SITES IN UZBEKISTAN
Valley Khiva Kunya
is the city, which has been growing constantly at
one and the same place beginning from the 4th
century BC. Bukhara preserves treasures of architecture
of the pre-Mongol period. The total number of monuments
is above 400. Bukhara is regarded the largest open-air
museum in Central Asia.
"Bukhara-I-Sharif" - "Noble",
"Holy" is one of the numerous epithets that
were bestowed on this ancient city.
The word Bukhara originates in Sanskrit from the word
"vikhara", meaning monastery. It is said
to have had the best of monastic establishments during
its Buddhist days.
Narshaki wrote "The History of Bukhara"
in the 10th century. It gave rise to a legend, which
names Siavush to be the founder of Bukhara. Siavush,
a son of a Persian Shah murdered by Afrosiab, a king
of Turan, was worshipped in antiquity as a god.
researches and evidences of ancient authors testify that it
existed already in the 5th millennium BC, when
the tribes of hunters and fishermen came to live in the lower
reaches of the Zerafshan river.
later history, the territory of Bukhara was a part
of Achaemenid Persia, Alexander the Great Empire,
the Seleucid domain, the Greek-Bactrian kingdom, the
Kushan empire and the Ephtalites state, the Turkic
kaganate, the Arabic caliphate, the empires of Jenghis
Khan and Timurids, the Shaybanid state.
The much known history of Bukhara begins with the
arrival of Arabs in the 8th century AD.
After the settling of Arabs and subsequent conversion
of its indigenous population to Islam Bukhara took
a new turn when the local dynasties were established.
During the rule of Samanids in the 9th
century it was the best time for Bukhara. Later Bukhara
fell to the Karakhanids and then to the rule of Khorezmshahs
that is regarded as the era of great merits in arts
and crafts. This was the time when great scholars
like Avicenna, Al-Beruni and Narshaki contributed
to the advancement of sciences and literature.
invasion of Genghis Khan's Mongol hordes greatly destroyed
the city and all aspects of life were disturbed for
a long time. It was only during the later Genghisids
and the Timurid dynasty that the city once again raised
to its prominence. After a long series of wars and
battles between the later Timurids in the 16th
century it became the place of reign of the Shaybanids,
which lasted for a long time.
Under the Astarkhanid dynasty (17th century),
the Silk Road's decline slowly pushed Bukhara out
of the mainstream.In 1740 the Persian King Nadir Shah
conquered Bukhara. He left a local lord Muhammad Rahim
as a governor in Bukhara. The governor proclaimed
himself emir and founded the dynasty of Mangits.
It was the darkest period in the history of Bukhara. This
dynasty ruled up to 1920 until the Bolsheviks came. The constant
decay in ruling systems of Bukhara invited once again the
foreign dominance with the result that the last emir had to
run for his life's sake to the neighbouring country.
60-70s of the 19th century Russia conquered Bukhara.
Emir's army was weak and was not ready to fight against the
Russians. In 1868 the army of Bukhara was defeated. Due to
emir's desire, a peaceful treaty was signed, and Bukharan
Khanate became the vassalage of Russia.
1920 Red Army troops captured Bukhara, the Bukhara People's
Republic was proclaimed and it was absorbed in 1924 into the
newly created Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic.
City tour 01-Half-day
Ark Citadel. This Royal town-within-a-town is the home
of the rulers of Bukhara for over a millennium. The Ark is
as old as Bukhara itself. The fortress was the focus around
which the medieval town developed.
Bolo-Khauz Mosque (1712), opposite the Ark, it was
the emir's official place of worship. The painted porch, supported
by 20 columns was added in 1917.
The architectural ensemble of Poi-Kalon (Pedestal of
the Great), the religious heart of Holy Bukhara, consists
of the Kalon Minaret, Kalon Mosque and Mir-i-Arab Madrasah.
The Kalon Minaret (1127) is one of the defining symbols
of Bukhara. The minaret is 9 metres in diameter at the foundation
and grows slightly narrower at its 46-metre height. The minaret
is exquisite not only in its magnificence but also for ornamental
The Kalon Mosque is the biggest Friday mosque in Bukhara
for 10.000 people, built in the 16th century on
the site of an earlier mosque destroyed by Genghis Khan.
The Mir-I-Arab Madrasah (16th century) was
built by Ubaidullah Khan (Shaybanid ruler) and named for a
16th century well-known Sheikh Abdulla Jemeny.
It was Central Asia's only functioning madrasah in Soviet
times and the most prestigious educational establishment for
Covered Bazaars (trading city's cupolas - of the 15-16th
centuries) were among dozens of specialised bazaars in the
town built at the junction of caravan routes. Four major cupolas
of the building of merchants have survived in Bukhara. Toki-Sarafon
(cupola of moneychangers), Toki-Telpak Furushon (cupola of
the sellers of hats), Toki-Zargaron (cupola of jewellers),
Abdullakhan Tim (a centre of silk sales).
The Ulugbek Madrasah (1417) is one of the three madrasahs
built in Uzbekistan by Timur's grandson Ulugbek. Everything
in it is characteristic of Ulugbek architecture: clarity of
the design, excellent proportions and understated decorative
The Abdul Aziz Khan Madrasah is located opposite the
Ulugbek Madrasah. The Astrakhanid Ruler of the same name began
its construction in 1652, but the decoration left unfinished
when he was driven away by the first of the Mangit emirs.
Magoki-Attori Mosque (12-16th centuries)
is one of the last remnants of a symbolic architecture of
various periods and religions. Its cupolas are slightly above
the level of ground because the building is deeply stuck in
the centuries - old cultural layers. Under this mosque archaeologists
found the bits of a 5th century Zoroastrian temple
wrecked by the Arabs, and an earlier Buddhist temple.
