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.
Trip Planning: The planning stage of your trip can be instrumental in its success and an enjoyable part of the experience itself. You have a world of options...and plenty to consider.
Entry and Exit formalities: Visitors must hold a passport valid for at least six months & beyond at the time of entering the country. Some nationalities can obtain visa on arrival and for nationalities who requires visa please refer to the Uzbekistan consulate website: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Transportation: Figuring out how to get around is one of your biggest pre-trip decisions. Get our holiday expert best advice on deciding between your options.
Based on your trip itinerary, our experts will help you choose wisely. You'll also find a wealth of practical travel tips.
Money: Use your money wisely. Know the best time to use cash or card — and how to avoid unnecessary fees either way — as well as tipping etiquette.
Phones and Technology: Phones and other smart devices can be huge time-savers...or expensive distractions. Get our tips for making the best use of technology during your trip, and for calling home with or without your own phone.
Packing Light: On your trip you'll meet two kinds of travelers: those who pack light and those who wish they had.
Sleeping and Eating: Your hotel and restaurant choices can be a matter-of-face chore…or they can provide rich opportunities to connect with locals and their culture.
Health & Hygiene: Take comfort: Doctors, hospitals, launderettes, and bathrooms aren’t that different. Dealing with them can even be part of the fun of travel.
Sightseeing & Activities: Once you're on the ground, the real fun begins…but it pays to have a thoughtful plan. Our experts will help you get oriented to your surroundings, use your sightseeing hours wisely, and find your way off the beaten path.
Things to see & do:
Tashkent- is the capital city of Uzbekistan. It’s known for its many museums and its mix of modern and Soviet-era architecture. The Amir Timur Museum houses manuscripts, weapons and other relics from the Timurid dynasty. Nearby, the huge State Museum of History of Uzbekistan has centuries-old Buddhist artifacts. The city’s skyline is distinguished by Tashkent Tower, which offers city views from its observation deck.
Samarkand - a city in Uzbekistan known for its mosques and mausoleums. It's on the Silk Road, the ancient trade route linking China to the Mediterranean. Prominent landmarks include the Registan, a plaza bordered by 3 ornate, majolica-covered madrassas dating to the 15th and 17th centuries, and Gur-e-Amir, the towering tomb of Timur (Tamerlane), founder of the Timurid Empire.
Bukhara - is an ancient city in the central Asian country of Uzbekistan. It was a prominent stop on the Silk Road trade route between the East and the West, and a major medieval center for Islamic theology and culture. It still contains hundreds of well-preserved mosques, madrassas, bazaars and caravanserais, dating largely from the 9th to the 17th centuries.
Khiva - is a city of approximately 90,000 people located in Xorazm Region, Uzbekistan. According to archaeological data, the city was established around 1500 years ago. It is the former capital of Khwarezmia and the Khanate of Khiva.
Andijan - is a city in Uzbekistan. It is the administrative, economic, and cultural center of Andijan Region. Andijan is located in the south-eastern edge of the Fergana Valley near Uzbekistan's border with Kyrgyzstan. Andijan is one of the oldest cities in the Fergana Valley.
Nukus - is the sixth-largest city in Uzbekistan and the capital of the Republic of Karakalpakstan. The Amu Darya river passes west of the town. The city is best known for its world-class Nukus Museum of Art.
Kokand - is a city in Fergana Region in eastern Uzbekistan, at the southwestern edge of the Fergana Valley. The city lies 228 km southeast of Tashkent, 115 km west of Andijan, and 88 km west of Fergana. It is nicknamed "City of Winds".
Termez - is a city in the southernmost part of Uzbekistan near the Hairatan border crossing of Afghanistan. It is the hottest point of Uzbekistan. It has a population of 140,404, and is the capital of Surxondaryo Region.
Namangan - is a city in eastern Uzbekistan. It is the administrative, economic, and cultural center of Namangan Region. Namangan is located in the northern edge of the Fergana Valley, less than 30 km from the Kyrgyzstan border. The city is served by Namangan Airport.
