani Attractions3Top Ten Uzbekistani Attractions4
    Khwarezm, or Chorasmia, is a large oasis region on the Amu Darya river delta in western Central Asia, which borders to the north the (former) Aral Sea, to the east the Kyzylkum desert, to the south the Karakum desert and to the west the Ustyurt Plateau. It was the center of the indigenous Khwarezmian civilization and a series of kingdoms, whose capitals were among others Kath, Gurganj (the modern Köneürgenç) and, from the 16th century on, Khiva. Today Khwarezm belongs partly to Uzbekistan and partly to Turkmenistan. The desert Castles of Ancient Khorezm consists of the following: Toprak Qala, Ayaz Qala, Koy-Kirilgan Qala, Big Guldursun fortress, Pil Qala, Anka Qala, Kurgashin Qala and Djanbas Qala.
    Links: Castles,,
  11. Minaret in Vobkent
    Minaret in Vobkent
    Vabkent is a town in the Bukhara Province of Uzbekistan and the capital of Vabkent district. It is famous for a minaret constructed in 1196–1198, under the reign of Ala ad-Din Tekish.
    Links: Top Ten Minarets,,
  12. Ancient Termiz
    Ancient TermizAncient Termiz1Ancient Termiz2
    Description: Termiz is a city in southern Uzbekistan near the border with Afghanistan. Some link the name of the city to thermos, “hot” in Greek, tracing its name back to Alexander the Great. Others suggest that it came from Sanskrit taramato, meaning “on the river bank.” It is the hottest point of Uzbekistan. It has a population of 140,404 (1 January 2005), and is the capital of Surxondaryo Province. Its most famous native son is Al-Tirmidhi, born in its suburb Bugh and buried 60 kilometers north of Termez, on the outskirts of Sherobod. He is locally known as Iso At Termezi or Termez Ota (Father of Termez City). Hakim-e-Termizi, one of the famous Sufi leaders, is buried in the suburbs of Termez. He is also known as Termez Ota (Father of Termez City). It was once a great center of Buddhism and Islam.
  13. Bahoutdin Architectural Complex
    Bahoutdin Architectural Complex
    Shaykh Baha-ud-Din or Bohoutdin was the founder of the Naqshbandi order, and was considered the spiritual patron of Bukhara governors; he died in 1389. That is why his necropolis, which was subsequently erected at his tomb, always was and remains the most esteemed in Uzbekistan and its fame has reached other Islamic countries. Ancient toponymy of this settlement is known under the name Kasri Arifon.
  14. Zarautsoy Rock Paintings
    Zarautsoy Rock PaintingsZarautsoy Rock Paintings1
    The Zarautsoy gallery of rock art contains the oldest petroglyphs in Central Asia. The images describe primitive man’s everyday life, and bull and wild goat hunting. The site is located in the Surkhandarya Region of Uzbekistan.
    Links: Relieves and Petroglyphs,,
  15. Boysun
    The Boysun territory is located on the ridge of Boysuntog, the southwest spur of the Gissar Mountains in the district of Boysun, Uzbekistan. The sites of Boysun, which is under consideration for inscription as a UNESCO World Heritageg site, are both cultural and natural. They include: the basic historical-archaeological sites (Teshik-Tash, Kushan wall, Kurganzol,); living sites of folk cultures (kishlaks- villages); workshops of folkcrafts; zones of unique landscapes, natural-sanitary complexes; and makhallas (communities). Landscapes of the ridge Boysuntog, and the well-preserved biodiversity of the territory, include rare and distinctive representatives of flora and fauna of the southern mountains of Uzbekistan. The cultural landscapes were formed during centuries in which, alongside elements and infrastructure of traditional human culture, representatives of flora and fauna of region are organically included and kept, for example as in Sayrob complex.
    Links: Top Ten Human Skulls, Top Ten Skull Artifacts,,
  16. Sarmishsay
    The Sarmish Gorge, better known as Sarmishsay, is located on the southern slopes of the Karatau mountain range, 30-40 km to the north-east of the city of Navoi (Kermine) in Uzbekistan. The mountain range of the Karatau is considered to be one of the western spurs of the Turkestan Mountain Ridge of the Western Tien Shan. To the south of the Karatau lies the Zarafshan Valley, bordering the Kyzyl Kum desert. Since ancient times, the Karatau area has been an intersection of seasonal migration routes for people and animals. This place is famous for various ancient monuments of anthropogenic activity concentrated in an area of about 20 km². The sights include flint quarries, mines, old settlements, burial mounds, crypts and petroglyphs, including monuments of the Middle Ages, early Iron Age, Bronze Age and even Stone Age. There are over 4,000 petroglyphs still intact in Sarmishsay. They are mainly located at the beginning of a narrow stone canyon of 2-2.5 km (approx. 1.5 miles) long. The paintings are made on vertical, and sometimes on horizontal outcroppings of reddish sandstone streaked with slate and limestone. Next to the petroglyphs the burial grounds of ancient nomads and some pagan altars are located. Since ancient times this territory has been a sacred zone, where locals performed their sacred ceremonies on holy days. The Petroglyphs of Sarmishsay give quite a comprehensive picture of local fauna thousands of years ago. Today most of the animals they portray, which once inhabited this area, have disappeared, unable to compete for food with man and domestic livestock. Most of the animals included in the stone “book” of the Sarmish Gorge now are extinct.
