Silk Route   Khiva Samarkand Bukhara Uzbekistan Samarkand Bukhara Samarkand Samarkand A mysterious land  of Central Asis…  Tashkent, Urgench, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand… Civilization of over two thousand years, located at the crossroad of the famous Silk Route. The fairy-tale trip to the  land of “1001 Nights”. During this trip you will plunge into the atmosphere of the Medioeval Orient with its crowded bazaars full of strange aromas, with the labyrinth of its meandering streets. You will discover the legendary cities with magnificent temples, Registan – the pearl of the Orient,  Ulugbeg’s Observatory, Tamerlan’s tomb… An unforgettable  experience! Copyright © 2009 Euroest Travel. All rights reserved. About Uzbekistan Uzbekistan is a new independent state in Central Asia. After the collapse of the  USSR Uzbekistan chose peace-loving democratic policy and launched the reforms  to develop market economy and enter international economic society as a full member.  UZBEKISTAN AT A GLANCE  Formal name: The Republic of Uzbekistan Geographic coordinates: 41 00 N, 64 00 E Area: total 447.400 km2: land: 425.400 km2, water: 22,000 km2 Land boundaries: total: 6.221 km, border countries: Afghanistan 137 km, Kazakhstan 2.203 km, Kyrgyzstan 1.099 km, Tajikistan 1.161 km, Turkmenistan 1.621 km Population: 24 million Density of population: 50.1 per one km2 Capital: Tashkent Language Uzbekistan is multination country. Uzbek is the state language, Russian is the language of international communication Structure: Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakistan, 12 regions, 226 cities and districts. Religion: Islam Time: GMT + 05:00 Electric power: 220 V AC, 50 amp; standard two-pin plug socket Domain zone: .uz International dialing code: +998 Location of Uzbekistan The Republic of Uzbekistan is situated in the central part of Central Asia between two rivers: Amudarya and Syrdarya. There are Turan Lowland in the northwest, and Tien-Shan and Pamir-Alay mountain ridges in the southeast of the territory. Kyzyl-Kum Desert is in the North. Uzbekistan borders Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tadjikistan, and Afghanistan in the South. Terrain Mostly flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes; broad, flat intensely irrigated river valleys along course of Amu Darya, Sirdaryo (Syr Darya), and Zarafshon; Fergana Valley in east surrounded by mountainous Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan; shrinking Aral Sea in west. Elevation extremes lowest point: Sariqarnish Kuli - 12 m highest point: Adelunga Toghi - 4.301 m. Climate The climate of Uzbekistan is extremely continental with a great number of sunny days. Average monthly temperature in January is from 10 to +3 0C. Summer is hot and dry. Average monthly temperature in July is from +35 to +45 0C. Autumn is warm enough and is the season when delicious fruits and vegetables are in abundance in numerous bazaars (markets). Average annual temperature is 13 0C. Public holidays January 1 - New Year March 8 - Women's Day March 21 - Navruz (Islamic New Year) May 1 - Labor Day May 9 - Memorial Day September 1 - Independence Day October 1 - Teacher's Day December 8 - Constitution Day. There are other religious holidays with varying dates: Ramadan Khait Kurban Khait Cuisine There are over one thousand dishes in Uzbek cuisine. Fruits and vegetables grown under the tender oriental sun are terrific in taste. There are about 500 varieties of Uzbek plov only cooked in its own way in every region. Calorie content and ecological cleanness of local ingredients is unique, Uzbek cuisine can not be described, it should be tasted. Unlike their nomadic neighbors, the Uzbeks have had a settled civilization for centuries. Between the deserts and mountains, in the oasis and fertile valleys, they cultivated grain and domesticated livestock. The resulting abundance of products allowed the Uzbeks to express their strong tradition of hospitality, which in turn enriched their cuisine. The seasons, specifically winter and summer, greatly influence the composition of the basic menu. In the summer, fruits, vegetables and nuts are ubiquitous. Fruits grow in abundance in Uzbekistan - grapes, melons, watermelons, apricots, pears, apples, cherries, pomegranates, lemons, persimmons, quinces and figs. Vegetables are no less plentiful, including some lesser known species such as green radishes, yellow carrots, dozen of pumpkin and squash varieties, in addition to the usual eggplants, peppers, turnips, cucumbers and luscious tomatoes. The winter diet traditionally consists of dried fruits and vegetables and preserves. Hearty noodle or pasta-type dishes are also common chilly-weather fare. In general, mutton is the preferred source of protein in the Uzbek diet. Fatty-failed sheep are prized not only for their meat and fat as a source of cooking oil, but for their wool as well. Beef and horsemeat are also consumed in substantial quantities. Currency Uzbekistan All payments must be done in sum, the national currency of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Currency exchange offices are available in every city of Uzbekistan. Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan's largest city (pop. apr. 2400000) is also Central Asia's largest city and main transportation hub. In the present Tashkent is one of the most important business centers of Central Asia. Present-day Tashkent is one of the most attractive Oriental cities. The architecture of Tashkent is unique, hospitality and friendliness of Tashkent people is amazing. Tashkent is about 2000 years old. It has passed the way from the small ancient settlement to the one of the biggest Asian cities. A lot of memorable events of peace and  war took place during the history of Tashkent full of periods of rise and decline. Contemporary Tashkent is a political, cultural, scientific and industrial center of Uzbekistan. Tashkent ... This is something that occurs in nature in one single copy. Not coincidentally it compare with pearl. The city with a two thousand-history, like the whole Uzbekistan, became a focus of the great cultures of Asia, symbiosis Eastern and Western civilization. Initially, it was a mixture of the Iranian, Greek, Indo- Buddhist, Turkic, Arab-Muslim, and indeed, the local culture. Then, in this spicy cocktail joined Jewish, Russian, Tartar, Armenian, Korean and other cultures. Tashkent is among those cities, which are famous for their exceptionally valuable architectural heritage. There are many interesting monuments preserved from the Middle Ages, buildings of 19 c. erected by the architects A.Benois, V.Gueintselman, A.Makarov according to the European tradition, modern, buildings which combine the latest architectural achievements with national ornaments, local picturesque decor and Oriental architectural traditions. The most important monuments are dated back to the 16 c., the "golden age" of the city history. Among them - the Koukeldash Madrasah, the Barak-Khan Madrasah complex, the Suyunige-Khan and the Khaffal Shashi Mausoleums, the Yunus- Khan and the Kaldyrgach-Biya Mausoleums. Among the buildings of late 19 c. - early 20 c. is the Palace of Grand Duke Nicholas Konstantinovich Romanov, Girls' and Boys' Schools, the Technical High School, the Government Building, the Kirche. The Chorsu Tourist Complex, the Peoples Friendship Palace, the Exhibition Hall of the Union of Artists of Uzbekistan, the Tashkent metro stations are among the modern landmarks in the city. The Tashkent fountains, intricate element of its architectural style, add to the uniqueness of the city. The residents of Tashkent are especially proud of the Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theatre. The State Art Museum of Uzbekistan is well known outside the republic. Its exposition includes about 4000 paintings, drawings, sculptures, pieces of traditional decorative arts. The Museum collection comprises paintings of West European artists, Russian artists of 19 c., pieces of national applied arts - golden thread embroidery wood-and metal carving, etc. Tashkent is a hospitable city. More than once it served as a site of various international symposia, scientific conferences, and film festivals.Tashkent is also known as the main gates of the Orient on the international air routs from India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China to Europe. And now we look in more detail each of the Tashkent sites. KHIVA (KHOREZM) Khiva is an ancient city in the lower reaches of the Amu-Darya. In the fourteenth century it became prominent among the towns of Khorezm, and in the eighteenth century it was the capital of the Khiva Khanate. Only at the beginning of the nineteenth century Khiva was developed into a prominent cultural centre. One after another a number of monumental buildings were erected. They filled the older part of the city-the shakhristan Ichan-kaleh, many of them were built by the Eastern gates of Palvan-Darvaz and along the street which runs towards the western gates. In none of the Central Asian cities have whole parts of the city such as the Ichan-kaleh district in Khiva that was preserved in such good condition. It is a historical and architectural reservation giving an idea of what a feudal Central Asian city used to be. Hardly any of the structures dating back to the first eminence of Khiva have survived to our day. But of those which have reached us the best known is the modest fourteenth century mausoleum of Sheikh Said Allauddin, famous for its beautiful majolica tomb. Evidently, the earlier mausoleum of Pakhlavan Mahmud, the poet and national hero who died in the first quarter of the fourteenth century, was also very modest. Soon afterwards the construction of the necropolis of Khiva rulers was started beside the poet's mausoleum, and the tombs of the earlier rulers were transferred there.   