For the intrepid traveller, Uzbekistan holds some of Central Asia’s most spellbinding secrets. The heart of the ancient Silk Road that once stretched across Asia and Europe, this rugged and remote landscape is home to magnificent Persian fortresses and remote tribal villages, along with sprawling modern cities that are ushering in a new age for the Uzbek people. One such city is the capital of Tashkent, where the bustling Chorsu Bazaar rubs shoulders with wide, tree-lined Soviet avenues and beautiful Islamic mosques. Holding an almost mythical status for many a traveller, bewitchingly beautiful Samarkand offers a glimpse into Uzbekistan’s Silk Road history. The glittering minarets, imposing mosaic-clad mosques and mausoleums are the jewels of the city and represent some of the most impressive Islamic architecture in all of central Asia. Journey to the far west of Uzbekistan and you’ll be transported back in time, as you explore the original mud walls of the blue-washed 6th century city of Khiva. Discover the spiritual heart of the city at the Friday Mosque and the intricately tiled Kutli Murad Inak Medressa, that dates back over 300 years.
In southwest Uzbekistan, towards the border with Turkemistan, lies Bukhara, central Asia’s holiest city. Hidden amongst the maze of alleyways, bazaars and minarets are the ruins of the Ark fortress, the former residence of the emirs of Bukhara. With an almost museum-like quality, this immaculately preserved ancient city is also home to the 16th century Kalon Mosque and the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, resting place of the ancient Persian Samanid dynasty.