    Links: Relieves and Petroglyphs,,
  17. Khazarasp
    Xazorasp, Uzbekistan, is one of the most ancient cities of Central Asia. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on January of 2008. The name Xazorasp is a Persian word, meaning one thousand horses, and there are several legends about this city in Persian literature.
  18. Ak Astana-baba Mausoleum
    Ak Astana-baba MausoleumAk Astana-baba Mausoleum1Ak Astana-baba Mausoleum2
    Ak Astana-Baba is a mausoleum that is located in the Surxondaryo Province of Uzbekistan The mausoleum is being considered for inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The mausoleum has centric composition, square in plan and oriented to all World’s parts. The cubiform construction is flanked by guldusta towers and crowned by a well proportioned spherical, conical dome. The northeast, northwest and southwest walls of the interior have rather deep lancet bays with two twelve sided columns. The room with grave stone sagana is lightened by hole in sophit of the entrance arch. Façades are decorated by figured brickwork with wide vertical seams.
  19. Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum
    Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum
    Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum is located near the Samani Mausoleum, in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Its name means Job’s well, due to the legend in which Job (Ayub) visited this place and made a well by striking the ground with his staff. The water of this well is still pure and is considered healing. The current building was constructed during the reign of Timur and features a Khwarazm-style conical dome uncommon in Bukhara.
    Links: Museums and Galleries,,
  20. Arab-Ata Mausoleum
    Arab-Ata MausoleumArab-Ata Mausoleum2Arab-Ata Mausoleum3
    Description: The Arab-Ata mausoleum is located in the Samarqand Province of Uzbekistan. Built on top of a tepa, or triangular-shaped hill, in the 10th Century, the mausoleum fills an important gap in understanding the evolution of mausoleum architecture in Central Asia.
    Links: Top Ten Mausoleums,,
  21. Kanka
    A site of ancient settlement of Kanka in the territorial and administrative attitude is located in 80 km in the southeast from Tashkent, in the southeastern outskirts of Eltamgali settlement. It is the ancient and one of the large city centers of Tashkent oasis. Kanka is the first capital of Chach state, small estate of Kanguy. Monumental fortification walls with towers surround the huge territory of more than 160 hectares. There are three cities inside, allocated into each other, and each of them by own fortification, curtains and ditches. Inside-small town typical of antique plan, once it has affixed with other suspension bridge. In its northeast part rise the most powerful construction of the city-citadel-arch, with the height more than 40 meters with palace of governor, man-sided bastions and house temple. The total area is 220 hectares. Kanka divides into three parts; citadel, shakhristan, town territory and rabid, trade and commercial outskirt.
  22. Bonus: The Door to Hell
    The Door to HellThe Door to Hell1The Door to Hell2The Door to Hell3
    The Derweze area is rich in natural gas. While drilling in 1971, geologists tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of about 70 meters (230 ft). To avoid poisonous gas discharge, it was decided to burn it off. Geologists had hoped the fire would use all the fuel in a matter of days, but the gas still burns 40 years later. Locals have dubbed the cavern “The Door to Hell.” Next to capturing the gas, flaring is safer and friendlier to the environment than releasing the methane into the atmosphere, as methane is a relatively potent greenhouse gas with a high global warming potential. Turkmenistan plans to increase its production of natural gas. In April 2010, the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow visited the site and ordered that the hole should be closed, or other measures be taken to limit its influence on the development of other natural gas fields in the area.
    Links: Top Ten Gods of the Underworld, Top Ten Doors,,
  23. Mir-Sayid Bakhrom Mausoleum

    Mir-Sayid Bakhrom (or Mir Sayyed Bahram) Mausoleum is a mausoleum in Karman, Uzbekistan. Mir-Sayid Bakhrom has features similar to the Samanid Mausoleum in Bukhara, Arab-Ata, in the Samarkand region, and to the mausoleum of Oq Ostona Bobo in the Surkhandarya region.
    Links: Top Ten Mausoleum,,
  24. Siypantosh Rock Paintings
    The Siypantosh Rock Paintings are located throughout the southwestern portion of the Zarafshan mountains, Kashkadarya Region, Uzbekistan. The rock paintings are situated on the concave rock faces of granite-diorite outcrops. Images were painted in black, yellow and red-brown pigments, and include foot-shaped designs, a bull with curved horns, various animals, small hand prints, etc.
    Links: Top Ten Cave Paintings, Relieves and Petroglyphs,,
  25. Shokhimardon
    Shohimardon is a small town in Fergana Province in eastern Uzbekistan. It is an exclave of Uzbekistan, completely surrounded by Kyrgyzstan, in a valley in the Pamiro-Alai mountains. According to legend, the Caliph Ali was buried in Shohimardon. The Uzbek poet Hamza Hakimzade Niyazi lived and worked in Shohimardon until he was murdered there in 1929.
  26. Poykent
    Poykent, an ancient city in Uzbekistan, is located in the lower stream of Zarafshan River and was one of the largest cities of the oasis. The city consisted of a citadel, two settlements, and a rabod (suburb). Poykent is currently under consideration for inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  27. Varakhsha
  28. Shahruhiya
    Shahruhiya (Sharkiya) is a site of ancient settlement located 88 km to the southwest of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on the right coast of Syrdarya River. It is the first large city of the Tashkent oases, situated on the Great Silk Road through Yaksart (Syrdarya). In the oriental sources, it was famous under the name Benaket, and the portion of the Great Silk Road direction called by its name.
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