Bukhara is an ancient settlement with history that goes back to the early centuries A.D.. In the 6th century it became the capital of early feudal lands of the Bukhara oasis. As the Shakhristan, the centre of a shah's realm, it was formed around an ancient citadel, but with the development of handicrafts and trade, new suburbs (rabads) arose beyond its walls which were included with the Shakhristan in a new fortified wall. Remains of it dating back to the sixteenth century have survived to our day. Bukhara preserves genuine treasures of architecture  of the pre-Mongol period, although not very many in number. The south portals of the Magoki-Attari mosque are highly characteristic of the very decorative architecture of the twelfth century. The decorative details of the portals are famous because of the fine techniques involved. The few Bukhara masterpieces extant of 11th and 12th centuries testify to the splendid building skill of the architects of the period, the subtle artistry of their ornamentation. In the post-Mongol period there were no extensive construction work in Bukhara and in other cities of Central Asia. But in the next century there was increased activity in this sphere. In the time of Ulug Bek Bukhara acquired a new madrasah (1417). Everything in it is characteristic of Ulug Bek architecture - clarity of the design, excellent proportions, and understated decorative details. In the 16th century, after the establishment of the Uzbek Shaibanai dynasty, Bukhara once again became the capital of a large Central Asia state. The city grew and new walls were built. The intensive construction here started with a Friday mosque, erected in 1514 in the place of an older twelfth century mosque beside the Kalyan minaret. It became one of the biggest structures in Central Asia. On the other side of the square in which the minaret stands the Miri-Arab madrasah was built in 1535-1536. The madrasah, the mosque and minaret comprise one of impressive ensembles in Bukhara. One of the important Bukhara ensembles, the buildings around the Lyabi-khauz date back to the 17th century. The earliest of them, Kukeldash madrasah (1568-1569) is the largest building in Central Asia among similar structures. In 1620 the Lyabi-khauz pool was dug in front of it, faced with large lime flagstones and its perimeter planted with trees. At the same time, on the two sides of the pool were built the "khana-gah", a mosque and hospice, and the Nadir-Divan-Begi madrasah. The structures stand by the extensive surface of water in a most effective way. The kosh technique was also used in the construction of the last important Bukhara building, the Abdulazis-khan madrasah (1652), opposite the Ulug Bek madrasah. Despite the fact that the two buildings differ in dates of construction, divided as they are by two centuries, they comprise a united and austere architectural ensemble. touches to the squares and thoroughfares of the city. It is in this that the importance of the architectural ensembles of Bukhara lies. Restored and preserved, they have now acquired a new lease of life, and comprise an integral part of the modern city's aspect. SAMARKAND Among the cities of the world one of the most ancient is Samarkand, which goes back 2,500 years. In its time the city was conquered by the warriors of Alexander the Great, the Army of the Arab Caliphate, and the Mongol hordes of Genghiz-khan. Each time after the bloody battles, destruction and fires it was reborn, once again became an important city, and at times the capital of a major Central Asian state. Originally Samarkand occupied part of Mount Afrasiab, which rises to the north of modern Samarkand. The city grew, expanded its borders, and by the ninth century it occupied the entire hill. By the tenth century its numerous suburbs to the south of the hill were built up with bazaars, caravanserais, baths and mosques. This part of the city was well irrigated. In contrast, Afrasiab presented difficulties in water supply, and an intricate arrangement of lead water pipes along an aqueduct was required. When Samarkand was captured by the Mongols the ancient water supply system was destroyed, and life on Afrasiab ended. Today it is a lifeless hill concealing priceless treasures of the artistic culture of the past. The Mongol invasion destroyed the buildings of the previous period. 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 restoration of the Shakhi-Zindah necropolis, a religious relic, the supposed grave of Kusam ibn-Abbas, was begun on Afrasiab. The building of the necropolis reached its height in the last quarter of the fourteenth century, at the time when the mausoleums for the members of the Timur family, his military leaders and his courtiers, were built. Some of the structures of the Shakhi-Zindah ensemble date back to the second half of the fifteenth century, the Ulug Beg period. They are: the restrainedly decorated portals (1434 -1435) by the foot of Mount Afrasiab, and the mausoleum higher up the slope, with two elevated turquoise domes, presumably over the grave of the astronomer Kazy-zade-Rumi, Ulug Beg's teacher.     When Bukhara once again became the capital in the sixteenth century there was less building in Samarkand, and many structures suffered neglect. In the seventeenth century the Madrasah Shir-Dor (1619-1636) was built where once stood now nonexistent khana-gah of Ulug Beg. The building stands on the same axis as the Ulug Beg Madrasah and repeats its facade not only in size but also in its overall composition. The third side of Reghistan Square was occupied with Tillah-kari Madrasah (1646- 1660). As Timur's Bibi-khanum mosque was in ruins by that time, a Friday mosque was added to the complex of structures comprising the Tillah-kari Madrasah. After the seventeenth century the situation in the country changed. Never did architecture in Samarkand reach such heights again. But the ancient city continued to exist, and now it is once more a thriving, developing city, one of the industrial and cultural centres in Uzbekistan.