Exploring Uzbekistan

The Silk Road shaped the world we know today, unexpectedly more than the Roman Empire. Winding from Europe to Asia, Russia to the Indian Subcontinent, and all places in between, it was alongside this complex of contemporary trading routes that people, ideas, inventions, and goods secured their way.

Uzbekistan is at the center of the Silk Road, and waiting to be unearthed. It’s faster and simpler than ever before to reach there: from London to Tashkent, Uzbekistan Airways also flies directly, thrice a week and the consulate in London can turn around a tourist visa application in a short number of days sans the requirement for a letter of invitation.

What are the fascinating places which make Uzbekistan a must-visit destination? As someone who is  fortunate enough to have travelled to  almost every corner of the country, here are my suggestions as to what you should go see, do, and experience in Uzbekistan:

Top of the list is visiting the great Silk Road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva, the well-loved architectural masterpieces for centuries. These cities are bejeweled with majolica tiles, stained glass, gilded ceilings, and exquisite paintings and carvings and are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Tourists usually head straight for the Registan Square in Samarkand, which is contained by the three Madrassahs (Islamic schools), the first of which dates back to the 15th century. You will see the facade of the Sher. It represents strange tigers with human faces upon their backs.

My most-liked site in Samarkand, however, is a 10-minute walk off. It’s known as the Shah-i Zinda, and it is an exceptional necropolis of decorated tombs, some of which are more than 1,000 years old.

Together they will take you in awe as each of the mausoleums in the complex is distinct and beautiful.

For every travel, nothing beats the food finds! Uzbek food is not entirely known outside of Uzbekistan. The aroma of the grilled meats, soups, and plov (the local form of pilau, or biryani) will have your mouth enticing. Uzbekistan is a vital grower of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts, so you can expect to spend a lot of your visit munching on healthy treats.

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