Urgench - is a city in western Uzbekistan. It is the capital of the Khorezm Region, on the Amu Darya River and the Shavat canal. The city is situated 450 km west of Bukhara across the Kyzylkum Desert.
Shakhrisabz - is a city in Qashqadaryo Region in southern Uzbekistan located approximately 80 km south of Samarkand with a population of 100,300. It is located at an altitude of 622 m.
Navoiy, also spelled Navoi, - is a city and the capital of Navoiy Region in the southwestern part of Uzbekistan. It is located at latitude 40° 5' 4N; longitude 65° 22' 45E, at an altitude of 382 meters. The city is named after Ali-Shir Nava'i. As of the 2007 census, its population was 125,800 inhabitants.
Qarshi - is a city in southern Uzbekistan. It is the capital of Qashqadaryo Region and has a population of 197,600. It is about 520 km south-southwest of Tashkent, and about 335 km north of Uzbekistan's border with Afghanistan.
Fergana, or Ferghana, is the capital of Fergana Region in eastern Uzbekistan. Fergana is about 420 km east of Tashkent, about 75 km west of Andijan, and less than 20 km from the Kyrgyzstan border. While the area has been populated for thousands of years, the modern city was founded in 1876.
Jizzakh -is a city and the center of Jizzakh Region in Uzbekistan, northeast of Samarkand.
Margilan - is a city in Fergana Region in eastern Uzbekistan. It is located at latitude 40°28' 16 N: longitude 71°43' 29 E. at an altitude of 487 meters. According to European legend, Margilan was founded by Alexander the Great. On a lunch stop, he was given chicken and bread, from which the town took its name.
Nurafshon - is a town and the administrative centre of Tashkent Region in Uzbekistan. The population of the town is estimated at 21,000. Until 2017, the town was known as Toytepa.
Moʻynoq, also spelled as Muynak and Moynaq - is a city in northern Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic in Uzbekistan. Formerly a sea port on the Aral Sea, it is now 150 km from the water and thus is a disaster tourism destination. It is also the location for the biggest electronic music festival in Central Asia.
Guliston formerly known as Mirzachul, - is the capital of Sirdaryo Region in eastern Uzbekistan. It lies in the southeastern part of the Mirzachül steppe, 120 kilometres southwest of Tashkent. The main industry in the area is cottonpicking.
Angren - is a city in eastern Uzbekistan. The city is located on the Angren River 70 mi to the east of Tashkent. The City of Angren was created in 1946 from the villages of Jigariston, Jartepa, Teshiktosh, and Qoʻyxona which had emerged in the rich Angren coal basin during World War II.
Chirchiq also spelled as Chirchik - is a city in Tashkent Region, Uzbekistan, about 32 km northeast of Tashkent, along the river Chirchiq. Chirchiq lies in the Chatkal Mountains.
Rishton - is a town in Fergana Region, in Uzbekistan, about halfway between Kokand and Fergana. It is located at latitude 40°21'24N longitude 71°17'5E, and at an elevation of 471 meters. Rishton is one of the most famous and oldest centers of ceramics in Uzbekistan.
Olmaliq also spelled as Almalyk - is a city in the Tashkent Region of central Uzbekistan, approximately 65 km east of Tashkent. It is located at latitude 40° 50' 41N; longitude 69° 35' 54E; at an altitude of 585 meters.
Yangiyer - is a city in Sirdaryo Region, Eastern Uzbekistan. It was established in 1957 as part of the grand Soviet project to cultivate the naturally saline virgin lands of Golodnaya Steppe, a vast area of about 10,000 square kilometres in Eastern Uzbekistan.
Bekabad, formerly Begovat - is a city in eastern Uzbekistan. It lies along both banks of the Syr Darya River near Uzbekistan's border with Tajikistan. Bekabad originally arose in connection with a cement plant. It received the status of a city in 1945. Until 1964, the city was known as Begovat.
Yangiyoʻl also rendered Yangiyul - is a 13th city in Uzbekistan's Tashkent Region, 20 km from the city of Tashkent. Industry in the area includes textiles and paper. In recent years, the city has had an outbreak of HIV, most prevalent among users of injected drugs like heroin.
