‘There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only that is foreign’ – Robert Louis Stephenson
Present Uzbekistan is the cradle of a mindboggling arsenal of architecture and ancient cities. The most fascinating places include the colourful Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva with their madrasas, mosques and mausoleums located on the Golden Route; a route which is even today an integral part of the 5000 mile long, legendary silk road between China and Rome.
For two thousand years, China kept the origins of silk secret. No-one knew that this highly desirable textile was made by caterpillars that ate up to 50,000 times their weight in mulberry leaves and then secreted the unearthly fine thread which was spun into the shape of a cocoon. The Romans believed silk grew on trees and their urge for the cloth became the subject of a whole new chapter in history.
In Uzbekistan, it was mainly under the rule of Timor, the king of the Steppes - say 13th-14th century - that Samarkand which had been previously destroyed by both Alexander the Great and the forces of Genghis Khan became the treasure it is today and the crossroads of international silk trade. The central location of Uzbekistan on the intriguing caravan route created a wealth and cultural exchange which is reflected in the brilliant architecture of the breath-taking restored historic buildings, grand squares and fortified castles.
The only gateway to this fascinating country is the capital of Tashkent, where modern glass palaces rub shoulders with Soviet architecture. A visit to Uzbekistan is a true exploration and especially a journey back in time. Yellow-coloured sand dunes, tombs of nobility and kings, Islamic schools, mosques and minarets, buzzing traditional markets with aromas of herbs and spices , a very hospitable population and perhaps even a match of kopkari, a kind of rugby on horseback where the ball has been replaced by a headless sheep; they all become part of your travel story through Uzbekistan. A story that will be inspired by the whole range of characters and elements from heroes to spies, from chapters of the Quran to craftsmanship by metal engravers, woodworkers, traditional carpets factories, and even cooks who prepare the National Palov Osh dish and share Izz bread which will guard you against evil spirits . World Heritage sites, vanished empires, impressive traditions and special geology with unique fauna and flora ... Uzbekistan will not leave one page in your book of marvels unturned!
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The online tours are just a few examples of possible travel itineraries. Each one can be tailored to suit your specific needs. If you want to book a specific destination or combine it with a mini-tour then we will gladly make you a tailor-made offer. For a personalised day-by-day program please contact our destination experts
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- Belgian travelers (including children) must be in possession of an international passport that is valid for 3 months. No visa is required for a stay of up to 30 days for tourist purposes. More specific information about the visa can be found on the website of Uzbekistan's foreign affairs in English via the link: http://www.mfa.uz/en/consular/visa/.
- Travellers with a non-Belgian nationality and / or persons travelling on a foreign passport are invited to spontaneously report this matter to the Connections travel consultant and shall contact their respective embassy (s) or Consulate (ate) to obtain the latest updates concerning all current travel requirements and documents.
No compulsory vaccinations. Please consult the websites of the Institute for Tropical Medicine ( www.itg.be.) and the World Health Organization (www.who.ing) at least 6 weeks before your departure for updated information on recommended vaccinations or recent developments.
Hygiene: with exception of hotels and classy restaurants, the sanitation is quite bad. It is advised to take your personal toilet roll.
Timezone:GMT +3 (Summer) & +4 (Winter)
Sum (UZS) : 1 EUR = 9.537 UZS & 1000 UZS = 0.104 EUR (25/10/2017)
- Take US Dollars to exchange locally.
Uzbekistan has a continental or land climate, that is, quite warm during the summer (although the desert keeps humidity levels and as such the persperation at bay) that runs from May to October and cold to very cold from November to February. Variables are associated with the altitude and location (plains or mountains). Best travel period is spring and autumn.
Average max. temperatures (°C):
Capital of Uzbekistan. Modern city where glass palaces and wide lanes. Only the Hast Iman complex in the old city and the 2000-year old Chorsu Bazaar survived the destructive powers of the 1966 earthquake.
