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Uzbekistan travel guide - Travel S helper


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Uzbekistan, formally the Republic of Uzbekistan, is a Central Asian nation with two geographical borders. It is a presidential republic with twelve provinces, one autonomous republic, and a capital city. Kazakhstan to the north, Tajikistan to the southeast, Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, Afghanistan to the south, and Turkmenistan to the southwest border Uzbekistan.

The area that now comprises the Republic of Uzbekistan was captured in the early 16th century by Eastern Turkic-speaking nomads who were formerly part of the Turkic Khaganate and later Timurid Empires. During the nineteenth century, the region was progressively absorbed by the Russian Empire, and in 1924, what is now Uzbekistan became a bounded component republic of the Soviet Union called as the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (Uzbek SSR). On August 31, 1991, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, it proclaimed independence as the Republic of Uzbekistan (officially celebrated the following day).

Officially, Uzbekistan is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional country with a rich cultural history. The official language of the nation is Uzbek, a Turkic language written in the Latin script and spoken natively by roughly 85 percent of the people; nevertheless, Russian is also widely used. Uzbeks make up 81 percent of the population, followed by Russians (5.4%), Tajiks (4.0%), Kazakhs (3.0%), and others (6.5 percent ). The overwhelming majority of Uzbeks are non-denominational Muslims. Uzbekistan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the United Nations (UN), and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Uzbekistan’s economy is mostly based on commodity production, which includes cotton, gold, uranium, and natural gas. Despite its stated goal of transitioning to a market economy, its government continues to retain economic restrictions that favor domestic “import substitution” over imports.

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Uzbekistan - Info Card




jUzbek som (UZS)

Time zone



448,978 km2 (173,351 sq mi)

Calling code


Official language


Uzbekistan | Introduction

Geography Of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan has a total land area of 447,400 square kilometers (172,700 sq mi). It is the world’s 56th biggest nation in terms of land area and 42nd in terms of people. It is the fourth-largest CIS country by land and the second-largest by population.

Uzbekistan is located between the latitudes of 37° and 46° N, and the longitudes of 56° and 74° E. It is 1,425 kilometers (885 miles) long from west to east and 930 kilometers (580 miles) long from north to south. Uzbekistan, which borders Kazakhstan and the Aral Sea to the north and northwest, Turkmenistan to the southwest, Tajikistan to the southeast, and Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, is one of the biggest Central Asian nations and the only one to border all four. To the south, Uzbekistan shares a short border (less than 150 km or 93 mi) with Afghanistan.

Uzbekistan is a landlocked nation with an arid climate. It is one of the world’s two doubly landlocked nations (a country entirely encircled by landlocked countries), the other being Liechtenstein. Furthermore, none of its rivers flow into the sea owing to its position inside a series of endorheic basins. Less than 10% of the land area is heavily farmed irrigated land in river valleys and oasis. The remainder consists of huge desert (Kyzyl Kum) and mountains.

The Khazret Sultan, at 4,643 meters (15,233 feet) above sea level, is located in the southern section of the Gissar Range in Surkhandarya Province, on the border with Tajikistan, approximately northwest of Dushanbe (formerly called Peak of the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party).

The Republic of Uzbekistan has a continental climate, with minimal precipitation anticipated each year (100–200 millimetres, or 3.9–7.9 inches). The average high temperature in the summer is 40 °C (104 °F), while the average low temperature in the winter is about 23 °C (9 °F).

Demographics Of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is the most populated nation in Central Asia. Its 31,576,400 residents account for almost half of the region’s total population. Uzbekistan has a relatively youthful population: 34.1 percent of its population is under the age of 14. (2008 estimate). According to official statistics, Uzbeks account for the vast majority (80 percent) of the overall population. Other ethnic groups include Russians (5.5%), Tajiks (5%, official estimate, contested), Kazakhs (3%), Karakalpaks (2.5%), and Tatars (1.5%). (1996 estimates).

There is considerable disagreement regarding the Tajik population proportion. While official state figures from Uzbekistan put the figure at 5%, this is considered to be an underestimate, with some Western academics putting it as high as 20%–30%. The Uzbeks mingled with the Sarts, a Turko-Persian people from Central Asia. The bulk of Uzbeks nowadays are admixed and can trace their ancestors back to the Mongols and Iranian peoples.

