These pictures will inspire you to travel to Uzbekistan!
Uzbekistan has an ancient history along the old Silk Road, and a more recent history amongst the Soviet Republics. It’s a nation of intriguing contrasts, where Islamic traditions continue alongside Soviet legacies and where the influence of neighbouring Persian and Nomadic cultures have had a profound effect on the cultural makeup of the current, modern Central Asian Republic.
Huge Soviet buildings stand proudly alongside historic Islamic Madrasahs, while new skyscrapers are built in the cities as old traditions are revived.
It’s a country which is quite unlike any other you will have visited, so here’s a few of the best photographs from my trip around the country, which just might inspire you to travel to Uzbekistan too!
Uzbekistan is home to the world famous Registan, one of the most iconic sights along the entirety of the Silk Road.
The Registan is a public square, framed by three Madrasahs- Islamic schools of learning- in the ancient city of Samarkand.
Beautiful, Persian and Islamic influenced Madrasahs are found all along Uzbekistan’s Silk Road cities, including this ornately designed one in Bukhara.
Bukhara is also the site of ‘The Tower of Death’. This towering minaret was once the scene of grisly executions. It is also of such an imposing height that when Genghis Khan levelled the city in the 12th Century, he was so impressed with the Kalyan Minaret that he spared it from destruction.
Khiva, in the south of the country, was one of the last independent Khanates in Central Asia. The city was the centre of the Central Asian, Silk Road slave trade, before the Imperial Russian Empire stormed in, freeing the slaves and irreversibly changing the political nature of the region for ever.
The old town of Khiva, like many of the famous Silk Road cities, was rebuilt and refurbished during the days of Soviet rule in Uzbekistan. Consequently, Khiva’s old sights are a big tourist draw now, but just outside the walls, there’s always a taste of authentic Uzbek life in the bazaar!
In the deserts of Karakalpakstan, the infamous Aral Sea disatser is perhaps the most defining Soviet legacy in the country.
Where there used to be flourishing, fish filled waters, there is now just desert and rusting hulks. It’s a sad contrast to the busy streets of Khiva, Samarkand and Bukhara.
The capital, Tashkent, is another huge contrast to the Silk Road cities. The city is relatively new in comparison, having been rebuilt by the Soviets after much of it was destroyed by an earthquake. The concrete mass of the Hotel Uzbekistan is the most readying reminder of Uzbekistan’s Soviet days!
And if that isn’t enough reason to visit, then don’t forget that Uzbeks are some of the friendliest, most hospitable people you’ll ever meet! These newlyweds invited us over for photographs during their celebrations in Tashkent!
All Photograph Property of Richard Collett