Uzbekistan. The Present Illuminated with the Light of Centuries
The history of each country and people dates back to the past for hundreds and thousands of years, intertwining in complex tangles with the fates of neighboring and distant countries and peoples. So the disputes that some ethnos is more ancient than another not are not right. This is especially strange in the modern world, where the largest project of compilation of genetic atlas of peoples and maps of ancient migrations of humankind has been implementing since 2005. For example, certain studies showed that around three thousand years BC, the nomads from the Eurasian steppes had domesticated a horse and thus spread their genetic marker M17 throughout the whole territory from Iceland to West Bengal. It turns out that about 40 percent (!) of men living in the vast territory of the Czech Republic to the Siberian plains and including Central Asia are the closest genetic cousins. That is, where a Pole or Czech starts and an Uzbek or Tajik ends is genetically hard to determine.
It is much more logical to be proud of how well the countries and peoples managed to preserve the architectural and cultural historical memory for the descendant. And there, Uzbekistan, whose main tourist centers such as Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, entered to the UNESCO World Heritage List, has much to show to the world.
Besides, it gives us pleasure to say that the peoples of Uzbekistan have enriched the heritage of humanity not only with the architectural monuments. The List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, compiled under the UNESCO program “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage” includes:
- Traditional complicated chant “Katta ashula” (“Big Singing”);
- A bright festival of the vernal equinox “Navruz”;
- Ancient beautiful music “Shashmaqom”;
- Cultural unique ethnographic Boysun region, Surkhandarya.
By a twist of fate, Uzbekistan, isolated by mountains and deserts from seas and oceans, was located at the very crossroads of world civilizations, world religions, cultural traditions and culinary preferences. Absorbing the best, enriching the spiritual world, every citizen of the country easily speaks two, three or more languages (Uzbek, Karakalpak, Farsi, Kazakh, Russian) and read Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in the original. Everyone considers himself a connoisseur of Uzbek, Uighur, Korean and Russian cuisine. Any man can easily cook pilaf for thousand guests. OK, every man can cook pilaf for ten people, that’s for sure. Each local builder knows how to build an earthquake-proof house of clay of particular mix.
Over a thousand years, until the discovery of the sea route to India, the goods from East to West were transported along the Great Silk Road.
So the people of Uzbekistan are so much genetically gifted as merchants and traders: they absorbed the skills of the Greeks and the Jews, Moors and Chinese. Uzbekistan absorbed much in all fields of industry. It gave much to the world too: thinkers and mathematicians, theologians and astronomers, generals and rulers, poets and healers, Grand Masters and football referee.
Many actions and habits of the locals, committed on the level of instincts were developed not even in childhood; they are in the genetic memory. To take a piece of bread fallen on the ground and put it aside. The first bowl of nosey tea is served to guests. The first sip of water in the heat to be given to the youngest. Seat the guest on the place of honor in the house, at a maximum distance from the front door, for the host could protect him from the enemy suddenly bursting in. A manner of cut melon or make a “scoop” of watermelon. A sprig of sweet basil behind the ear of a dignified man and a young beautiful girl in the summer heat. All this is thousands of beads that make up a mosaic of the amazingly beautiful ancient and eternally young country - Uzbekistan, which while preserving its uniqueness, is updating its look, building roads and bridges, factories and houses, laying pipes and melting metal.
This is the country which you must visit at least once in your life, to have something to tell your grandchildren.
Uzbekistan Travel Destinations
Samarkand is one of the oldest cities of Uzbekistan and of the world, in the middle of the first century BC it was known under the name of Marakanda and later known as Afrosiab. It was the capital of the powerful state Sogd, the center of Amir Timur's great empire. The numerous monuments of Samarkand and its suburbs impress tourists with their beauty and splendor. The refined architectural shapes, intricate ornamentation, mosaics, blue-tile domes and facades are interesting for all who visit theses beautiful buildings.
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The settlement of Bukhara in Uzbekistan dates back to the 8th century and for next 200 years used to be the center of an expanding Islamic kingdom and prospered as a trade and intellectual center for Central Asia. During the Mongol invasion, It was destroyed by Genghis Khan in 1219. Subsequently it was ruled by a succession of regional powers, including descendants of Genghis Khan, Turks, and Uzbeks. Once one of Islam's most sacred cities, Bukhara contains many examples of fine Islamic architecture.