Asaka - is a city and the administrative center of Asaka District in eastern Uzbekistan, located in the southeastern edge of the Fergana Valley near Uzbekistan's border with Kyrgyzstan. Asaka underwent rapid industrialization during the Soviet era.
Chust -is a city in eastern Uzbekistan. It is the administrative center of Chust District. The City of Chust is located in the northern corner of the Fergana Valley along the river Chustsoy. Chust is one of the oldest cities in the Fergana Valley. The Fergana automobile road passes through the city.
Kogon - is a town and seat of Kogon District in Bukhara Region in Uzbekistan. The city was named Yangi Buxoro until 1935. The city has a railway station, Bukhara-1, serving the city of Bukhara, which is located 12 km from Kogon.
Qoʻngʻirot - also spelled as Kungrad and Kungirot, formerly known as Zheleznodorozhny, is a town in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan, located in the Amu Darya delta on the left bank of the river.
Vobkent - is a town in the Bukhara Region 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. Vabkent is situated ca. 28 km from the city of Bukhara.
Zarafshan - is a city of over 68,000 inhabitants in the center of Uzbekistan's Navoiy Region. Located in the Kyzylkum desert, it receives water from the Amudarya by a 220-km pipeline. Zarafshan is called "the gold capital of Uzbekistan".
Gʻuzor - also spelled as Guzar is a town in Qashqadaryo Region of Uzbekistan. It serves as the administrative center of Guzar District. Polish War Cemetery in Guzar.
Denov - is a town in Surxondaryo Region of southeast Uzbekistan, the administrative centre of Denov District. It is in the Hissar Range close to the border with Tajikistan, and is the closest major town to the Kalchayan and Dalverzin Tepe archaeological sites.
Uchquduq - is a city in the north of Navoiy Region, Uzbekistan. The city's name means "three draw-wells" in Uzbek. It is located at 42°9′24″N 63°33′20″E, at an altitude of 193 meters in the middle of the Kyzyl Kum Desert.
Beruniy - is a small city in the Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan. It is located on the northern bank of the Amu Darya near Uzbekistan's border with Turkmenistan. The city is the seat of Beruniy District. Historically, Beruniy was known as Kath and served as the capital of Khwarezm during the Afrighid dynasty.
Qorasuv - is a town in Qo‘rg‘ontepa District of Andijan Region in eastern Uzbekistan, about 50 km from the district capital of Andijan. The town's name means "black water" in Uzbek. It lies in the politically volatile and religiously conservative Fergana Valley, along the border with Kyrgyzstan.
Uchqoʻrgʻon - is a city and seat of Uchqoʻrgʻon District in Namangan Province in eastern Uzbekistan. In 1969 Uchqoʻrgʻon was granted city status. The city has cotton-cleaning and oil-extracting factories.
Qorakoʻl - also spelled as Karakul is a town in the Bukhara Region of Uzbekistan. It is the capital of Qorakoʻl District. "Qoraqo'l" means "black lake" in Uzbek language. The town population in 1989 year was 16 650 people.
Quva, or Quva - is the capital of Quva district in eastern Uzbekistan. Quva is about 450 km east of Tashkent, about 46 km west of Andijan, and less than 17 km from the Kyrgyzstan border.
Urgut - is a town in the Samarqand Region of Uzbekistan and the capital of Urgut District. It is known for the grove of plane trees, some of which are more than 1000 years old. Urgut is located in mountainous areas. Urgutlik people are a subgroup of ethnic Uzbeks who track their ancestry to people from a town of Urgut.
Khast Imam - This collection of mosques and madrasas in the centre of Tashkent is home to what is supposed to be the worlds oldest Qur’an.
Chorsu Bazaar - The chaotic network of stalls, outdoor food stands and wholesalers is everything you would expect from a Central Asian bazaar at the centre of the old silk road. Often believed to be housed within this blue dome picture below, stalls and food stands radiate for what seems like forever.
