Best attractions in Uzbekistan: Top 30

Uzbekistan is a bright and inspiring country of the East. Rich architectural heritage, lots of historical monuments, colorful bazaars, generous nature, which is carefully protected in the protected parks - this is all that everyone can see in Uzbekistan, even without a solid budget. It’s simply impossible to count all the interesting sights of Uzbekistan, but you should definitely visit at least the main ones, which will be discussed further in this article.

What to see first of all in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is divided into several regions, each of which holds a lot of its unique attractions. But every tourist, as a rule, is faced with the need to “fit” all the memorable places in a limited time, given for traveling and exploring the country, often even have to choose what to see in Uzbekistan for 1 day. Exactly to simplify the process of choice and competent planning of future trip this rating is compiled.

1. Tashkent

Panorama of the modern metropolis

The review begins with the capital of the country - Tashkent, which is one of the five largest cities in the CIS in terms of population. Among the tall modern buildings are hidden historical buildings, ancient mosques and modern shopping centers alternate with traditional oriental bazaars and markets. It is worth noting that many of the old buildings have been restored - in 1966, a powerful earthquake partially destroyed them, and the look of the renewed city has since changed significantly.

Official site:

2. Tashkent TV Tower

View of the Tashkent TV Tower Davide Mauro

This structure is considered the tallest in all of Central Asia - the TV Tower of Tashkent is 375 meters high, and its long spire, piercing the sky, can be seen from anywhere in the city. At the height of about a hundred meters you can visit the observation deck in the TV tower, and one level higher there are restaurant halls, where you can not only admire the panoramic views from the windows, but also have lunch. Guides in Uzbekistan eagerly cover the history of the construction of the structure, take visitors through the interior, including the museum, the exposition of which reveals the role and place of the TV tower among other similar structures in the world.

Official website:

3. Amir Temur Square

Monument to Emir Timur in front of the Palace of International Forums and Chimes

The square, which bears the name of the famous commander, was built at the end of the 19th century. Then it was a small park in the center of Tashkent, at the intersection of two main city streets. Only in 1994 a monument to Amir Temur was installed there, and the park was cleared and turned into a square with greenery and fountains. Today the square is surrounded by such famous buildings as a hotel, a law institute, a museum in honor of Amir Temur, and the Palace of Forums, where many official ceremonies are held.

4. Chorsu Oriental Bazaar

An old colorful Chorsu bazaar with oriental sweets and spices Eric Haglund

Visitors have a lot to visit in Uzbekistan once they find themselves in Tashkent’s central square, Eski Zhuva. Despite the modern look that this market has today, the history of Chorsu market goes back centuries. About two thousand years ago, an ancient settlement was founded in this area, the center of which was traditionally a bazaar. As time passed, a fair was established where an active exchange of goods began and merchants from different parts of Central Asia streamed here. Since some time the bazaar became the center of town life, and to this day Chorsu, located at the intersection of four shopping streets, attracts visitors with its fresh fragrant fruits, oriental sweets and colorful Uzbek souvenirs.

5. Samarkand city

Samarkand - City of Historical and Cultural Monuments of Asia David Stanley

The city of Samarkand is famous for its amazingly long history - it is one of the oldest cities in the world, founded as far back as 8 centuries before our era. Some time ago this city was the most important point connecting the East and the West, and the Great Silk Road passed exactly through Samarkand. That’s why here, like nowhere else, a great number of cultural and historical monuments have been preserved, such as mausoleums, museums, mosques, ruins of ancient settlements and many other things.

Official website:

6. Registan Square in Samarkand

Madrasah Sher-Dor on Registan Square in Samarkand

The best sights of Uzbekistan should certainly be complemented by another historical place - Registan Square, which has existed for more than 6 centuries. Some of the buildings on the square have been preserved here in their original form since the moment of their construction. The complex of three medieval madrasahs (schools) faced with mosaic in traditional national style deserve special attention. The square itself was paved with cobblestone and burnt brick back in the late 19th century.

Official website: http://www.centralasia-travel.

7. Bibi-Khanum Mosque in Samarkand

Timur's Cathedral Mosque in Samarkand

Another ornament of Samarkand is the Bibi-Khanum Mosque, a sacred monument of the 15th century. It is believed that the mosque was erected by order of Tamerlane Khan, who returned from India with a triumphant victory. The great commander wanted to erect a lifetime monument as a testimony of his victories. About 7 hundred people were involved in the construction, including a huge number of masters from other Asian countries. To this day, despite numerous earthquakes, the mosque was able to retain its original grandeur and beauty, it contributed to the large-scale restoration work, which was carried out here for 35 years, starting in 1968.

