On this page we will keep you informed about news regarding travel formalities and train connections in Uzbekistan as well as other tourism-relevant topics and give information about travel destinations. We are also happy to answer any questions you may have on the subject of “Traveling in Uzbekistan” at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can also arrange contacts in Uzbekistan.
Citizens of 46 countries are allowed to enter Uzbekistan without visa from February 1, 2019!
New direct train connection Bukhara – Xiva since January 15, 2019. So far there have only been trains to Urgench. The onward journey to Khiva had to be organized with a shared taxi. For the time being, diesel locomotives will be on this route. After electrification, an extension of the Afrosiyob express train to Xiva is planned.
GENERAL TRAVEL INFORMATION:
The preferred mode of transport for longer distances in Uzbekistan are shared taxis, which leave from certain places, as well as trains. For shorter distances marshrutkas, usually Daewoo minibuses, who operate on fixed routes are available in Uzbekistan. Shared taxis and marshrutkas work on “collecting principle”, i.e. they leave when all places are occupied. In principle, every vehicle in the city is a taxi.
The Advantour website gives a good overview of train connections in the country.
An express train has been running between Tashkent and Almaty since a few years.
The classic travel destinations in Uzbekistan are the centers of the historic Silk Road Samarkand, Bukhara and Xiva as well as the capital Tashkent. In addition, there are other, less frequented, interesting travel destinations in Uzbekistan.
Most travelers arrive in the capital Tashkent, which is currently undergoing major modernization. Whole districts are being rebuilt and unfortunately large parts of the old town are being torn down. Take the chance to visit the old town of Chorsu with the bazaar of the same name. The beautiful medrese Kukoldash is located in the neighborhood of the bazaar.
The Alisher Navoi Theater is definitely worth a visit.
Beautiful, high-quality handicrafts can be bought in the Abdul Qosim Medrese next to the Parliament building.
The Uzbek-German Friendship Society based in Tashkent has developed a great app that helps to find relevant places for visitors: Toshkent Durdonalari.
The mobile phone app – available from Google Playstore – lists all the important museums, cultural institutions, theaters, concert halls, parks and more in the Uzbek capital in German, Russian and Uzbek languages. With a click on the respective category you get to the individual listing (all with photos) and with another click on the detailed information such as address, travel options by public transport, telephone number, internet address if available and mostly a detailed description and further photos. We recommend!
In addition to the fantastic buildings of the Registan, Gur Emir, Bibi Xanoum and the Shah-i-Zinda complex, the remaining part of the old town is also worth visiting. But of course it is the famous buildings that create the magic of Samarkand. The Registan is a unique architectural ensemble consisting of the three madrasas Sher-Dor, Ulug Bek and Tilla Kari. Note the figural depiction of tigers on the facade of the Sher-Dor Medrese, which is rare in the Islamic world. In the Tilla Kori Madrasa, the “golden one”, you should definitely take a look at the golden dome and of course visit the Suzani shop of our friends Dilshod Abdulkhaev and Nafisa Shakirova Dil-Suzani Boutique. There you can not only buy suzanis but also get comprehensive background information on the symbolism of suzani embroidery. Registan means sand place. This is where the judiciary took place in the Middle Ages and executions were also held.
Also worth seeing is the large Bibi Xanoum mosque, the structure of which is unfortunately very damaged, and the necropolis of Shah-i-Zinda, which lies a bit outside the center but within walking distance.
Just outside there is the paper factory museum. Samarkand was an important center of paper production.
About 50 km southeast of Samarkand and from there easy to reach with shared taxi or marshrutka (departure where you turn from the main road to the large square in front of Gur Emir) you can find the small town of Urgut, which is home to the largest bazaar in Uzbekistan and is a center of suzani production. However, we heard that the bazaar has been modernized and has lost unfortunately much of its charm.
In the historic old town, where currently especially in the old Jewish quarter a lot of new hotels are being built, the Kalon complex with the famous minaret, from which delinquents were thrown to their deaths during the time of the historic Silk Road, is to be mentioned as an outstanding building.
A very special building is also the Samanid Mausoleum, which is considered the oldest evidence of Islamic architecture in the Central Asia region. The Mauseleum gets its aesthetic from the arrangement of the fired bricks. There were no colored tiles when it was built.
The Bolo Havuz mosque is also beautiful. Havuz means water basin and these basins and water channels, a specialty of Bukhara, were responsible for hygienic and medical problems in the Middle Ages. The “Bukhara worm” was notorious.
The dome bazaars are still trading places. Today artisans offer their goods there. The house of the merchant Xoʻjayev, located on the edge of the old town, is also beautiful, as is the summer palace of the last Emir and the necropolis of Khor Bakir outside the city.
In Usbekistan gibt es verschiedene berühmte Keramikzentren. Das bekannteste ist in Rishtan im Ferganatal. Aber auch Buchara ist eine Keramikstadt. Wer die echte, traditionelle Keramik aus Buchara kennenlernen möchte, sollte in den 40 km von Buchara entfernten Ort Gijduvan fahren und die dortigen Keramikmeister besuchen. Bei der Buchara Keramik überwiegen die Farben braun und gelb.
The Ichan Kala, which means something like inner castle, of Chiva is a beautiful old town ensemble within a completely preserved city wall made of clay. It’s nice that the city is not an open-air museum, but rather inhabited – at least it was when we were last there. Unfortunately we have heard of relocations. The Kalta Minor minaret should have been the tallest minaret in the world, from which one could have seen as far as Bukhara. But it was not completed. The Islam Hodja minaret is also famous.
Other important buildings in Chiva are the Tash Hauli Palace and the Juma (Friday) Mosque with the beautifully carved wooden columns.
Anyone interested in traditional handicrafts should definitely plan a visit to the ceramic town of Rishtan. Local ceramic masters such as Alisher Nazirov even offer overnight accommodation.
In the Yodgorlik silk manufacture / factory in Margilan, you can take a guided tour to find out about the various steps in the production of traditional ikat fabrics.
The palace of the Khan of Kokand is also worth visiting.
If you want to get to know rural Uzbekistan, a visit to the district town of Boysun with its ancient traditions classified as a UNESCO intangible world heritage site is worth a visit. Boysun has a lively bazaar and a very unpredictable cattle market on Sundays. Traditional wrestling matches still take place today. The small town is beautifully landscaped in the Hissar Mountains. The Boysun Bahori Festival takes place in spring.
There are impressive gorges near the village of Derbent.
Termez in the very south of Surkhandary was an important center of Buddhism in the region. In april 2019 a new yearly international festival has been established in Termez, the Bakhshi Festival.
In different villages in the Nurata region there is the possibility to live with families and to participate in their everyday life as well as to get to know the village life.
ACCOMMODATION IN UZBEKISTAN
Here is a list of accommodations in Uzbekistan we know personally and can recommend:
Tashkent: Gulnara Guesthouse in the old district of Chorsu
Surkhandarya: Gästehaus Sitorai Darband (Stars of Derbent)
Bukhara: Hotel Chor Minor
Bukhara: Art Hostel „USTO“
Chiva: Meros B & B – The view from the roof is sensational…