The Soviet Mosaics - Tashkent is home to some impressive Soviet architecture, however Shota Rustaveli Street, South East of the Grand Mir hotel has a number of old Soviet era tower blocks decked out in some rather fantastic mosaics.
Kolkouz Canal - This canal runs from very close to the Chitagay Bazar, near Tinchlik subway all the way to Khast Imam. With narrow alleyways decorated by old Lada’s and crawling vines, this is an excellent place to explore and get to know old Tashkent.
Minor Mosque - This huge white marble mosque was built between 2013-2014 under the orders of the country’s then-leader, Islam Karimov.
Amir Timur Square - is the most famous Central Asian conqueror in history. At its largest, the empire stretched from the borders of Western China all the way to Turkey.
Navor Theatre - The Navoi Theatre is the best place to catch a ballet show in Tashkent. The small ticket office outside the theatre has a schedule posted on the window.
Mausoleums as Tashkent Islamic University - Exploring this part of Tashkent can easily be combined with a visit to Druzhba Narodov and Navoi Park. Within the grounds of Tashkent University lies the Sheikhantaur Memorial Complex. The three remaining mausoleums (originally there were 16) are quite easy to find once you enter the University.
Navoi Park - The huge expanse of green has lots of shady areas and trees to escape Uzbekistan’s oppressive heat. Expect to find plenty Timur statues as well others commemorating famous Uzbek poets, musicians and writers. Around the fringes of the park, there are some restaurants, shops and food stalls if you want to grab some manti and shashlik and have yourself a picnic in the shade.
Plov Uzbekistan’s National Dish - No visit to Uzbekistan is complete without eating some plov. Supposedly the Central Asian Plov Centre serves the best in all of Central Asia.
Islam Karimov Museum - This museum is dedicated to the countries’ former authoritarian leader Islam Karimov who died in 2016. This is definitely one of the least touristy places in Tashkent. He had been president of Uzbekistan since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. An authoritarian leader responsible for numerous human rights abuses, the most notorious being the Andijan massacre in 2005.
Chimgan Canyon - Located 2 hours or so north of Tashkent is the Chimgan canyon, home to hiking, rafting and skiing amongst other things.
Museum of Railways Techniques - Fancy spending a morning climbing around a bunch of old Soviet trains? If so then this is the place for you! There are certainly some dodgy restoration jobs on display, but it’s definitely an interesting place to check out.
Registan - By far one of the most popular places to visit in Samarkand, the Registan was the very heart of the ancient city. It has gained worldwide fame with its grand architecture.
Ulugh Beg Madrasah - This Madrasah was built from 1417 to 1420 by Ulugh Beg during the Timurid dynasty. Ulugh Beg was a scientist on the throne. He was a prominent astronomer of his times and was a big promoter of education, science and art. It is a religious educational institution in Samarkand. It was among the best universities of the Muslim Orient in the 15th Century CE.
Tilya-Kori Madrasah - was the last madrasah to be built and was constructed between 1646–1660. Tilya-Kori means covered in gold, and it is known as the largest and most glorious structure of the Registan Square. This is referring to the lavish gold decoration of its mosque domed chamber. In the 17th century, it was the largest mosque in Samarkand. Right up to the 19th century, this madrassah mosque was used by the people, but from the beginning of the 20th century, it served as a monument.
Sher-Dor Madrasah - was built on a place of ruins of Khanaka of Ulugh Beg between 1619–1636. It was ordered by Yalangtush Bakhodur who was the ruler of Samarkand in the 17th century. The name translates to “Madrassah of the Lions”. It was named after the mosaic motif on the upper part of its entrance portal, known as ‘Tiglon’.
BIBI-Khanym Mosque - one of the most important and top Samarkand attractions in the entire city. The story goes that Tamerlane’s wife ordered the construction of this beautiful mosque sometime between 1399 and 1405, after his successful campaign through India. The architect fell madly in love with his wife, and delayed the building of the mosque. He kissed the lady on the cheek, leaving a burn on her skin, which angered Timur when he returned from India.
Siab Bazaar - is the oldest and largest bazaar in Samarkand, and is literally next door to Bibi-Khanym Mosque. Over time the bazaar has been modernised but still has its unique and interesting charm.