Uzbekistan has an ethnic Korean community that Stalin forcefully moved from the Soviet Far East to the area in 1937–1938. There are also tiny Armenian communities in Uzbekistan, mostly in Tashkent and Samarkand. The country is 88 percent Muslim (primarily Sunni, with a 5% Shi’a minority), 9 percent Eastern Orthodox, and 3% other religions. According to the United States State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report 2004, 0.2 percent of the population is Buddhist (these being ethnic Koreans). For thousands of years, the Bukharan Jews have resided in Central Asia, mostly in Uzbekistan. In 1989, there were 94,900 Jews in Uzbekistan (approximately 0.5 percent of the population according to the 1989 census), but since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the majority of Central Asian Jews have fled to the United States, Germany, or Israel. In 2007, less than 5,000 Jews remained in Uzbekistan.

Russians make about 5.5 percent of the overall population of Uzbekistan. During the Soviet era, Russians and Ukrainians made up more than half of Tashkent’s population. In the 1970 census, the country counted almost 1.5 million Russians, accounting for 12.5 percent of the population. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was a large exodus of ethnic Russians, mostly for economic reasons.

Crimean Tatars, along with Volga Germans, Chechens, Pontic Greeks, Kumaks, and many other ethnicities, were exiled to Central Asia in the 1940s. Approximately 100,000 Crimean Tatars remain in Uzbekistan. Tashkent’s Greek population has shrunk from 35,000 in 1974 to about 12,000 in 2004. Following the pogroms in the Fergana valley in June 1989, the majority of Meskhetian Turks fled the country.

At least 10% of Uzbekistan’s labor force is employed overseas (mostly in Russia and Kazakhstan).

Uzbekistan has a 99.3 percent literacy rate among adults over the age of 15 (2003 estimate), which may be attributed to the Soviet Union’s free and universal education system.

In Uzbekistan, males have a life expectancy of 66 years and women have a life expectancy of 72 years.

Religion In Uzbekistan

According to a 2009 US State Department statement, Islam is by far the largest religion in Uzbekistan, with Muslims constituting 90 percent of the population, 5 percent of the population following Russian Orthodox Christianity, and 5 percent of the population following other faiths. According to a 2009 Pew Research Center study, Uzbekistan’s population is 96.3 percent Muslim. There were once an estimated 93,000 Jews in the nation.

Despite its supremacy, Islamic practice is far from uniform. In Uzbekistan, several different forms of the religion are practiced. Throughout the twentieth century, the struggle between Islamic tradition and different reform or secularization agendas left the outside world with a diverse range of Islamic practices throughout Central Asia. Non-denominational Muslims account for 54% of Muslims, Sunnis account for 18%, and Shias account for 1%.

The fall of Soviet authority in Uzbekistan did not result in an explosion of fundamentalism, as many had anticipated, but rather a gradual re-acquaintance with the faith’s tenets.

Jewish community

According to local legend, Jews first settled in the region 2,000 years ago, after the Babylonians’ expulsion from the kingdom of Israel. Other legends center on Jewish merchants who settled in the silk route region and Jews who fled to the region during Persian persecutions 1,500 years ago.

The Jewish community thrived for centuries, with only minor setbacks throughout the reigns of several kings. During Tamerlane’s 14th-century reign, Jews made significant contributions to his attempts to reconstruct Samarkand, and a large Jewish center was built there.

Jews were given equal rights with the indigenous people when the region was taken over by Russia in 1868. Approximately 50,000 Jews resided in Samarkand at the time, with another 20,000 in Bukhara. Following the 1917 Russian revolution and the creation of the Soviet government, Jewish religious activity was severely limited. By 1935, just one of Samarkand’s 30 synagogues remained; nevertheless, clandestine communal activity persisted throughout the Soviet period.

During WWII, tens of thousands of Jews from the Soviet Union’s European portions fled to Uzbekistan as refugees or were banished by Stalin. By 1970, the republic had 103,000 Jews registered.

With the emergence of nationalistic riots in the late 1980s as a consequence of the Soviet Union’s disintegration, which damaged, among other things, the Jewish quarter in Andijan, the majority of Uzbek Jews fled to Israel and the United States. Today, the nation has a tiny population of several thousand people: 7,000 in Tashkent, 3,000 in Bukhara, and 700 in Samarkand.

Language In Uzbekistan

Uzbek is Uzbekistan’s only official language. The majority of people are ethnic Uzbeks who speak Uzbek as their first language; however, owing to the country’s past as part of the Soviet Union, many also know Russian, which is still taught as a required second language in all schools. In Uzbekistan, there are also a large number of Tajiks and Kazakhs who speak their native tongue as a first language. In Samarkand and Bukhara, for example, Tajik is just as common as Uzbek to be spoken. Russian is commonly spoken, particularly in cities. The majority of people in Tashkent speak Russian, and it is just as common to hear it on the street as Uzbek.