Official website:

8. Rukhabad Mausoleum in Samarkand

Memorial and cult structure of XIV century - Ruhabad Mausoleum in Samarkand

Excursions in Uzbekistan do not ignore this building in Samarkand, because it is one of the first structures of the city, built under Tamerlane. Its architecture and decoration are ascetic - one can not find bright colors and traditional mosaics here. In the mausoleum rests the relics of a famous in Islam saint who spent his life in asceticism and constant pilgrimage. It is about Sheikh Burkhaneddin Sagaradji, who for some time even acted as a spiritual adviser to Tamerlane himself. After the saint’s death, as a sign of high esteem and honor, the khan ordered the construction of a mausoleum.

Official website:

9. Bukhara city

Historical Center of Old Bukhara Euyasik

The following recommendations will touch on another ancient city founded 2.5 thousand years ago. Bukhara is a real museum city: every building there is a landmark, a real exhibit. Ancient mosques, citadels, mausoleums, madrassahs, monuments - all this you can visit, enthusiastically walking through the city, because here every corner of the land keeps its memory. Once upon a time the Great Silk Road ran through Bukhara, which is being purposefully revived these days.

10. Lyabi-Hauz in Bukhara

The Lyabi-Hauz artificial water reservoir and Nodir Begi Madrassah in Bukhara Robert Wilson

And, of course, when mentioning the best sights of Uzbekistan, it is impossible not to sound at least some of the sights of Bukhara. One of the main squares of the city, Lyabi-Hauz, is a real treasure of Bukhara - there is a whole architectural ensemble consisting of a mosque, madrasah and a monument in honor of Khoja Nasreddin - a favorite character in oriental folklore. The square is surrounded by a wonderful clean pond with a fountain. Lyabi-Hauz has become a favorite place for various mass festivities and official celebrations in Bukhara.

11. Samanid Mausoleum (Bukhara)

The Samanid Mausoleum in the green city park of Bukhara

The Samanid Mausoleum, an ancient family tomb, another masterpiece of architecture created at the juncture of the 9th-10th centuries, is located in Samanid Park, on the territory of the ancient Bukhara cemetery. Despite the fact that the facade and interior decoration of the structure does not play with bright colors, amazing openwork finish, which builders managed to achieve using ordinary bricks, impresses. On the territory of the tomb there used to be an ancient Muslim cemetery, and later there was laid out a park with ponds, which became a place for mass festivals.

12. The Minaret and Mosque of Kalyan in Bukhara

The courtyard of the Kalyan Mosque, part of the Po-i-Kalyan complex in Bukhara

Choosing where to go in Uzbekistan, traveling through Bukhara, it is definitely worth visiting Poi-Kalyan, the main architectural complex that has become a symbol of Bukhara, which includes a minaret, a mosque and a madrassah. Constructed in the 12th century of burnt brick, the minaret of Kalyan rises more than 46 meters, and its top is crowned with a conic lantern. The minaret is connected to the roof of the Kalyan Mosque by a bridge, from where, in turn, a spiral staircase leads up to the dome itself, where a spectacular panoramic view opens up. The mosque itself was built a little later than the minaret, in the 16th century, and to this day it is the main cathedral mosque of the city.

13. Khiva city

Khiva is an open-air museum city

Another city, many centuries ago located on the Great Silk Road, is the ancient Khorezm, or Khiva, as it is called now. Khiva may be regarded as an open air museum, not without reason it is included in the UNESCO list, because here every building is an ancient landmark. In the old part of the city of Ichan-Kala, founded about 5 century AD, kept about 60 historical monuments, including a citadel, palaces, mosques, minarets and mausoleums. Outside the walled old city is another ancient part, Dishan-Kala, where there were residential buildings and trading rows.

14. Ichan Qala Fortress in Khiva

Main gate of Ichan-Kala fortress (inner city)

Now more details about the citadel of Ichan-Kala, which like nothing else preserves the image of the ancient eastern city of Khiva. The conclusions of archaeologists suggest that Old Khiva, which already existed in the 5th century, served as a stopover on the Great Silk Road. The old city within the walls of Ichan-Kala occupies about 30 hectares and is surrounded by a massive wall of 6-8 meters. Ditches were dug on the outer side of the walls and filled with water. There are also four gates in the fortress wall, reinforced with percussion towers and augmented with observation galleries.