Is 2700 year old and ranks among the world most ancient cities. The Quran schools have been closed in 1927-28 by order of Lenin. The Ragistan square count as much as three of theses quran schools or madrasas. One of them is decorated by a deer, tiger and personified sun, something which is truly unique in Islam as the religion forbids the use of idols. Must-sees as well: the Gur-I-Amir Mausoleum, the Shah-I-Zinda burial site and the Siab Bazaar.
Is listed as UNESCO World heritage and reached its epitome of glory under the reign of Timor when it was ‘sister-city’ with Bagdad and Cordoba. Must-visits include The Ark (the residence of the emirs), the Po-I-Kalyan mosque and minaret, the controversial Abdullah Khan Madrasa (the only Islam school in the world which is not orientated towards Mecca) and the original Chor Minor & Zindan jail link to the espionage between Russia ne the British Empire, nicknamed the Great Game. Bukhara is also famous for its miniature paintings and Suzani broidery.
The site of 3 ancient ruins, once palaces of Toprak Qala. 'Toprak' means 'mud', Qala' means 'castle'. Especially the Ayaz Qala draws tourist to the midst of the desert.
Popular oasis town in the Kyzylkum desert covering 4/10 of Uzbekistan. The old town has 16 unique monuments you can visit on one pass. The city is surrounded by an impressive sandstone fortification wall. In the prayer room of the Juma Mosque, 212 columns from 7 centuries support the wooden ceiling. Khiva is popular for marriages and it the place to see master craftsmen at work using age old wood carving techniques.
Most of Tashkent authentic buildings have been destroyed during the 1966 earthquake. What remains today is a modern and safe city where transport is efficient and life is affordable. Its remaining highlights are worth a visit as is its lively night scene. Bukhara, a 4h train ride away, presents a mindboggling collection of historical buildings, majestic madrassah, peaceful oases, an historic fortress wall, and the most authentic atmosphere reminiscent of the once glorious Silk Road. The contrast with the capital could not be more sensational. No wonder Bukhara has been overloaded with superlatives by all who visited. Curious? That is nothing compared to what awaits you once you set foot in the appealing country of Uzbekistan.
- 5 days
Tashkent is the modern, buzzing capital of Uzbekistan and the only gateway to this rich and fascinating country. Its city centre is a mix of old and new and the city has a definite European feel and appeal. Samarkand on the contrary, a mere 2 hour high speed, comfortable train ride from Tashkent, boasts with its opulent architecture dating back to the high time of wealth as the centre of the Silk trade. Registan square and its colourful madrassah, its Bibikhanum mosque and lively bazaars have earned Samarkand nicknames such as ‘The Mirror of The World’, the garden of Soul’ or ‘The Pearl of the Orient’. Want to check for yourself? Why not find out for yourself?
- 5 days
Uzbekistan, located at the heart of the famous Silk Road, has a fascinating history and rich cultural heritance, reflected in both the abundance of majestic and colourful monuments and buildings dating back as far as 2300 years. It is no wonder you may feel like traveling through the tales of 1001 nights. Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan has been largely destroyed by the 1966 earthquake, and yet, its remaining old city centre is worth a visit as is its lively day and night scene We gladly admit though it would be a shame to fly all the way to Uzbekistan and leave out the other cultural hot spots on the wealthy Silk Road…
- 4 days
The Best of The Silk Road
Tashkent is the modern, buzzing capital of Uzbekistan and the only gateway to this rich and fascinating country. Its city centre is a mix of old and new and the city has a definite European feel and appeal and though the authentic city centre is quite restricted, the vibrant day and night scenes make it a worthwhile destination on its own. Combined with both Samarkand and Bukhara, your city break becomes a dream come true. Stories of 1001 night come to life, a real architecture buffs wet dream. But the country is about more than just drool-worthy architecture, its hospitable inhabitants, lively traditions, ancient craft and arts will undoubtedly lighten up your imagination. You will find out Uzbekistan is a country with many faces, and you will find 99% of those, are simply smiling at you!
- 7 days