The ethnic Karalkalpaks speak their own language, which is linked to Kazakh, in the semi-autonomous territory of Karalkalpakstan in western Uzbekistan. Many Karalkalpaks are also fluent in Russian.

People in cities are increasingly speaking English, particularly those in the hotel and catering industries. However, English is still not commonly spoken, so if you are unable to communicate in Uzbek, Russian is your best option.

Internet & Communications in Uzbekistan

Most of Uzbekistan has mobile coverage, and the services are reasonably priced. In Uzbekistan, there are many prominent mobile service providers, including Ucell, Beeline, MTS (MTC in Cyrillic), and Perfectum Mobile. After presenting his passport, a foreigner may get a SIM card. A individual must be registered in order to activate a mobile phone connection. Some merchants are often unaware of the rules and refuse to sell to foreigners.

Internet cafés may be found in the majority of cities. Speeds may be rapid at times, but they are usually sluggish.

Economy Of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan has the world’s fourth biggest gold reserves. The nation mines 80 tons of gold each year, ranking sixth in the world. Uzbekistan’s copper reserves are ranked tenth in the world, while its uranium reserves are ranked twelfth. The nation ranks eighth in the world in terms of uranium production. Uzbekneftegas, the Uzbek national gas corporation, ranks 11th in the world in natural gas production, with an annual output of 60–70 billion cubic meters (2.1–2.5 trillion cubic feet). Uzbekistan has substantial undeveloped oil and gas reserves: there are 194 hydrocarbon resources in the nation, including 98 condensate and natural gas deposits and 96 gas condensate deposits.

The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Petronas, the Korea National Oil Corporation, Gazprom, Lukoil, and Uzbekneftegas are the major companies engaged in Uzbekistan’s energy industry.

Uzbekistan’s economy, like many other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, fell during the early years of transition and subsequently rebounded after 1995, when the cumulative impact of policy changes became apparent. It grew at a rapid pace, increasing by 4% per year between 1998 and 2003 and then accelerated to 7%–8% per year afterwards. According to IMF projections, GDP in 2008 will be almost twice that in 1995. (in constant prices). Since 2003, yearly inflation rates have averaged less than 10%.

Uzbekistan has a GDP per capita of US$1,900 (in current currency in 2013), which equates to US$3,800 in PPP terms. Commodities dominate economic output. Uzbekistan was the world’s seventh-largest producer and fifth-largest exporter of cotton in 2011, as well as the world’s seventh-largest producer of gold. It is also a major producer of natural gas, coal, copper, oil, silver, and uranium in the area.

Agriculture employs 26 percent of Uzbekistan’s labor force and accounts for 18 percent of the country’s GDP (2012 data). Cultivable land covers 4.4 million hectares, or approximately 10% of Uzbekistan’s total land area. While official unemployment is extremely low, underemployment is believed to be at least 20%, particularly in rural regions. During the cotton harvest, all students and instructors are still recruited as unpaid laborers to assist in the fields. In South Korea, Uzbek cotton is even used to manufacture banknotes. Because to the exploitation of child labor in Uzbekistan, many businesses, including Tesco, C&A, Marks & Spencer, Gap, and H&M, have decided to boycott Uzbek cotton.

Faced with a slew of economic difficulties after gaining independence, the government pursued an evolutionary reform approach that emphasized state control, import reduction, and energy self-sufficiency. Since 1994, the state-controlled media has frequently declared the success of this “Uzbekistan Economic Model,” claiming that it is a one-of-a-kind example of a seamless transition to a market economy while avoiding shock, pauperism, and stagnation.

Significant macroeconomic and structural changes have been postponed as part of the gradualist reform approach. The state, in the hands of the bureaucracy, has remained a major economic force. Corruption pervades society and becomes increasingly prevalent with time: Uzbekistan was 137th out of 159 nations in the 2005 Corruption Perception Index, but ranked 175th out of 179 countries in 2007. According to the International Crisis Group’s February 2006 assessment on the country, earnings from major exports, including cotton, gold, maize, and now gas, are allocated within a relatively narrow circle of the governing class, with little or no benefit to the general public. Recent high-profile corruption scandals involving government contracts and major multinational corporations, most notably TeliaSoneria, have shown that firms operating in Uzbekistan are especially susceptible to corruption.