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Khiva is known as a museum city under the open sky. It existed as a town for about 900 years, but was developed into the settlement as it is seen today only by the 19th century, when it was the last oasis on the northern Russian slave trade rout. Important spiritual and cultural values came form the large scientific centers of astronomy, mathematics, and medicine that existed in this area centuries ago. One can wander through the narrow streets of Khiva, peeking into the small courtyards through the wooden carved doors. The life inside the gardens assures the visitor that it is not just a museum, but also a living city.
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Although Tashkent was probably first settled around the 1st century BC, written records date the city to its Arab occupation in the 8th century AD. The 13th-century defeat to Genghis Khan and his Mongolian forces threw Tashkent into an era of turmoil. The Mongols lost the city in the 14th century when the Timurids Empire seized control. The Timurids Empire ruled Tashkent until the late 15th century, when the Sheibanids swept through the region. Today, Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan.
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Do you wish to travel into time that will transfer you to a forbidden territory that keeps the memory of culture of Greek and Baktrian and Kushan kingdoms that fell into oblivion of heathen ceremonies of fire-worshippers, and shaman cults? Trade caravans traveled here through Iron Gates in narrow mountain canyon for thousands years. Armies of Alexander the Great, Chengiz Khan, Tamerlan passed through this area.
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Nukus is located in the north of Uzbekistan near the Aral Sea, surrounded by three deserts - the Kara Kum, Kyzyl Kum desert and rocky - Ustyurt.
Despite the fact that the city is only 70 years, the land on which it stands, is an ancient cultural stratum, which archaeologists have identified as belonging to the IV century BC. er. - IV century AD.
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In 2007 Margilan celebrated its 2000 annversay Margilan lies in a picturesque place, before the former at the crossroads of trade caravans from China to the West and vice versa. It was the opening of the Silk Road linked the birth city of Margilan.
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The city of Fergana, in the south of the Ferghana Valley - is one of the youngest cities in Uzbekistan. It was founded in 1876, after joining the Kokand Khanate to the Russian Empire. And a new town called New Margilan was founded 12 km away from the city which became the center of Ferghana region.
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Even some local residents of Uzbekistan do not know well about the ancient history of the town. It was lost in the outskirts of Kyzyl Kum desert in the foothills of the mountains Nuratau (which stretch from Jizzakh to Navoi). The highest point of the whole mountain area is the peak Hayatbashi (2169 m).
In the meantime, this modest town - witness the millennial history.
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The history of Namangan city dates back to XVII c, when a new settlement (Namankan) was founded for local salt miners in the north of Ferghana. In the XVII century here, following the devastating earthquake residents moved Aksikent (Ahsykenta) - the ancient city, who once was the center of the Fergana Valley. In the middle of the XVIII century the city became the administrative center of the provinces. In 1875 Namangan became the administrative part of Czarist Russia.
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Kokand city, located in the western part of the Ferghana Valley, one of the ancient cities of Uzbekistan. The first written evidence of the city Hukande, Havokande (old city) are found even in the annals of X century. The town was important trade center on the Silk Road and in the XIII century, like most Central Asian cities were destroyed by the Mongols
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Sarmish-say is a river gorge on the south slope of the Karatau mountain ridge belonging to the Zarafshan mountain range. It is situated about 30 km northeast of the city of Navoi, which is about 170 km southwest of Samarkand.
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Termez is located on the right bank of the Amudarya river and is one of the ancient cities of Central Asia. The city evolved throughout the history on different places around the modern city, reflecting multiple cultural layers depicted in remains of historical sites.
The cultural heritage that was developed from the inception of the city was completely destroyed by Genghis-Khan in 1220, after the city refused to surrender peacefully. A new city was erected to the east of the old town.
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Uzbekistan Useful Links
- CIA - The World Factbook - Facts about Uzbekistan
- Uzbekistan - Information on Uzbekistan from the U.S. Department of State
- Republic of Uzbekistan Gov.Uz - State Authority’s Portal of the Republic of Uzbekistan
47a, Mirobod-1 str., 100015, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Tel: +998 71 150 3020, Fax: +998 71 150 3021