Uzbekistan – Silk Road’s Exotic Destination
As Central Asia’s most populous country, Uzbekistan which is situated along the ancient Silk Road is richly endowed with historic splendours. Well-known travellers such as Marco Polo and the warrior Alexander the Great have passed through this hub of trade and cultural exchanges. The names of Uzbek cities have been synonymous with the exotic and wonderful, their fame spreading far and wide.
The Republic of Uzbekistan is one of the largest Central Asian states and a doubly landlocked country, bordering with Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and includes the southern shoreline of the Aral Sea. Linking Eastern and Western civilization between the Ancient and middle Ages, Uzbekistan has absorbed and enriched itself with world civilization, world religions, cultural traditions and culinary preferences. Now, with its main tourist centres such as Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, entering the UNESCO World Heritage List, the country is one of the biggest attractions and the most impressive showstopper in Central Asia.
Registan, Bibi-Kahnym Mosque, Gur-e Amir Mausoleum and Observatory of Ulugh Beg are sights that travellers must not miss. There you will find buildings designed and made with distinctive Islamic traits and characteristics. The colours of the buildings have significant meanings behind it – blue being the most common and dominant colour found on most of them where it symbolises wealth.
Siyob Bazaar is the largest bazaar in Samarkand where you can find daily necessities such as dairy products, fresh and dried fruits, delicious water melons, rainbow-coloured spices and all kinds of tasty vegetables sold there. Foreigners flocked to Siyob Bazaar to experience the aesthetic hustle and bustle of the indigenous society there.
In addition, authentically silk made attire, accessories and bed linen would very much excite shoppers with its cost and design. Souvenir hunters would have field day with the fine craftsmanship and colorful pattern designed of kurpacha (colorful sitting mattresses), skull caps, chapan (traditional cloaks) and knives.
Spring time sees many local or provincial celebrations taking place in various parts of Uzbekistan. Two significant festivals are the Boysun Bahorior Boyun Spring Festival and Shark Taronalari. The Boysun Bahori is a cultural event held in mountainous Boysun and features costumes, songs, dance performances, storytelling and other local traditions which have withstood the test of time. It is steeped in the region’s history and culture and UNESCO has named the Boysun cultural space as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Shark Taronalari is Uzbekistan’s international world music festival and is held in the summer time with folks singers who practice traditional musical genres such as uran khai (throat singing) and makom (sacred classical, melodic Uzbek music) performing there.