Lyabi-Khauz Ensemble is the heart of Bukhara. Lyabi-Khauz
Ensemble shows that the Bukharan architectural traditions
remain alive. A high-ranking official named Nadir Divan-Begi
built it in 1620 and some parts of it are still well preserved
- Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah (1622), Nadir Divan-Begi Khonako
(1620) and Kukeldash Madrasah (1568-1569).
City tour 02 - Half-day
Mausoleum (the family tomb of the Samanid Dynasty from
the end of the 9th - beginning of the 10th
century) is a pearl of the East with traces of Sogdian culture.
It is one of the first monuments on the territory of Central
Asia built from burned brick.
Chashma Ayub (the Spring of Biblical Job) Mausoleum was
built in the 12th century over a spring. Legend
says Job struck his staff on the ground here and a spring
appeared. Its middle domes were added in the 14th
century, the front one in the 16th century.
Chor Minor (four minarets) is a monument of later period,
built in 1807. Its four-domed minarets bear features of Indian
style because it was built by for an Indian merchant.
City tour 03 - Half-day
(palace of Moon and Stars) is a summer palace (built by
Russian architect in 1911) of Amir Alimkhan - the last ruler
of Bukhara. The architecture of the building combines European
and Central Asian styles. Now it is a museum with the good
collection of items of that time. The entrance to the main
exhibits opens with White Hall, the reception hall of the
former Emir, decorated with excellent stucco carving on mirror
background. Other halls of the palace are also worth seeing.
Bakhauddin Nakshbandi Ensemble is 12 km from Bukhara.
This mazar (cemetery) was considered to be the main
holy place of Bukhara and Khodja Bakhauddin Nakshbandi (1318-1389)
was its patron. It was believed that a three times pilgrimage
to his tomb was equal in significance to the pilgrimage to
a far sacred Kaaba stone in Mecca. top
is one of the important cities on the Great Silk Road with
a very ancient history. Its name is translated as "key"
or "small fort" from Sogdian. Before the Arab invasion
it was one of the biggest cities of Ustrushana. Today it is
one of provincial centres of Uzbekistan.
nature lovers Djizak is a perfect resort spot among the Turkestan
ranges, comprising southeastern part of the Golodny Steppe
and the fringes of the Kyzylkum Desert. The Aidorkul water
reserve adds to the beauty of this region, providing a temporary
base for migrating flocks of birds to and from Siberia, using
this place as a huge bird sanctuary in spring.
City tour 01:
day excursion to Aidorkul Lake. Travel to the brims of the
Kyzylkum desert area on camel back.
Nurata Nature reserve is known for its beautiful mountain
scenery with Alpine forests of hazelnuts, birches and hawthorn
thickets. It is a home for rich wildlife with wild sheep,
bears, foxes, wolves, etc.
Tamerlane's Gates is the narrowest place in Pass of
Jilonute in Turkestan Range. It has witnessed many bloody
battles and has two inscriptions. One belongs to Ulugbek and
another - to Abdullah Khan, Emir of Bukhara.
heartland of Uzbekistan, as the valley of Ferghana is known,
is the densely populated part of the country with a majority
of ethnic Uzbeks. Ferghana is the most fertile part of Uzbekistan,
with large agricultural output. The Chatkal range of the Tian
Shan in the north surrounds the valley, with the Pamir-Alai
in the south from where the Syr Darya River starts flowing
through the valley. So the region looks like a huge bowl.
Ferghana valley is considered to be a big blossoming oasis
of Central Asia. That's why Ferghana Valley is called "The
valley's best-known son is probably Zaheruddin Mohammad Babur
(Timur's great-great-great grandson), the last Timurid and
the first Moghul, the founder of India's Moghul Empire in
the 16th century.
valley of Ferghana was renown for its swift and intelligent
horses, bred since ancient times. During the reign of emperor
Wuti, Chinese are known to have sent several expeditions for
acquiring the prized horses. The brisk trading on the Great
Silk Road brought Ferghana into the limelight of history.
The legions of Alexander the Great skirted the valley in the
southern part and after subduing the land, he is said to have
founded Alexandria Eskhata. Later on having withstood various
ruling dynasties, the most flourishing period of the history
of Ferghana opens with the settling of Mongol hordes grouped
into various fiefdoms. The Khanate of Kokand became the base
of powerful Uzbek clans with control as far as Yarkand in
China. From the early 19th century, the Khanate
of Kokand expanded for beyond Ferghana into Central Asia's
third power. The powerful Khanate crumbled under the weight
of its mismanagement with the Russians giving the final blow
when it was incorporated into the territories of Tsarist Russia.
The cities of the Ferghana valley were taken by the Tsar's
troops in 1876 with little effort and the Khanate was dissolved.
Bolsheviks succeeded Tsarist colonisation in 1924.
The overall territory of Ferghana Valley is 77,900 square
km with the population of 9 million people.
The valley of Ferghana is a home for several historical towns
Margilan: it is known for the best of Silk factory-
Yodgorlik weaving the traditional methods.
Rishtan: is the pottery town for the traditional blue
glazed floral designs.
Andijan: the city of Babur, his birthplace -the museum
and house of Ark Icchi and the grand bazaar of Andijan.
Kokand: is the seat of Khanate - Palace of the last
ruler Khudayar Khan.
Valley tour 01:
City is the administrative centre of Ferghana region.
Its territory is 70 square km and the population is 230,000
history of the city dates back to 1877. It was decided to
build a new city 12 km from the old town of Marghilan. Initially
it was named as new Marghilan. In 1924 the city was named
present Ferghana is an important industrial centre of Uzbekistan.
