Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan

Curious what backpackers do in Uzbekistan? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

47 travelers at this place:

  • Day12

    Bukhara to Samarkand

    May 19 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    My day sightseeing in Bukhara was quite good, my guide was a retired lady who used to work at the museum there and spoke excellent English, she was proud to tel me that she was one of the guides for Hillary Clinton when she visited some years back.
    After the day sightseeing I went to the hammom (bath house), this is quite a few centuries old and was an interesting experience, at the end I certainly was scrubbed clean.
    Today I spent the morning looking at more Bukhara sights, alas these were mainly Muslim cemeteries which were boring, however the summer palace of the last Emir was quite interesting.
    Then off for the 4 hour drive to Samarkand.
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  • Day10

    Goodbye Turkmenistan

    May 17 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Well I’m glad I visited as there were some interesting sights but when I reached Bukhara in Uzbekistan I actually felt as though I was back in comfortable territory.
    Yesterday I visited the ruins of Margush, which flourished between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC. The site is still being studied by archeologists and quite amazingly you can walk over it all, I actually worried I was destroying 2000 year old UNESCO world heritage listed walls as we clambered about. There are pieces of broken 2000 year old pottery all over the place, if it were nearly anywhere else the place would be roped off.
    Today we spent time in the ruins of the ancient city of Merv before heading to the border where I said goodbye to my guide Olga and after 1.5 hours including two short bus trips made it across the 1.5km border area and into Uzbekistan again.
    Tonight I’m in Bukhara which is a good city from what I have seen. My hotel is in the middle of the old city which is great for walking around .
    Tomorrow I get down to a day of serious sight seeing here.
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  • Day14

    Sandarkan, Crossroads of the Silk Road

    May 21 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Several days in this 2,700 year old city were spent looking at the many mausoleums that celebrate the lives of past nobles, I’m seriously over them, many have been well restored surprisingly often by the former Soviet Government.
    Fortunately there were lots of other things to see including the making of ceramics, metal trays, miniatures, carpets, embroidered goods, etc.
    My guide and driver here were great value and were happy to find interesting things to do including taking me to the best somsa making and eating place in town, it was us and the locals only which was great.
    We even went wine tasting to kill some time till my train came this afternoon, the white wine was light and nice and the first couple of reds were ok but from there they got stronger and sweeter, too sweet for me as each tasting was the size of a normal serve of desert wine at home, the last couple were cognacs which were 40plus percent alcohol, I just about staggered out of there after 12 tastings.
    Tonight I arrived back in Tashkent after several hours on the fast train which topped 212kph, not bad I thought.
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  • Day5

    The trip to Nukus

    May 12 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Up today for a 4 hour drive south to Nukus. Amazing there were a few spits of rain as we left Khiva but it was still a balmy 33degrees.
    My driver was a teacher of Russian who also drives for tourists, he is the second person I have spoken to recently who said they preferred life under the soviets , I think it is a product of his generation as all the younger people I have spoken to say they would not want to live under the Soviet regime.
    I got dropped off at the ruins of the 1st century capital of the region Toprak Kala which was interesting, further down the highway we turned off and I was dropped at the ruins of an ancient Zoroastrian temple of the wind. I got there at the same time as another car which was a coincidence as we were in the middle of nowhere, the two girls in it were Germans, we climbed to the top together, they were interesting to talk to. I then met up with them at the museum in Nukus and let them share my guide .
    This evening I walked to the bazaar which was heaving with people out after the worst of the heat of the day had gone.
    Nukus is the 6th largest city in Uzbekistan, but seems to lack real soul.
    Tomorrow I’m off to Turkmenistan to camp by the Darvaza gas crater, so guess I won’t be doing anything on the Internet then, it will be interesting to see what the internet is like in Turkmenistan as it’s a pretty closed country and I’m told by others I’ve spoken to it’s quite like North Korea in that you have to have a guide watching over you whenever you are outside the hotel.
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  • Day4

    A day in Khiva

    May 11 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Today I was up early and left the hotel at 6am to catch the 7:30 plane to Urgench then drive 40 minutes to Khiva, one of the stops on the Silk Road.
    The old part of the city is still surrounded by a fortress like wall and around 3,000 people live inside. The palace was used by the ruler until the Soviet Union moved him to Siberia in 1920.
    As there was no time for breakfast I was pretty hungry by 1300 after wandering around the sights with my tour guide for 3 hours so had a nice lunch of plov ( a local dish of rice, carrots and meat) before doing another hours sightseeing.
    It was great to return to my hotel just outside the southern gate of the city as it has a beautiful cool pool that thank goodness was open, being 35 degrees today it was great to cool off
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  • Day25

    Bukhara

    August 22 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ☀️ 36 °C

    Bukhara leek wat op Samarkand, maar dan kleiner en gezelliger. In centrum kan je verdwalen tussen de vele mooie moskeeën, madrassa's, caravanserai en overdekte markthallen. Mooie uitzichten vanop rooftops en uitgebreid dineren bij de familie van ons guesthouse maakten het plaatje compleet!

