From October 16th to 20th, 2023, the historic city of Samarkand played host to the 25th General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization. The event's highlight was the unveiling of 2023's top tourist villages, which proudly featured Sentob from Uzbekistan and Saty from Kazakhstan.
The Telegraph, a British daily, ranked these two villages among its top 10 most picturesque, sharing the spotlight with destinations from Japan, Portugal, Colombia, Italy, Switzerland, Indonesia, Peru, Turkey, and Croatia.
Nestled in the Navoi region, the village of Sentob has long been a beloved destination for globe-trotters. Visitors to Sentob are immersed in its rich cultural tapestry, staying in guesthouses adorned with traditional motifs, learning local culinary secrets, and soaking in the rhythms of daily village life. Beyond the village's cultural offerings, tourists are lured by scenic walks through orchards, Bronze Age petroglyphs, the cascading waterfalls of the Nurata Mountains, and the diverse Nurata Reserve.
Saty, located in the Almaty region, captivates with its proximity to the stunning Kolsai lakes and the mystical Kaidy Lake, where the reflections of pine trees dance on the water's surface. The warm-hearted residents of Saty are eager guides, sharing their village's life, traditions, and folklore with visitors.
Out of nearly 260 contenders, the World Tourism Organization spotlighted 54 villages based on a mix of natural beauty, cultural richness, sustainability, infrastructure, and safety standards. These recognized villages not only showcase breathtaking vistas but also provide a window into the heart and soul of local communities. They champion regional development, fostering employment, uplifting vulnerable groups, and championing the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage.
With this recognition, the World Tourism Organization anticipates a boost in global awareness and, subsequently, tourism for these villages, offering travelers not just a journey through landscapes but also through the authentic lives of their inhabitants.