Regarding the capacity of production Ferghana stands on the
second place in Uzbekistan after Tashkent.
(1st century BC). Marghilan's best-known son is
Zaheruddin Mohammad Babur, the founder of India's Moghul Empire
in the 16th century. As legend says the name of
Marghilan is linked with the invasion of Alexander the Great
to Central Asia in the 4th century BC Alexander
the Great had passed the way from Khojand to Uzghen and back.
During that campaign he visited twice the settlement that
was long after named Marghilan. Local people met Alexander
with bread and chicken. He liked the meal and asked about
it. He received a reply: Murginon which meant chicken and
bread. From that memorable day the town was named as Marghilan.
old days Marghilan has been famous for its wonderful and fine
silk. Via the Great Silk Road traders brought Margilanian
silk to Baghdad, Cairo and Athens.
Nowadays the population of Marghilan is 165,000 people with
the territory of 50 square km. Marghilan is the silk production
center of Uzbekistan.
souvenir factory Yodgorlik still is the only one in
Central Asia where original handmade methods of silk production
have remained. Silk fabric manufactured here is considered
as one of the best in the international market.
Rishton is 50 km to the west of Ferghana City. Since
ancient times Rishton was famous for its ceramics. There are
deposits of red clay, natural minerals and abundance of mountainous
vegetation that is needed for painting process. Rishton artisans
became famous all over the world for their technology of ceramic
Kokand City is situated in the western part of the
Ferghana Valley and it was its capital from 1709 to 1876.
The Great Silk Road had played a major role in the development
of the city.
territory of the Kokand Khanate included nearly the whole
territory of present Uzbekistan. There were 29 khans in the
history of the Khanate. The most outstanding ruler was its
last khan - Khudoyar. From 1845 to1876, just before the annexation
of the Kokand Khanate to Russia, Khudoyar-Khan was the ruler
of the state.
Many mosques and madrasahs were built during Khudoyar-Khan's
Khudoyar Khan Palace - was built in 1860 -1872 in magnificent
style with seven courtyards and 113 rooms. Only two courtyards
and 19 rooms have survived. The Palace occupied four hectares.
Tsarist troops blew up its fortifications. At present the
palace houses the museum of history.
Narbutabey Madrasah - the largest religious school
in Kokand, closed by the Bolsheviks in 1799, reopened again
in the years of independence of the republic, instructing
nearly 80 students.
Madari Khan Mausoleum - was built, on the main cemetery,
in 1825 for the khan's mother by the best architects of the
Dakhma-i-Shokhon (Grave of the Kings) - was the family
mausoleum of the Kokand khans, built during the rule of Umar
Khan (1809-1822) who was also buried here. The mausoleum,
as well as a prayer place, is surrounded by a beautiful fence.
The entrance doors are decorated with carved inscriptions
in Arab, taken from Koran, as well as verses written by Umar
Khan himself. For a long time, the mausoleum was dilapidated
and turned to ruins. In 1971 it was completely reconstructed
by local handicraftsmen.
Valley tour 02:
is situated in the southeast of the Ferghana Valley and
is surrounded by high mountains and hills.
The history of the city goes back to the 9th century
AD. In ancient times the Great Silk Road passed through this
town, which was known as the eastern gate of the Ferghana
Valley. In the 10th century Andijan was the part
of the Samanids Empire. In 1483 Zaheruddin Babur was born
here, and Andijan became the capital of the Ferghana State
and its major Silk Road trading center. Later Babur had to
go to Afghanistan and he ruled Kabul for two decades, then
in 1526 he marched into Delhi and founded the Moghul Empire
in India. The dynasty of the Babur's had ruled India for more
than 300 years.
The Babur Literary Museum - is situated behind the
bazaar, occupying the site of the royal apartments, where
Babur lived and studied in Ark-Ichi, the town's citadel that
exists no more.
Juma Mosque & Madrasah - built in the 19th
century, is said to be the only building to survive the 1902
earthquake. It is also a regional museum with historical exhibits
on display. top
the north-western part of Uzbekistan, on the left bank of
the Amu-Darya River, in the transition zone between the sultry
deserts of Karakum and Kyzylkum lie the lands of ancient Khorezm
is an ancient city in the lower reaches of the Amu-Darya River.
Khorezm's agriculture and settlements go back to four, perhaps
six, millennia. So, Khiva may be very old. The legend holds
that it was founded when biblical Shem, the son of Noah, discovered
a well here; the people called it Kheivak, from which the
name Khiva is said to have originated.
the archaeological data proves that the city already existed
as early as the 6th -8th century. First
it appeared as a stopping place and later as a caravan-saroi
on the ancient trade road to the Caspian Sea and the Volga
River. But while Khorezm prospered on and off from the 10th
to the 14th centuries, its capital was at old Urgench
(Kunya-Urgench). The changing moods of the Amu-Darya compelled
the population of Kunya-Urgench to move to a more safer and
habitable place and there was none but Khiva. In the 14th
century it appeared prominent among the towns of Khorezm.
It became the capital of Khorezm in the 16th century
(the later more appropriately known as the Khanate of Khiva).
For a very long time the local rulers were fighting against
the tribal incursions from the neighbouring lands. The early
years of the Khanate were racked by instability, infighting
and invasion. In 1740 Khiva was wrecked by Nadir Shah, and
Khorezm became for a while a northern outpost of the Persian
By the end of the 18th century it began taking
a small share in the growing trade between Russia and the
Bukhara and Kokand Khanates. Khiva had a slave market, the
biggest in Central Asia. At the beginning of the 19th
century Khiva developed into a prominent cultural centre.