  • Day21

    Samarkand

    August 18 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Na al dat natuurlijk schoon in Kirgizië hadden we zin in wat cultuur (en stiekem ook in gezellige café's en lekkere restaurantjes). We zochten dit in Oezbekistan en werden niet teleurgesteld door het prachtige, historische Samarkand. Dit was de hoofdstad van het enorme rijk van Amir Timur in de 15e E en hij liet er kolossale moskeeën, madrassa's en mausolea oprichten.Read more

  • Day192

    First day in Uzbekistan

    September 18 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Can you feel at home at several places at once? Or maybe home really IS where the heart is? I had no trouble adapting to the life back home and enjoyed being in my family home a lot. At the same time, moving back into Hans felt familiar and right as well.
    Having underestimated the time it gets dark here, we drove much longer than we usually do after crossing the border yesterday. But the Fergana valley is heavily populated and we needed to find a place to sleep. We reached our destination around 8pm in pitch black, had a quick snack and went to bed.
    Hence, settling in was left to this morning. Still accustomed to a different time zone, we got up around 8am, with the sun shining on our roof and a flock of sheep passing by our campsite next to a small canal. Curious people walk or cycle past, most of them just nodding or waving hello, some asking where we're from but none of them intruding. Just after breakfast, a man and his son walk up, a bit more interested than the others. We converse with hand and feet and a few words in Russian and I gift two pens and a notebook to the little boy. Turns out, we had just met our neighbours, living just 100m down the road. We're invited for tea, but knowing that we need to move on, we decline gently.
    It's time to get Hans organised after all! Thankfully we didn't bring back as many items as we took home, so everything finds its place quickly and Hans's tidyness is restored. Just as we're about to finish our neighbour's wife comes over. She gifts us grapes and dried apricots from the garden and smiles broadly. How I wish I could communicate at least a little bit more... Our heartfelt "spasiba" and "thank you"s must have made their way through despite of the language difficulties though. And so we part ways.
    While we were planning to take the shortest route to Samarkand, we need to get money and a sim card. Coincidentally the next opportunity to do so, presents itself next to a silk factory. Well, we don't want to miss it, especially since we're travelling on the silk road and Uzbekistan is the world's third largest silk producer. The detour is totally worth it. We get money & a simcard, super fresh veggies and fruit at the local market and the tour through the factory is super interesting as well. Every step of the production is handcraft and super impressive. And our Russian speaking guide is doing such a good job that we even understand his explanations (there are English, French and German speaking guides, too, but he was free and eager to show us around).
    To top off our already super exciting and successful day, we're then invited for tea by the owner of the house where we parked Hans. There are only so many times you can say no and so we agree. Quite an interesting household! We're asked to sit down in the entrance area, where we're served a Fanta like drink immediately by one of his daughters or daughter-in-laws. Tiny quails are kept in cages made out of pumpkin skin that hang high just underneath the ceiling. Their chirping could definitely act as an alarm system! During the course of the conversation our host explains he sells them at the Fergana market.
    As we're drinking the Fanta, we're offered kefir as well. Wary of our horsemilk experience, we're reluctant but there is no saying no. The kefir is homemade from milk that the goat in the courtyard is providing. And it is delicious! Pleased that we like it, our host asks us to take the whole jar (made a beautiful sauce for our dumplings at dinner!) and a loaf of bread on top of that. We finish a few cups of tea, talk about this and that (interrupted with frequent glances towards the birds at the ceiling whenever we get lost in translation) and then bid farewell. There is not much of the day left and we want to cover a bit more ground. An hour later, we find our second campspot in Uzbekistan and take a deep breath. We're on the road again. And people are simply wonderfully friendly.
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  • Day29

    Tashkent

    June 13 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    The capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent is home to more than 2 million people and is the largest city in Central Asia. The overwhelming impression it gives is of financial wealth. Grand buildings line leafy streets and modern cars (especially Chevrolets manufactured in Andijan) are everywhere. At more than 2200 years old, it was originally a caravan town that grew up at the border of the settled and nomadic worlds. The modern face was created by the Soviets after a powerful earthquake severely damaged the city in 1966.

    First stop on our city tour was the beautiful 16th century mausoleum of Yunus Khan, the grandfather of the Mughal Emporer Babur (whose memorial we'd seen in Andijan). Nearby, the Khast-Imam Complex includes a number of madrassas and mosques. It's been the spiritual heart of the city for centuries. At one end is the stunning Barak Khan Madrassa, with its twin minarets. Once a place for religious learning, it's now filled with craftspeople peddling their wares. It is still used for religious purposes on occasion, and the Mufti of Tashkent (the country's top Islam cleric) is based here. Group member Caroline scored an excellent price on a silk wall hanging thanks to some skillful negotiating by our guide.

    Also in this complex is the world's oldest Koran, which dates from 655 and is housed within the Muyie Mubareck Library Museum. Complete with blood stains from the caliph who was reading it at the time and was murdered, it was a surprisingly large book. The murder apparently fueled the split between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam. Equally impressive were the copies of the Koran in a multitude of languages- even Braille.