15. Ulugbek Observatory

Ulugbek Observatory and Museum on Kuhak Hill

The background to the appearance of this landmark in Uzbekistan was the birth of the famous Tamerlane’s inquisitive grandson Ulugbek, who from an early age was reaching for knowledge. During one of his grandfather’s expeditions, the boy saw and visited an observatory for the first time, and ever since then he dreamed of building one of his own. At a fairly young age, becoming the ruler of Samarkand, Ulugbek begins to realize the dream, and by 1423 a famous observatory appears in Samarkand. Only one part of the observatory has survived to our time - a sextant with a radius of 40 meters, which was used to measure the height of the celestial bodies.

16. Shahi Zinda Architectural Monument

An ensemble of mausoleums of Samarkand nobility on the hills of the ancient city of Afrosiab

Not far from Bibi-Khanum mosque in Samarkand there is one of the most beautiful and picturesque memorial complexes, the street-cemetery, Shahi Zinda necropolis. The history of this ensemble begins in the 11th century, when a cousin of the prophet Muhammad - Abbas, nicknamed Shahi Zinda, which translates as the Living King, was buried on the southeastern slope of the settlement of Afrasiab. Today there are 14 mausoleums, whose facades sparkle with blossoms of blue and blue ornaments and painted domes. Here are the tombs of famous personalities, military leaders, scientists and masters who have entered the glorious history of Samarkand.

17. Ark Citadel

The Ancient Walls of Citadel Ark

One of the interesting places, which can be attributed to the ancient cultural monuments of Uzbekistan, is located in Bukhara - the Ark Citadel. Archaeological research determined the age of the citadel - its foundations were laid between the 6th and 3rd centuries BC. Up to the beginning of the 20th century the citadel served as a palace for the rulers of Bukhara. During its long history many creative and scholarly minds, including Avicenna, Ferdowsi and Omar Khayyam, lived on the territory of the citadel. Nowadays the citadel has turned into a big museum, where there are several departments - for example, history, numismatics or nature department.

18. Gur-Emir (Tamerlane Mausoleum)

Tamerlane Mausoleum is a masterpiece of Central Asian architecture

Like many other famous monuments of Samarkand, Gur Emir Mausoleum is associated with the name of the famous warrior Tamerlane. Many descendants and associates of Amir Timur found their last resting place here. And the beginning of the construction of the tomb was associated with the sudden death of one of Tamerlane’s grandsons - Muhammad-Sultan. The family vault of the Timurid dynasty is a large single-domed building, the expressive design of which left a mark on many of the great architects of all Central Asia. The intricate wall paintings, filigree blue and gold patterns, and the combination of precious materials are further reminders of how great personalities rest within these centuries-old walls.

Sights of Uzbekistan: what else to see in Uzbekistan

The main sights of Uzbekistan were briefly listed above, but this is only a part of the memorable places, whose glory through the centuries has reached our days. In addition to man-made monuments, there are a lot of beautiful and amazing places created by nature itself on the territory of the country. Natural attractions of Uzbekistan photo with names and descriptions are given in the continuation of the review.

19. Charvak reservoir

Charvak Reservoir - artificial lake with crystal clear water

Charvak reservoir would be a simple artificial reservoir, if not for its emerald waters on the background of the magnificent nature, so harmoniously framing the banks. In the background are the peaks of the Tien Shan mountains, and the total length of the reservoir shoreline is almost a hundred kilometers. This contributed to the fact that with the advent of the reservoir began to actively develop and resort infrastructure: the coast is now the best hotels in Uzbekistan, summer camps, resorts and tourist centers, the entire coastal area is divided into several large recreation areas.

20. Kyzylkum desert

Sandy Landscape of the Kyzylkum Desert

In the Uzbek lands between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers lies the great desert of Asia - Kyzylkum. In addition to Uzbekistan, Kyzylkum partially extends into the lands of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, occupying a total area of 300 square kilometers. Despite the lifeless sand massifs, dry and sharply continental climate, flora and fauna is quite diverse, especially with the advent of spring when precipitation increases. Also the lands of Kyzylkum have been partially developed by man - small oases are created on the basis of artesian basins, gold ore deposits are discovered, and sheep breeding is carried out.

21. Fergana valley

Fergana Valley among the mountain ranges of the Tien Shan

Fergana Valley is a real gem of Uzbekistan with a rich and very picturesque nature. This fertile land, full of water resources, various natural resources and oasis lands, cultivated by sedentary farmers, and the perimeter of this land is surrounded by majestic Tien Shan ridges. Even in ancient times representatives of different civilizations lived in this blooming oasis, as evidenced by numerous archaeological finds.