The Khanate spread from the Aral Sea to Merv. Expansionist
Russian policy always threatened the very existence of Khiva,
which was finally taken over in 1873. The enfeebled Khanate
struggled on. However, the Khanate was fast approaching the
end of its life and in 1920 the "Khorezm People's Republic"
was proclaimed in its place. In 1922 the region gained promotion
to a Soviet Republic and in 1924 joined the Soviet Union as
a part of Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic.
city tour 01 - Half-day
Ichan Kala - the heart of the city where most architectural
and historical monuments are located. It is so-called inner
city surrounded by a wall 2.2 km long. Ichan Kala with tall
minarets and domed roofs surrounded by dwelling buildings
represents rich traditions of popular oriental architecture:
monumental shapes, fine carved pillars, doors and ceilings,
original patterns, and bright and colourful majolica.
Mohammed Amin Khan Madrasah - is the biggest seminary
of the city, erected in 1852-1855. Now it is a guesthouse
The Kalta Minor or Short Minaret - was built in 1852
under one of the most ambitious projects of the ruling khan.
It was intended to be the tallest minaret in the Islamic world,
but abandoned in the wake of the khan's death at 26 metres.
Kunya Ark - is the fortified citadel at the centre
of the city, also the residence of the rulers of Khiva, a
city within a city, first built in the 12th century
by Oq Shish-Bobo, and then expanded by the khans in the 17th
century. Archaeologists have conducted excavations on a one-hectare
area under the citadel and found out that this territory had
been settled on since the time of Khiva's foundation. Kunya
Ark comprises living quarters, a mosque, the palace of the
khan, the residence of his harem, the mint, the arsenal, the
stables and the jail.
Mohammed Rakhim Khan Madrasah (1871)
The Tomb of Sayid Allauddin - is the most ancient architectural
monument of Khiva, Mongol-era 14th-century tomb of one of
the Sufi masters. Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum - is the
most revered mausoleum of the city. Pakhlavan Mahmud, the
Hercules of the East, a famous wrestler, poet, philosopher
and Khiva's saints patron. His tomb (1326) has some of Khiva's
city tour 02 - Half-day
Gazi Khan Madrasah - was erected in 1718-1720 by 5000
Persian slaves brought to Khiva from Meshed. The inscription
above the entrance reads: I accept death at the hands of
slaves. The slaves were promised freedom but soon it became
clear that they would not live to see the end of the work.
They killed the khan and even succeeded in capturing the city's
The Islam Khodja Madrasah and Minaret - are the newest
monuments of Khiva, both built in 1910. The minaret, 45 metres
tall, is a stately, tapering pillar belted with sixteen decorative
friezes. The madrasah houses Khiva's best museum - the museum
of handicrafts: fine wood carving, hand embroidery, carpets,
household utensils, pottery, work, traditional Uzbek clothes
are on display.
Juma Mosque - Friday mosque, once the khanate's religious
heart has 213 columns. The oldest columns are from the original
10th century mosque; other 17 columns are of the
11th-12th centuries origin. The most
recent mosque was built in 1788.
Tash Khauli (Harem) - was erected by Allakuli Khan
between 1832 and 1841. It is the most beautiful architectural
decoration of the city: ceramic tiles, carved marble, painted
wood. It contains 163 rooms and 3 courtyards, the biggest
courtyard being the Harem.
is the capital of Khorezm province, 450 km northwest of Bukhara
across the Kyzylkum desert. It's located between the Amu-Darya
River (in the delta of the river) and on the border with Turkmenistan.
The population is 130,000 people. Urgench is mainly a home
for most tourists, somewhere to stay before going to Khiva,
35 km southwest.
sightseeing (around Urgench)
Amu-Darya delta, stretching from southeast of Urgench to the
Aral Sea, has been inhabited for millennia and it was regarded
an important oasis. Whenever irrigation canals were destroyed,
stranded cities withered and died. The ruins of many Khorezmian
towns and forts, some well over two thousand years old, still
stand to the east and north of Urgench.
Toprak-Kala is 2000-years-old ruined city fortress
grew up around the first century BC and became the capital
of the Khorezm in the 3rd and 4th centuries.
It was a fort and temple complex of the rulers estate with
high walls, round towers and numerous rooms and halls. The
city was abandoned in the 6th century, when Turkic
invaders upset the irrigation system.
Koi Krylgan Kala (30 km Southwest of Toprak Kala) is
a circular fort, temple and observatory complex dating from
the 4th century.
Ayaz Kala (60 km far from Toprak Kala) - is an impressive
mud-walled hilltop fortress of the 6th and 7th
Kyrk Kyz-Kala - is a fortress dating from about the
Guldursan Kala - is a fortress with huge city walls
(12th century) destroyed by the Mongol invasion
Urgench is about 143 km from Khiva. In its best days it was
the bustling capital of Khorezm, known as Gurganj. It was
a famous seat of learning during the reign of Khorezm Shahs.
The prominent scientists like Avicenna, Al-Beruni and the
traveller Ibn Battuta spent some time in Gurganj.
Khan, annoyed by the killing of his envoy and other nobles,
set off on a punitive expedition in 1220 and almost erased
the town to ashes. Later, Kunya Urgench was rebuilt and again
became the capital of Khorezm and grew into one of the Central
Asian major trading cities. In 1388 Tamerlane, considering
the city as a rival to Samarkand completely destroyed it.
Urgench city tour:
Khanum Mausoleum - was built in the middle of the 14th
century for Turabek who was a Mongol princess. Tall, twelve-sided
sanctuaries, richer, even in decay, than anything in Khiva.
