Uzbekistan is a Central Asian nation and former Soviet republic. It's known for its mosques, mausoleums and other sites linked to the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean. Samarkand, a major city on the route, contains a landmark of Islamic architecture: the Registan, a plaza bordered by 3 ornate, mosaic-covered religious schools dating to the 15th and 17th centuries.
Uzbekistan, a deserted landscape where time-stood still or, that’s what everyone thinks! In reality, Uzbekistan is a well-developing country with beautifully-tiled mosques, palaces with detailed ornaments, tasty food with their fresh vegetables and fruits, a high-speed train network and best of all, some of the friendliest and welcoming people out there. Plan to travel Uzbekistan with our 10-day itinerary.
Because of the temperature extremes in the summer and winter, spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) are the best time to visit Uzbekistan. The capital, Tashkent, sees spring and fall temperatures of a bearable 48°F to 72°F. Fall is particularly pleasant in many areas because this season is harvest time. Fresh fruit is widely available in the markets. Spring and fall are, of course, the high season. While rates go up, hotel accommodations, transport, and tours rarely become fully booked.
Currency: Uzbekistani soʻm
Official language: Uzbek
The territory that has come to be known as Uzbekistan has always been at the crossroads of the civilizations of Central Asia and the Middle East. The first inhabitants of Uzbekistan were said to be the Indo-Iranians, who came to the region in 1000 BC. These people d
eveloped irrigation of the rivers of the area and eventually, their settlements grew into the cities now known as some of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world: Bukhara, formerly known as Bukhoro, Samarkand, or Samarqand, and the capital of modern Uzbekistan, Tashkent, formerly known as Chash.
By the 5th century BC, these Uzbek cities, particularly Bukhara and Samarkand, were poised to assume their role in history as centers of trade and commerce, and naturally, crossroads of cultures. It was during this time when the civilizations of China and Europe began trading along a highway that came to be known as the Silk Road. Bukhara and Samarkand, the two major settlements of Transoxania province, became two of the wealthiest and most influential cities on this route through Central Asia. They have been declared UNESCO World Heritage sites for their long history, cultural legacy, and architectural heritage.
In 327 BC, the historic regions of Sogdiana and Bactria, both forming parts of modern Uzbekistan, came under the rule of the Macedonian king Alexander the Great. Uzbekistan hence became the northernmost reaches of the Macedonian Empire, which stretched from the Ionian Sea in the Mediterranean to the western portions of the Himalayas.
Modern Uzbekistan was only established in the 1900s, the better part of which Uzbekistan, along with other states in Central Asia, was under the firm hold of the Soviet Union. It was only in 1991 that Uzbekistan declared itself an independent and sovereign country, with September 1 now celebrated as Uzbekistan’s National Independence Day.
Having been at the crossroads of civilization, Uzbekistan has been home to many cultures. The majority group is the Uzbek, forming 71 percent of the population, followed by the Russians, the Tajiks, the Kazakhs, and other minority groups. The population of Uzbekistan is predominantly Muslim. However, during the Soviet era, religion was suppressed by the state, which sponsored anti-religious campaigns, closed down mosques, and deported devotees. The observance of Islam has gradually increased since the Soviets left.
Music is an important part of Uzbek culture. Shashmaqam, a form of classical music which originated in Bukhara is similar to classical Persian music, featuring six parts played in six modes, beginning at a low register and ascending gradually to a climax before coming back down again. Today, apart from special events, folk music lives on in religious and family events such as weddings.
There are a number of customs that travelers need to be aware of when in Uzbekistan. The traditional Uzbek bread called lipioshka should never be placed upside down or on the ground, even if wrapped in paper or plastic. Women should always wear modest clothes, never shorts, in public places. Displaying wealth such as jewelry is generally frowned upon.
Summers are cool and winter is mild. A cold climate with cool, dry summers covers the middle and high mountains of Nakhchivan AR between 1,000 and 3,000 meters (3,300 and 9,800 ft). Annual precipitation accounts for 50 to 100 percent of possible evaporation. Summers are cool, and winter is cold enough for snow.
Uzbekistan is a beautiful country with a rich history and amazing sightseeing in cities like Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva. Once, it was at the heart of the Silk Road and attracted traders from all over the world. Nowadays, the country is opening up and easing its visa regime and we have good news: Citizens of all western countries except for the United States can enter Uzbekistan visa-free for a duration of up to 30 days. The US citizens can easily get an electronic visa. You just need to fill out the online application, pay $20, and, within 3 days, you can download your visa upon email notification. So, now it is the perfect time to visit Uzbekistan as it has not yet become too touristy; however, it is climbing fast to the top of recommended places to visit on websites like Forbes, Huffington Post, and National Geographic, etc.
Citizens of eight CIS countries do not need a visa to visit Uzbekistan for up to 90 days: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine. Citizens of Kyrgyzstan do not need a visa for Uzbekistan for up to 60 days.
Citizens of the following countries do not need a visa for up to 30 days: All European Union citizens, Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vatican.
Citizens of China and Hong Kong can stay visa-free in Uzbekistan for 7 days, but only if they arrive via air.
E-Visa for other countries – for example, the United States or India
Citizens of other countries that cannot travel to Uzbekistan visa-free can easily get a single entry or multi-entry electronic visa for a stay of up to 30 days for just 20 USD. You can apply for an e-visa at least three days before your planned trip. The visa is valid for 30 days within 90 days period from the day you submitted the form. Just follow the instructions on the official electronic visa portal of Uzbekistan. You can pay by credit card on the website. You will get notified by email when the visa is ready for download. Just print out the visa and carry it with you on your trip to Uzbekistan.
Please note: if you book a trip with us, you don’t need to worry about the visa – we will get it for you.
A commonly misunderstood fact is that you would have to see Uzbekistan with a tour company – wrong! Uzbekistan’s rail network is a super convenient, affordable and overall great way to get around the country. The fast-trains are from the same quality as Italy or another European country.
Before you leave on your holiday, there are at least four health-related things you should do. Please check the handbook for specifics, but for now, here’s the short list:
Step 1: Check with the CDC for their recommendations for the countries you’ll be visiting.
Step 2: Have a medical checkup with your doctor.
Step 3: Pick up any necessary medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
Step 4: Have a dental and/or eye checkup. (Recommended, but less important than steps 1-3.)
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