22. Chimgan mountains

Chimgan Mountainscape

Chimgan mountains are not only beautiful nature, picturesque slopes overgrown with relict bushes, valleys and gorges with the cleanest mountain rivers. It is also a popular tourist area where skiing, paragliding, hiking thrives. The reviews testify that a trip to Chimgan Mountains allows you to “reload” and recover, being nourished by the inexhaustible source of energy - nature itself. They come here not only on vacation but also on weekends and holidays, and a large number of active tourist facilities and hotels can always find a suitable place for accommodation and overnight stays.

23. Ship cemetery in Muinak

Rotting in the sun fishing trawlers and boats in Muinak

Muynak was once a real oasis city where fishing flourished and the Aral Sea was one of the world’s largest salt lakes. Beginning in the 1960s, the sea began to be regularly drained by man in order to change the direction of the rivers to irrigate the fields. As a result of these activities, the sea began to die, denuding the land of much dust and poisonous chemicals. The rusty remains of ships are a sight to see, illustrating the sad consequences of the unwise treatment of the Aral Sea. The seaport that was once there has turned into a graveyard of ships, to the ruins of which you can go down and walk along the former seabed.

24. State Museum of the History of the Timurids

National Museum of the History of the Timurids in downtown Tashkent Sigismund von Dobschütz

In the heart of the main city of Uzbekistan, the capital city of Tashkent, the State Museum of the History of the Timurids is located - its collection contains more than 5 thousand exhibits from the era of Amir Timur and the Timurid dynasty. Opening of the museum in 1996 was timed to coincide with the 660th anniversary of Tamerlane’s birth, and the site was located next to the square of Amir Timur, surrounded by beautiful parks, public and educational institutions. The style of the building is appropriate to the epoch it is dedicated to - the round building is crowned with a huge blue dome, the walls are lined with mosaics in the national style. The interior rooms are solemnly decorated and impress with their pomp; the second and third floors are completely devoted to the history of the famous dynasty. The interior of these halls is richly decorated with gold leaf, marble, oriental paintings and miniature paintings; on the walls there are frescos depicting historical paintings. The exposition includes archeological, numismatic and ethnographic materials, military ammunition, skilful miniatures, pictures of Amir Timur performed by talented European masters.

25. History Museum of Uzbekistan

Museum of the History of Uzbekistan with original facade on Rashidov Avenue in Tashkent Stefan Munder
Exhibition gallery on the second floor of the Museum of the History of Uzbekistan in Tashkent Davide Mauro

The eventful history has found its reflection in numerous museums - these national attractions of Uzbekistan can be found even in the smallest towns of the country. What to say about the capital - in Tashkent at the end of the 19th century was founded the National Museum of Turkestan, which at the beginning of the last century was transformed into the Museum of History. The vast and original cubic building houses a large scale composition describing the country’s historical development through cultural objects such as tools, crockery and household items, jewelry, mirrors and many others. On the first floor there is administration, conference hall and cinema hall. And the most interesting places are on the 3rd and 4th floors. Around ten thousand exhibits are on display here, and this is just a small part of the 250-thousand collection in the funds. Among the most famous exhibits are a huge Saka cauldron from the 4th-5th centuries BC, a Buddha figure with 2 monks called “Triad” from the 1st century AD, samples of ancient fabrics and ceramics, coins, historical photographs and documents.

Official website: http://www.history

26. Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Tashkent

A view of the Roman Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Tashkent Or2008

Against the background of the usual Tashkent skyline of blue domes and minarets stands the gothic silhouette of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the main Catholic cathedral in Uzbekistan known to locals as the “Polish church”, which is not typical of Central Asia. It is worth saying that Christianity first began to spread in Central Asia in the first centuries AD thanks to the development of the Great Silk Road. Nevertheless, the first Catholic churches did not appear until many centuries later - for example, the construction of this cathedral started in 1912, and the process was mainly carried out by prisoners of war, among whom there were many specialists - architects, engineers, sculptors, etc. The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a magnificent example of Neo-Gothic architecture. Its odious and gloomy façade is adorned with stained-glass windows and spires, the interior is lined with granite and marble, and the furniture and doors are made of precious wood. The main hall is adorned with a 2-meter statue of Jesus Christ and a musical organ.

