You might have heard of Uzbekistan – but do you have any idea what’s there?
There’s a seemingly never-ending expanse of steppe, dotted with beautiful towns that will make you think you’ve stepped back in time.
Holding an enviable location on the ancient Silk Road trade route, Uzbekistan is home to beautiful cities used as trading posts while merchants carrying items such as silk, tea, spices and paper travelled between China and Europe.
Here’s 12 photos of Uzbekistan that are sure to make you want to visit on your next overseas adventure.
Take the Silk Road route to Samarkand
First stop on your journey through Uzbekistan will probably be stunning Samarkand – one of the trading posts on the Silk Road route.
And explore the stunning Registan
The highlight of your visit to Samarkand will be the Registan Square. This was Samarkand’s main trading square in medieval times. Visit at different times of day to enjoy the light effects on the square buildings. Entrance into the square is 30,000 Uzbek Soum (UZS) – equivalent to $4 USD.
Wander Bukhara’s squares
Bukhara is flagged as an open air museum and it’s a very true description. Around every corner you’ll find some spectacular building or square to look at – like the Kalyan minaret pictured above.
And enjoy a coffee with a view
There’s no shortage of impressive viewpoints in Bukhara. Go find a terrace in a restaurant or café and enjoy the views.
Witness colourful sunsets
As you head west through Uzbekistan, you’ll get deeper into the steppe. This makes for some spectacular golden sunsets behind all the historical buildings.
And minarets under a golden glow
The best time of day to wander the Old City of Khiva was sunset when the sun cast a golden glow over the city walls, minarets and madrasahs.
Walk along fortified city walls
Feel like you’ve stepped back in time by heading up to the top of the Old City Walls in Khiva. Access is from the North Gate – and it’s free! From here, you get a commanding view of the Old City within the heavily fortified walls.
Roam ancient desert fortresses
Did you know that Uzbekistan has dozens of desert fortresses scattered across the steppe? No, neither did I until I ventured to Khiva. About a 90 minute drive from Khiva, you can easily visit the fortresses of Toprak (pictured above) and Ayaz.
Be in awe of beautiful madrasahs
Madrasahs are Islamic schools and there’s dozens spread across Uzbekistan. You’re sure to be impressed by the architecture of these unique buildings.
And towering mosques
The Bibi-Khanym Mosque in Samarkand is just one of the impressive mosques in Uzbekistan. It was said to be among the most magnificent mosques in the world when it was built in the 15th century. While earthquakes brought it almost to ruins, it has now been lovingly restored.
And even medieval fortresses
Not only are the madrasahs, mosques and minarets worth a look – Uzbekistan also has fortresses. Like the Ark Fortress in Bukhara. Walk around the restored exterior or visit the ruins and museum inside.
Don’t forget to look up
Uzbekistan’s beauty isn’t just at ground level. Make sure you go inside the many beautiful buildings and look up – and admire the decorative ceilings.