Imagine a country where representatives of different nationalities and traditions coexist in an amazing way, and whose culture is unique… A country where the rich historical architectural heritage is organically combined with modern buildings and high technologies, whose artisans even today create unique works of architecture. A country with unique nature and landscapes with high mountains, hot deserts, endless turquoise lakes, wide valleys, scarlet tulips and shirleys, wonderful gardens with fragrant sweet fruits.
Amazingly, all this can be found in one country! And this place is Uzbekistan!
A visit to this unique country, located in the heart of Central Asia, promises tourists not only exposure to the ancient architectural monuments included in the UNESCO Heritage List, but also a fascinating journey along the ancient routes of the Great Silk Road or climbing to the highest point of Uzbekistan – the Hazrat Sultan Peak.
Uzbekistan has a huge tourist potential: there are 7.4 thousand cultural heritage sites, 209 of them as part of four museum-cities (Ichan Kala in the city of Khiva, the historical center of Bukhara, the historical center of Shakhrisabz and the city of Samarkand) are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The country has 11 national parks and state nature reserves, 12 wildlife reserves, 106 museums, 37 theatres, 187 recreation and entertainment parks.
To develop the tourism sector and promote “Uzbekistan” brand on the world stage, the government has taken a number of measures, including such important steps as:
● changes in the visa legislation of the country. Since February 2019, citizens of 45 countries are able to visit Uzbekistan without visas for up to 30 days. Also, since July last year, electronic visas, visa-free entry for foreigners under the age of 16 years and 5-day visa-free entry for transit passengers from 101 countries have been introduced;
● providing a number of benefits and preferences for entrepreneurs operating in the field of tourism. The benefits include partial tax exemption, land allocation, long-term loans and much more;
● development of tourism infrastructure. Much attention is paid to the development of transport infrastructure, the expansion of external and internal transportation routes, improving the quality of tourist services;
● promotion of Uzbekistan tourism in the international and domestic markets.
Uzbekistan is rapidly developing popular types of tourism – gastronomic, extreme, pilgrimage, ethnic, business, rural, wine and others. Therefore, more and more new routes and tourist service centers are being established.
In addition to visiting the historical sights and Holy places in the country, one can arrange a beach holiday with mountain hikes and walks, explore the history of the wine business and taste the existing varieties of wines, spend leisure time in ski resorts, participate in the annual motor racing in the Kyzylkum desert or on the shore of the Aral Sea.
For the first time in Uzbekistan, the largest tourism events were held – the international investment forum in the field of tourism and the international forum on Ziyorat (pilgrimage) tourism.
As a result of the forum on Ziyorat tourism, the Bukhara Declaration on the recognition of Uzbekistan as one of the centers of Ziyorat tourism was signed.
In addition, Uzbekistan is preparing to receive guests during the celebration of international festivals: “Bakhshi” in Termez, “Silk and Spices” in Bukhara, “Shark Taronalari” in Samarkand.
A more extensive list of planned events for this year can be found on the website of the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Tourism Development at https://uzbektourism.uz, under the heading “Unified national calendar of cultural, entertainment, sports, exhibition and other public events”. This is a great opportunity for tourists to visit interesting events and fairs in Uzbekistan.
Traveling through the regions of Uzbekistan, one can enjoy the colorful festivals of harvest — the “Melon Festival” or celebrate Nowruz with the locals, visit “Boysun Bakhori” (Baysun Spring) in Surkhandarya region and witness the fascinating dance festival “Raks Sehri”.
In addition, for more than a quarter of a century the International Tourism Fair “Tourism on the Silk Road” is held every autumn in Tashkent, and a gastronomic festival as part of the forum.
It is worth noting that at the end of 2018, the Uzbek cuisine was awarded the first place in the category “Gastronomic Tourism” according to National Geographic, and Uzbekistan is recognized as one of the most attractive and intriguing destinations for tourism by many foreign publications, including The New York Times, Wales Online, The Guardian, Lonely Planet and others.