Official website: http://www.uzinform

27. Assumption Cathedral in Tashkent

Fountain and greenery on the grounds of the Assumption Cathedral in Tashkent GOL os

The history of the Assumption Cathedral is unique in that it was once a small cemetery church, called the Church of St. Panteleimon. In the middle of the last century work began to expand the temple. In the 1930s and 1940s, the church was closed, and its premises were used for the needs of a hospital. After the end of the Second World War, the church was consecrated with the name of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and appointed the main Orthodox cathedral in the capital. In 50-60’s the church was almost rebuilt, the new premises could accommodate up to 4 thousand worshipers. After the collapse, the cathedral was thoroughly renovated and restored. Today you can visit the territory of the cathedral by passing through a triple arch, topped with a golden dome. The constructions in the courtyard are strikingly beautiful. They are all designed in the same style according to classicism; the white decor in combination with the blue facades give the composition an airy feeling. The 5-tier openwork belfry, reconstructed in the 20th century, deserves special attention.

Official website: http://pravoslavie

28. Bolo House Complex

Facade of mosque with 20 columns and artificial reservoir in Bukhara Square - Registan Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

For travelers to Uzbekistan, there’s a good reason to take a hot tour with a visit to Bukhara. This city is famous for its many historical buildings that testify to turbulent historical events, among them the majestic Ark fortress occupies a special place. Another striking example of the architectural traditions of the East is the Bolo-Hauz Mosque, built near a spring of water. In general, the tradition of erecting artificial reservoirs, as well as mosques near them, appeared many centuries ago - there have always been problems with water on the territory of Central Asia. The beautiful architectural ensemble Bolo-Khauz has the status of Bukhara’s historical landmark. The mosque rises on Registan square and is decorated with 20 carved wooden columns. Near the mosque you can see the minaret, erected a few years after the mosque - this elegant structure for a long time before the reconstruction was in a slightly inclined condition, but later was thoroughly strengthened and acquired an upright appearance.

29. Khoja Donier Mausoleum

View of Khoja Donier Mausoleum and the site (dome) of the sacred spring Bobyrr
The long dakhma inside Khoja Donier Mausoleum, where the remains of the prophet are buried Dan Lundberg

The status of the most revered landmark of Samarkand has theMausoleum of Khoja Doniyer, located in the ancient settlement of Afrosiab. Today, thousands of pilgrims come to the tomb, including not only Muslims, but also Jews and Christians. All because Donier, in Orthodoxy Daniel is a prophet, significant in these three world religions. Anyway, it is worth visiting this sacred place for everyone who comes to get acquainted with Samarkand - it hides a lot of amazing beliefs and keeps a blessed spirit. Daniel was endowed by God with the ability to see and understand dreams and visions, and some of those concerning the end of the world and the second coming of Christ were recorded by the prophet and carried by peoples through the ages. One of the legends says that Amir Timur, making a pilgrimage to the place of the saint’s original burial, decided to move some of his relics to Samarkand, and now that is where the mausoleum is located. It is captivating in its peacefulness, and for many believers it is an ideal place to rest in peace and quiet, to find a state of grace.

30. Kukeldash Madrasah in Tashkent

A courtyard surrounded by two floors of hujras (cells) and a mosque at Madrasah Kukeldash in Tashkent

During the Middle Ages, arid Central Asia was a true cultural oasis. Intellect, knowledge of the basics of art and theology were the most important abilities of men of that time. At that time madrasahs served as educational centers, Muslim educational centers and, at the same time, religious seminaries, and nowadays they are historical and cultural landmarks of Tashkent. Kukeldash is the largest institution of its kind and an important architectural monument in the center of the Uzbek capital. This “high school” was founded in the 16th century by one of the people close to the Tashkent khans. This man had a nickname “kukeldash”, which in Uzbek means “foster brother of khan”. During centuries of the existence Madrasah was both fortress and hotel, it survived two strong earthquakes. That’s why the building has been restored many times, and only modern restorers were able to restore its original appearance - today the architecture and size of the madrasah is fully consistent with the canons of medieval architecture. The urge to explore the world more and more attracts modern travelers to Uzbekistan. Today almost everyone can afford it, even having a relatively modest budget. Uzbekistan is one of the post-Soviet countries, where with the fall of the “Iron Curtain” began a slow but steady development of tourism. Bright sun, exotic cuisine, an abundance of fruits and vegetables, oriental flavor, an unimaginable number of historical sites - this is what gives its guests a fabulous sunny country of the East.