The honeycomb decorations, tiles with brilliance of campanile
and grape blue and an opal green. There are 365 sections,
for the days of the year, on the sparkling mosaic; 24 arches,
for the hours of the day; 12 bigger arches for the months
of the year; and four windows for the weeks of the month.
Timur Minaret -was built in the 1320s, while the mosque
it attended had utterly gone. The highest minaret (67m) in
Central Asia is decorated with bands of brick, now leaning
II Mausoleum - is the oldest building in Kunya Urgench
with 12-faced conical dome and the floral terracotta moulding
on the facade.
Kubra Mausoleum - is the holiest place in Kunya Urgench.
Najmeddin Kubra was a famous 12th to 13th
century teacher and poet who founded the Sufi Kubra order.
The tombs inside - one is for his body and one for his head,
which were separated by the Mongols.
Ali Mausoleum - was erected in 1580 for Sultan Ali who
ruled in Khorezm in the 16th century.
Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan occupies 165,000 square
km and is situated in the north-western part of Uzbekistan.
The Amu-Darya River flows through the territory of Karakalpakstan.
This region borders on Turkmenistan (in the south), on Khorezm
province (Uzbekistan) and on Kazakhstan (in the north).
population is more than 1.5 million people. The official language
of the Republic of Karakalpak is Turkic, close to Kazakh and
less so to Uzbek. Cotton, rice and melons are the main products.
Life is not easy here, because today the age-old oasis of
rivers, lakes, reed beds, forests and farmland that constitute
the Amu-Darya delta has greatly dried up.
capital of Karakalpakstan is Nukus, 1255 km from Tashkent,
166 km from Urgench. It has a population of only 180,000 people.
Nukus was loped in 1932. It is in the Aral Sea region, which
has been registered as the dustiest place on the planet because
of ecological disaster. A former high security centre for
the development of chemical weapons, it had been closed to
foreigners entirely until the late 80s.
Nukus Art Museum is named after Igor Savitsky. Created
by an eccentric, fanatical collector Igor Savitsky, this highly
unusual museum managed to preserve a world-class collection
of the works of artists which otherwise would have been lost
forever. The collector secured a huge set of samples of Soviet
art of the 1920s and 30s, saving it from communist destruction.
It is the second best gallery of Russian avant-garde in the
world after the Russian Museum in St.Petersburg. There are
90,000 pieces in Savitsky's collection. It contains items
executed in accordance with state approved socialist realism
alongside with dissident; decadent art repressed and rejected
by the communist regime.
State Museum offers an interesting exhibition of the fauna
and flora of the region. There are also displays on the Aral
Sea and local health problems, on archaeology and ancient
history. Samples of traditional jewellery, costumes, musical
instruments and yurt decorations are excellent.
(the Aral Sea) - is 210 km north of Nukus, once the largest
fishing port on the Aral but now it stands 40 km from the
water. The port of Muynak poses as a silent witness to its
death throes, the victim of a soviet crusade to overcome nature.
graveyard with dozens of deserted fishing boats smothered
in sand is to the north of the town stretching for two km.
is an ancient city of Sogdiana. Sogdians lived not only in
Sogdiana, with their capital city in Samarkand, but also far
beyond its borders. Their settlements were scattered all along
the Great Silk Road, from Byzantium to China. Sogdian scrolls
have been found in northern India and western China. Sogdian
culture reached its highest point in the early Middle Ages.
In the 6th-8th centuries Sogdians acted
as trade intermediaries between China and the Mediterranean
countries. Sogdians travelled a lot and saw all the achievements
of contemporary great civilisations, but failed to create
their own unified strong state. Sogdiana was a sort of conglomerate
of small city-states, one of which was Penjikent. Penjikent
was founded in the 5th century but abandoned in
the 8th century when Arabs conquered it. The ancient
city has not been rebuilt since then.
city tour - Full-day
sites where numerous paintings on the walls of the palaces
and temples dating back to the 5th-8th
centuries have been discovered. The scholars have excavated
and examined almost half of the settlement: a citadel containing
the ruler's palace, two temples with large yards, 12 main
streets and 16 back streets, traders stores, large workshops,
bazaars and strong city walls.
Some findings are on display at the Rudaki Museum in
modern Penjikent. The museum's name arises from the claim
that Penjikent was the birthplace of Abu Abdullah Rudaki,
the Samanid court poet, the father of Persian poetry.
the capital of ancient Sogdiana, is one of the oldest cities
in the world, of the same age as Rome, Athens and Babylon.
It is twenty-five centuries old. During those centuries the
city has survived many great and dramatic events. Samarkand
saw Saka and Massagets, Greeks and Macedonians, Karakitais,
Arab commanders and hordes of Genghis Khan. Under Amir Timur's
governing Samarkand became the capital of his huge empire.
The Great Silk Road went through the city. Famous scientists
and poets of the Medieval Orient lived and worked in Samarkand.
geographical location in the picturesque valley of the Zerafshan
River gave Samarkand (formerly also known as Maracanda) an
advantage over other cities of Central Asia.
exact antiquity of Samarkand is hard to establish. Originally
Samarkand occupied the Mount of Afrosiab that rises to the
north of modern Samarkand. The city grew and expanded its
borders. It was one of the flourishing satrapies of the Achaemenid
Empire from about 6th century BC. Alexander the
Great led his marching armies in 325 BC to assert his claim
over the lost provinces of the Achaemenids. It took him quite
a while to quell the Sogdian rebellion. Passing through the
remnant of Hellenic Dynasties, Samarkand was captured by the
Sassanids under whom the arts and crafts flourished.