    A trip on the metro to visit the Chorsu market added a bit of fun, especially as many of the train stations are decorated in Soviet style. Not as impressive as what we'd seen in St Petersburg but still worth a look.

    A late afternoon visit to the Museum of Applied Art proved to be a real highlight, with beautifully presented examples of different craft work that characterize the Uzbek people, including embroidery (including with gold), carpet ,weaving, wood feet work and metal work. The whole museum in an exquisite house of ghanch (carved and painted plaster). Built in the 1930s at the height of the Soviet period, it's a real masterpiece (though I wouldn't want to actually live with all that colour!).

    Although this is a Muslim country, alcohol is available everywhere, but they just don't seem to make the most of their warm evenings with pleasant outdoor bars! A search for a glass of wine failed but we happened upon the beautiful Tashkent Opera House.
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  • Day30

    Samarkand - City of Tamerlane

    June 14 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Samarkand is strategically located along the Silk Road and has been continuously occupied for at least 2700 years. Set at a trade crossroads and fed by the Zerafshan River, stories of its exotic offerings reached far and wide. Alexander the Great visited in 329 BC (when it was named Marakanda) and remarked that everything he'd heard about it was true except that it was even more beautiful than he'd imagined.

    The numerous historic sites (most of which are reconstructions and/or restorations) certainly provide a glimpse of what the city might have looked like in its heyday. The city has been destroyed and rebuilt a number of times over the course of its history, as different rulers made their mark. Much of the architecture evident now was commissioned by Amir Timur or Tamerlane the Great, who considered himself "Conquerer of the World". Seems he did a pretty good job and it's been estimated that his warring campaigns led to the death of 17 million people. He was also a great patron of the arts and was known to spare the lives of talented artisans so he could bring them to the city to improve and beautify it.

    Our first stop was in fact to the Tamerlane's Tomb, located in the Gur-I-Mur complex. He would have preferred to have been buried near his home in Shakhrisabz but Samarkand was considered more appropriate. His body lies in a crypt below a huge tombstone of jade and amongst family members and his spiritual advisor (presumably not everyone died at the same time!). The interior was truly magical - golden ceiling and walls, decorative sanscript.

    The Registan is considered one of the most dramatic architectural ensembles in Central Asia. Comprised of a central square, with 3 madrasahs (Islamic schools), the size (35m columns), colourful domes and top-to-bottom tile work make it quite stunning. Originally a market area where 6 city roads met, it was later used for military parades and public executions, while the Bolsheviks used it for political rallies, trials and veil burnings. The madrassas were built separately over a period of 300 years, with the first commissioned in the 15th century by the grandson on Tamerlane, Ulegbeck, a renowned scientist and astronomer (and leader). The Registan looks even more spectacular at night, when flood lighting creates wonderful contrasts.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Uzbekistan, Usbekistan, Uzbekistan, Oesbekistan, Uzbɛkistan, ዩዝበኪስታን, Uzbekistán, ازبكستان, Özbəkistan, Узбекістан, Узбекистан, Uzebekisitani, উজবেকিস্তান, ཨུཛ་བེ་ཀིསྟཱན།, Ouzbekistan, Ӳспекстан, Wsbecistan, ཨུཛ་བེ་ཀིསི་ཏཱན, Uzbekistan nutome, Ουζμπεκιστάν, Uzbekio, ازبکستان, Usbekistaan, Ouzbékistan, Ozbèquistan, Oezbekistan, Úisbéiceastáin, ઉઝ્બેકિસ્તાન, Uzubekistan, אוזבקיסטן, उज़्बेकिस्तान, Üzbegisztán, Ուզբեկիստան, Úsbekistan, ウズベキスタン共和国, უზბეკეთი, Uzibekistani, Өзбекстан, Uzbekistani, អ៊ូហ្សបេគីស្តង់, ಉಜ್ಬೇಕಿಸ್ಥಾನ್, 우즈베키스탄, ئوزبەکستان, Pow Ousbek, Uzbecia, Wuzibekisitaani, Uzibɛkisitá, ອຸດເບກິສະຖານ, Uzbekija, Uzibekisita, Uzbekistāna, Ozbekistan, ഉസ്ബെക്കിസ്ഥാന്‍, उझबेकिस्तान, Użbekistan, ဥဘက်ကစ္စတန်, उज्बेकिस्तान, Ozbequistan, ଉଜବେକିସ୍ଥାନ୍, اوزبکستان, Uzbequistão, Uzubekisitani, उजबेकिस्थान, Uzbekistäan, උස්බෙකිස්ථානය, Uusbakistaan, உஸ்பெகிஸ்தான், ఉజ్బెకిస్తాన్, Ӯзбакистон, ประเทศอุซเบกิสถาน, ʻUsipekitēni, Özbekistan, Үзбәкстан, ئۆزبېكىستان, Ŭzbekiston Respublikasi, U-dơ-bê-ki-xtan (Uzbekistan), Lusbekän, אוזבעקיסטאן, Orílẹ́ède Nṣibẹkisitani, 乌兹别克斯坦, i-Uzbekistan

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