Khoja gaukushan - is the largest architectural complex in Bukhara with a mosque, a madrassah and a minaret. It is in a quiet corner that used to be less peaceful. Gaukushan means killing of the bulls and this was once the place where cows were sold and slaughtered.
Bukhara Photo Gallery - In a former caravan serai opposite the Khoja Gaukushan complex is a small private photo gallery. The pictures are beautiful and reflect daily scenes of Uzbek life. Entrance is free, but of course they hope you buy one of their pictures in postcard or poster format.
Lyab I Haus pond - is surrounded by some of the top things to do in Bukhara. You could say that this pond is the heart of the city and every day the teahouses are full with both locals and tourists.
Chor minor - is among the top things to do in Bukhara. It is a bit of a mystery what this building was used for and why it’s architecture is rather unique. For sure it was not a mosque, even though the towers seem to resemble minarets.
Ulugbek & Abdil Aziz Khan Medressah - Ulugbeg more often in Uzbekistan. He ruled the Timurid empire in the 15th century, but was actually more interested in astronomy, science and arts. He coudn’t establish his power as a ruler, but he was able to build the Ulug Beg observatory in Samarkand and two madrassah’s. One in Samarkand and one in Bukhara.
Merchant Khojaev House -If you want to see how wealthy merchants in Bukhara used to live in the 19th century you can pay a visit to the Khodjaev house museum. Faizulla Khojaev was a leader of the young Bukhara political party and fought for equal rights and democracy. People in Bukhara still remember him and his family home was turned into a museum that offers a glimpse of life in the 19th century.
Kalyon Complex - For centuries religious complexes have been built, destroyed and rebuild at the Po-i-Kalyan complex. First it was Zoroastrian fire towers then it became islamic structures. Now the Po-i-Kalyan is most famous for the 12th century Kalyan minaret. The current mosque and madrassah are from the 16th century and the Kalyan mosque was built to rival the Bibi Khanum mosque in Samarkand.
Samonid Park - offers a nice break from the hectic city. Even here you find history with the Samanid mausoleum. It doesn’t look that impressive, but it is one of the oldest buildings in Bukhara. It is also unique because it combines both Zoroastrian elements with Islamic ones. Inside are the remains of Ismail Samani that ruled Bukhara in the 9th century.
Sukhov Water Tower - When we arrived in Bukhara in April 2019 the water tower built by Soviet engineer Vladimir Sukhov in 1920 had just reopened as a tourist attraction. It was already very popular with locals and tourists alike. On the second floor is a pricey restaurant and on the third floor the viewing deck with a nice view on the Arc of Bukhara.
Bolo Hauz Mosque - What it lacks in grandeur and size is compensated by its beautiful intricate patterns and decorations. Don’t forget to look up, because the ceilings are amazing.
Ark of Bukhara - was meant to keep Bukhara’s rulers safe and the fortifications that were built as early as the 5th century are a city in its own right. The museums inside tell the story of Bukhara’s magnificent history. A visit to the Arc is among the top things to do in Bukhara, even if you just come to see the impressive entrance gate and city walls from the outside.
Greater Chimgan of the Chatkal Mountain range - is located in the territory of the Ugam-Chatkal National Park, and it is in the Bostanlyk administrative district, Uzbekistan. The Chimgan village was settled 400–500 years ago in the mountain massive of dominant the Greater Chimgan peak, at an altitude of 1,620 m.
Hotel Uzbekistan - One of the things you love the most about traveling to ex-Soviet countries is visiting Soviet buildings. They are massive, old-fashioned and made of concrete. In Tashkent, the best Soviet building is the Hotel Uzbekistan, whose size won’t leave you indifferent. I believe that each window must be a room.
Weird statues - Some places in Tashkent are filled with very strange things that seem like a joke. From statues of animals that look like they were stoned to creepy characters and the weird couple from below, I wonder if they are aimed at unhappy kids or the artist was just completely high. One interesting place to see these things is the park next to Gafur Gulom station.