the invasion of Arabs in the 8th century AD a new
era of Samarkand began. The Arab assimilation with the local
population gave rise to various new Muslim dynasties, the
Samanids, Karakhanids, Seljukids and Genghisids. When the
Mongols captured Samarkand the ancient water supply system
was destroyed, and the life in the city collapsed. It took
a whole century to recover from the after-effects of the Mongol
invasion. The plundered and destroyed Samarkand was rebuilt
on the site of one of its former suburbs.
the reign of Amir Timur (Tamerlane) Samarkand enjoyed its
best times serving as the capital. Tamerlane's successive
campaigns to Persia brought master craftsmen and builders
to the area, who contributed to the glorious era when Samarkand
was beheld bedecked with the most beautiful of monuments in
the form of mosques, madrasahs, gardens and mausoleums. According
to Timur's idea, Samarkand was intended to overshadow all
capitals of the world by its grandeur and beauty.
grandson of Tamerlane, Ulugbek, ruled there until 1449 and
made Samarkand the intellectual centre. However, the rise
of nomadic Uzbeks spelt the end of Timurid power and Samarkand's
prosperity. When the Uzbek Shaybanids moved their capital
to Bukhara, Samarkand was left doomed to decline until the
Bukhara Emir repopulated it in the 1770s.
May 1868 Russian Tsarist army overtook the city and Samarkand
was linked to the Russian Empire. In 1924-1930 Samarkand was
the capital of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic.
City tour 01- Half -day
Square, known from the 13th century as a bazaar
square was the centre of trade and cultural life in medieval
Samarkand. It is surrounded by three madrasahs built in different
Ulugbek Madrasah was built between 1417-1420 by order
of Ulugbek, a grandson of Tamerlane. This monumental madrasah
with portal decorated with five and ten-pointed stars and
spirals of majolica was the greatest university of Central
Asia in the 15th century.
Shir-Dor Madrasah is the mirror attraction of Ulugbek
Madrasah. Portal is decorated with mosaic tigers and gazelles.
It was built in the 17th century, 200 years after
Ulugbek Madrasah was erected.
Tillya-Kari Madrasah (built 1660) is the third madrasah
on Registan Square. It has a mosque with golden paintings
inside. It was built by the order of ruler Bakhodir Yalangtush,
10 years after the Shir-Dor Madrasah.
Bibi Khanum Mosque, once the biggest mosque in Central
Asia, it was erected by order of Tamerlane after his victorious
Indian campaign in 1399. The architects, artists, craftsmen
from all the countries conquered by Tamerlane took part in
the construction of the mosque.
Shakhi Zinda Necropolis, a site of pilgrimage visited
since the 11th century and marked by holiness.
It consists of about 20 mausoleums of different centuries
built between 11th - 19th centuries.
The complex appeared around the grave of Khusam ibn Abbas
- the cousin of Prophet Muhammad who it is said to have come
to Samarkand in the 8th century. There one can
see the finest samples of majolica, mosaic and terracotta
city tour 02 - Half-day
Emir, a mausoleum (1404-1420) in which rests Amir Timur
and many other members of his dynasty, constitutes a perfect
and fine sample of Timurid Architecture; simplicity and harmony
of shapes and sumptuously decorated interior (papier-mâché
painted in blue and gold).
Ulugbek's Observatory. In the outskirts of Samarkand
on the hill of Khuhak there is located Ulugbek's Observatory
(the 15th century), with astronomical instrument,
the sextant. In that observatory Ulugbek and other scholars
had completed the famous "Tables of stars".
Afrosiab Site & Museum. It is the area of 212 hectares
mostly hilly surrounded by a moat. Here was situated ancient
Afrosiab (old name of Samarkand). It had existed from the
6th century BC till the 13th AD. Now
archaeologists here continuously conduct excavations. The
museum displays: the model of ancient city and fortress walls,
pottery, weaponry, coinage, altars and most of all the mural
painting of the 7th century.
City tour 03- Half -day
Museum of the Cultural History of Uzbekistan. The collection
established in 1874 is extensive and well displayed. The ground
floor houses modern paintings and early Soviet posters. Archaeological
exhibits on the first floor include vessels and ossuaries (clay boxes for bones) from Afrosiab, plus fully painted
copies of its fragmented murals and replicas of finds from
ancient Bactria, such as the Kushan Ayrtam frieze, a limestone
sculpture of an Indo-European culture. Other treasures are
Tamerlane's wooden coffin and a 19th-century Koran.
Khodja Abdi Darun and Birun Mausoleums. Shrine complex
is associated with the name of 9th-century Arab
jurist Abd al-Mazeddin. Seljuk Sultan Sanjar erected this
mausoleum in the 12th century, rebuilt by Ulugbek
in the 15th century.
Ishrat Khana Mausoleum. Legend suggests one of the
wives of Tamerlane built it as her tomb, but the construction
was so beautiful that it became a palace. The name of mausoleum
means the House of Joy.
Tomb of Daniel. The remains of the Hebrew saint were
brought from Persia by Tamerlane and buried in Samarkand allegedly
for protection of the city from different misfortunes. Above
the grave there is a massive tombstone and it was believed
that even in death Daniel grew half an inch every year (he
will rise again when he reaches a certain size) and thus his
grave was enlarged annually.
City tour 04- Half -day
Al-Bukhari Memorial Complex. Highly respected in the Islamic
world scientist Imam Al-Bukhari was born in Bukhara in 810
and died in 870 in the village of Khartang and was buried
at the same place (Chelak district of the present Samarkand
province located 30 km from Samarkand). Since then the burial
place has been one of the most sacred sites of worship for
The Memorial Complex was created in 1998 to commemorate
the 1225th anniversary (according to the Moslem
calendar) of Imam Al-Bukhari.
(Green town) is a small town to the south of Samarkand, lying
across the hills in Kashka-Darya province. This is Timur's
hometown and once upon a time it had probably put Samarkand
itself in the shadow.
the early 7th century Chinese Buddhist traveller
Huen Tsang visited the Sogdian town of Kesh (Shakhrisabz).
This city saw the Arab and Mongol invasions. By 1336, theyear
of Timur's birth, Kesh and its dependencies were his father's
patrimony (the Barlas clan). As Timur rose to power he gave
it its present name and turned it into an extended family
monument. In the reign of Timur Shakhrisabz became his residence.
in the late 16th century the Ruler of Bukhara destroyed
much of the Timurid legacy. Shakhrisabz retained semi-independence
from Bukhara till the 19th century. In 1870 the
Tsarist army stormed the town. While the Soviet era brought
great change to the appearance of Shakhrisabz, the town has
preserved a rich store of history in legends and architecture.
One enjoys a relaxed Uzbek atmosphere in its mosques, teahouses
and traditional homes.
city tour - Half-day
(literally the "White Palace", built in 1379-1409)
is the greatest palace of Tamerlane built by artisans of Khorezm
after he destroyed Kunya Urgench and dispatched its masters
in 1379. Of this grandiose palace, there remain only the ruins
of the 40 metre-high portal, flanked by two 50 metre-high
towers covered with glazed bricks.
Dorut Tilovat (the House of meditation) is the 14th
century complex of Kok Gumboz mosque (1437), madrasah and
mausoleums of Shamsiddin Kulol (1374) - a Sufic master, Amir
Taraghay - Tamerlane's father and four Termez Syeds - descendants
of the Prophet Muhammad. Kok Gumboz Mosque (Blue Dome) was
completed by Ulugbek in 1437 in honour of his father Shah
Rukh (Timur's son).
Dorus Siodat (Seat of Power and Might) is the family
crypt of the Timurids with the graves of two sons of Tamerlane
(Jehangir and Umar Sheikh) and Khazrati Imam Mosque of the
is the capital of Uzbekistan and the largest economic and
cultural centre of the country. At various stages of its long
history, Tashkent was known as Shash, Chachkent, Shashkent
and Binket. The name "Tashkent" is first mentioned in the
works of Abu-Raikhon Beruni and Mahmud Kashgari (11th
century). Tashkent is the Uzbek word for "stone town". How
can we explain this name if in the construction of the city
stone was rarely used? It was the hardness of the inhabitants
more than once protecting their city from attacks of invaders
that was compared by local people with a stone.
territory of Tashkent makes up 260 square km. Tashkent is
located in the north-east of Uzbekistan, in the picturesque
valley of the Chirchik River which takes its source from the
spurs of the Tian-Shan, at the height of 440-480 metres above
the sea level. In clear weather snowy peaks of the Tian-Shan
Mountains are visible. More than 2.3 million reside in the
capital (approximately, 10% of population of the country).
architecture of Tashkent is characterised by the mixture of
modern and traditional styles of buildings. There is a green
city with lots of fountains and parks. The vicinities of present
day Tashkent record their chronology back to the 5th
passed through successive hands of numerous ruling clans.
Its vivid record is mentioned through the 7th century
AD from the Scythians, the Sassanids and the Ephtalites.
more authentic picture of Tashkent was drawn with the invasion
of Arabs in the 8th century. The city grew into
an important trading post on the Great Silk Road, from China
to the Mediterranean countries, when it was busting with commerce.
As it was described in the annals there had been beautiful
palaces among green gardens, temples and streets of craftsmen.
In the capital craftsmen were engaged in metal processing,
weaving cotton and woollen clothes, manufacturing of weapons,
saw different dynasties of rules of which the prominent were
the Samanids in the 9th century and the Karakhanids
in the 10th - 11th centuries. The invasion
of the Mongol hordes in the 13th century brought
a short delay in the development of Tashkent. This continued
until history reverted to the turbulent path of the later
Genghisids and the grand Timurid dynasties (the 14th
- 15th centuries) when Tashkent got its importance
of a strong fortress. Its territory was extended, manufacture,
trade, culture developed.
the 16th century the city was once more ransacked
by an invader from the north - Shaybanid Khan, leader of the
nomadic Uzbek Turks, who were to give their name to the whole
region. Tashkent adapted to this new ruler and built up its
wealth again. The city was a part of the State of Shaybanids
as an independent principality of one of them, Suyunidj khan.
During this period extensive building work was carried out.
Monumental buildings as mausoleums, mosques, madrasahs appeared.
the next centuries there were three states on the territory
of Central Asia: the Bukhara Emirate, the Khiva and Kokand
Khanates. Tashkent passed from hand to hand, from one khanate
to another. In the second half of the 18th century
Tashkent was attached to the Bukhara Khanate. In the early
19th century the Khan of Kokand conquered city.
At that time due to growing commerce with Russia Tashkent
turned into a prosperous trading city, one of the largest
cities in the region.
the 19th century Tashkent was a Central Asian centre
of trade with Russia. Looking for new markets, the Russians
regarded Tashkent as the strategic key to Central Asia. In
1865 the Tsarist army captured Tashkent and the city as well
as all Turkestan became the constituent of the Russian Empire.
In 1867 the Governorate General of Turkestan with the administrative
centre in Tashkent was formed. At the end of the 19th
century Tashkent was roughly divided into an old Asian and
new Russian towns. After the Bolshevik revolution in 1918
the Republic of Turkestan was proclaimed. In 1930 Tashkent
became the capital of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic.
Since 1991 Tashkent is the capital of Independent Republic
City tour 01 - Half-day
History Museum of the Peoples of Uzbekistan, the biggest
of Tashkent's museums, contains 8,000 exhibits. The archaeological
findings displayed in the museum, present the life of the
peoples of Central Asia as well as the life of Uzbek people
from ancient times up to the modern age.
The main city square Mustakillik (Independence Square)
is an administrative and political centre of the city, where
most of celebrations, national holidays take place.
to the old city
Imam Square, is ancient square of the 16th
century, where are located the Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum, the
Barak Khan Madrasah, Namazgokh Mosque and the Tillya Sheikh
Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum of the 16th century
is a mausoleum of one of the first imams of Muslim world,
who lived from 904 to 979 AD.
Barak Khan Madrasah was constructed in the middle of
the 16th century by the order of Barak Khan, the
son of Suyunidj Khan, a founder of Tashkent Shaybanid dynasty.
Nowadays it houses Muslim Religious Board of Uzbekistan, the
administrative centre of the Mufti of Uzbekistan.
Tillya Sheikh Mosque (constructed in 1902) is a functioning
mosque possessing a rich Islamic library with ancient manuscripts.
The highlight of the library is the immense Osman Koran, one
of the world's oldest copies (1200 years old).
Namazgokh Mosque built in the middle of the 19th
century, now it houses the Imam Ismail Al-Bukhari Islamic
The Square "Chorsu" is the centre of an ancient
Tashkent. It appeared in the 11th century and was
a four-road junction, a place of trade.
The Kukeldash Madrasah, located on the square Chorsu,
was built in the 16th century in the reign of the
Shaybanid dynasty, under the leadership of Kulbodo Kukeldash
- the vizier. Now it is a primary school, which teaches the
basics of Islam.
The Jammi (Friday) Mosque, nearby the Kukeldash Madrasah
was erected in the middle of the 15th century by
influential Islamic leader Khodja Akhrar (1404-1492).
"Chorsu" bazaar - on the right of the
square Chorsu, is the oldest city market, which was rebuilt
according to the ancient style. It is picturesque, noisy and
full of local colour.
City tour 02 - Half-day
Amir Timur Museum, the newest Tashkent's museum is quite
an impressive structure with blue ribbed dome and a richly
decorated interior. Most of the displays are the models of
Timur's and Timurids greatest building projects.
The Amir Timur Square is the centre of what was once
known as the "new Russian city. It appeared in 1883,
when Russians first settled in Tashkent. Since then the Square
has always reflected the ruling government's policy at that
time. At present a gigantic statue of Amir Timur (1336-1405)
mounted on a horse stands in the centre of the square. However,
it was not always so. Earlier to him the statue of Karl Marx
and before him Joseph Stalin occupied the place. But it all
started with the statue of Constantine Kaufmann who was the
first Russian Governor of Turkestan.
The Theatre Square with the building of Alisher Navoi
Opera and Ballet Theatre is the city's cultural centre. The
architecture of the theatre, constructed in 1947, combines
the European and oriental styles.
The Museum of Applied Arts was founded in 1937. One
of the main attractions of the museum is the house itself,
decorated in traditional 19th century Uzbek style.
The collection of the museum has on display items made by
three generations of craftsmen and covering the entire range
of folk art, plus items of the arts industry.
The Square of Friendship with a monument of the same
name in front of the Palace of People's Friendship is a modern
cultural city square.
The Abdul Kassim Madrasah, built in the beginning of
the 19th century is on the territory of the National
Alisher Navoi Park. The cells of madrasah are occupied by
City tour 03 - Half-day
Fine Arts Museum of Uzbekistan displays a fine collection
of art of different epochs. Visitors can see the Zoroastrian
artifacts, 1000-year-old Buddhist statues, and Sogdian mural
as well as 19th and 20th century items.
Tashkent Metro is the only underground system of Central
Asia with beautifully decorated stations.
The monument "Courage" is remembrance of
the earthquake of 1966.
to Ensemble Zanghi-Ata (14-19 centuries) - Half-day
half-day excursion to visit a sacred place, now known as Zanghi-Ata.
It is situated nearby Tashkent on the old caravan route. This
ensemble is a monument of urban art and architecture of different
periods of medieval epoch and associated with the name of
to Chimgan - Full day
full-day excursion to a mountain resort called Chimgan. It
is situated on the south shore of the Charvak Reservoir, 80
km from Tashkent in the western region of the Tian-Shan mountain
range. It is popular in spring and summer for its fresh air
and picturesque landscape, mountains covered with green grass
and blooming trees. During winter it is renowned as a favourite
Termez bears few traces of its colourful cosmopolitan history.
However, there are some ancient monuments and sites attesting
to more glorious times.
city tour - Full-day
Termez, the original, pre-Mongol city is 6 km northwest
of the modern city.
Hakkim al Termezi Mausoleum (10th century),
Mosque (12th century) and Timurid Khonako
(15th century) grew up around the name of the
patron saint of Termez, Sufi Abu Abdullah Mohammed-ibn-Ali-al-Termezi,
nicknamed "al-Hakkim" (the wise). He was a ninth-century
Sufi, jurist, mystic, philosopher and poet.
The Buddhist monastery complex of Kara Tepe is unique
in Central Asia, a rock-hewn Buddhist cave complex. But it
is not always available because an access there necessitating
an official permission.
The Fayaz Tepe Site consists of the archaeological
remains of the 2nd century Buddhist temple and
a monastery complex. The monastery was destroyed in the 5th
century by Sassanids troops and later was used as a burial
Zurmala Tower (16 metre high) is situated 3 km southeast
of old Termez. It is the 2nd century AD remnant
of the largest Buddhist stupa in the region.
Modern Termez, The Old Russian military fortress
displays Soviet war machinery.
The History museum has a good collection of artifacts
excavated from local archaeological sites.