The government, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, is “resistant to permitting the growth of an independent private sector over which it would have no influence.”

Economic policies have discouraged foreign investment, resulting in the lowest per capita income in the CIS. For many years, the most significant obstacle to international firms entering the Uzbekistan market has been the difficulties in changing money. In 2003, the government accepted the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) requirements under Article VIII, which provided for complete currency convertibility. However, stringent currency restrictions and border tightening have mitigated the impact of this policy.

Immediately after independence (1992–1994), Uzbekistan suffered severe inflation of over 1000 percent per year. Stabilization measures carried out with IMF assistance paid well. Inflation rates were reduced to 50% in 1997 and subsequently to 22 percent in 2002. Since 2003, yearly inflation rates have averaged less than 10%. Tight economic measures in 2004 resulted in a significant decrease in inflation to 3.8 percent (although alternative estimates based on the price of a true market basket, put it at 15 percent ). Inflation rates rose to 6.9 percent in 2006 and 7.6 percent in 2007, but have since stayed in the single digits.

Uzbekistan’s government limits international imports in a variety of methods, including hefty import tariffs. To safeguard locally produced products, excise taxes are used in a very discriminating way. Official tariffs are coupled with unofficial, discriminatory levies, resulting in total costs of up to 100 to 150 percent of the product’s real worth, making imported goods practically expensive. Import substitution is an officially stated strategy, and the government proudly claims that the amount of consumer products imported has been reduced by a factor of two. Import tariffs in Uzbekistan are officially waived for a number of CIS nations.

The Republican Stock Exchange (RSE) first opened its doors in 1994. RSE trades the equities of all Uzbek joint stock enterprises (about 1250). As of January 2013, there were more than 110 listed businesses. Securities market volume surpassed $2 trillion in 2012, and the figure is constantly increasing due to businesses’ increased interest in obtaining required resources via the capital market. According to the Central Depository, the par value of outstanding shares of Uzbek emitters surpassed 9 trillion in January 2013.

Since 2003, Uzbekistan has maintained a solid external stance. The current account turned into a large surplus (between 9 percent and 11 percent of GDP from 2003 to 2005), thanks in part to the recovery of world market prices for gold and cotton (the country’s key export commodities), expanded natural gas and some manufacturing exports, and increased labor migrant transfers, and foreign exchange reserves, including gold, more than doubled to around US$3 billion.

In 2010, foreign exchange reserves totaled 13 billion US dollars.

According to a worldwide bank HSBC study, Uzbekistan is expected to be one of the world’s fastest expanding economies (number 26) in the next decades.

Entry Requirements For Uzbekistan

Visa & Passport for Uzbekistan

Except for passport holders from CIS nations, everyone needs a visa. A ‘Letter of Invitation’ (LOI) is no longer required for citizens of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, but it is still required for the vast majority of others, including Canadian and US citizens under the simplified visa procedure.

In order to apply for a visa, Complete the application form found here, print the resultant pdf, and bring it, together with some photographs and a photocopy of your passport, to your closest Uzbek embassy. They will next request authorization to grant a visa from the MFA in Tashkent, which takes 7-14 days. You will be able to pick up your visa after this authorization has been given. To save two visits to the embassy, you may get a LOI in advance (by email), and if approved, you can pick up your visa at your preferred embassy in just one visit – this is convenient for those traveling who need to pick up a visa ‘on the move.’ When making a hotel reservation, travel firms often provide you with a LOI. Speak with a local travel agency in your own country. For a short stay, the LOI will usually cost US$30-40. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website..

Within three days of entering the nation, you must complete a registration, which is an official declaration stating the place at which you will be residing. If you stay in a decent hotel, they will do it automatically; but, if you stay in a home, you will have to fill out a lot of paperwork in order to register yourself.

Expect somewhat long immigration and passport formalities when entering Uzbekistan, although they are quite easy. You will be asked to disclose all of the money you bring into the nation – don’t worry about this – declare all you have and make sure you depart with less money. The government of Uzbekistan does not want valuable foreign money to leave the nation.

Travel permits are needed for mountain regions near Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan’s borders, including large portions of the Ugam-Chatkal and Zaamin National Parks.

How To Travel To Uzbekistan

Get In - By plane

Tashkent International Airport “Yuzhniy” is Uzbekistan’s major airport (IATA: TAS). The airport itself is fairly modern, with many foreign airlines as well as Uzbekistan Airways operating. The airport infrastructure is excellent, but the personnel is not. Most of them will be useless bureaucrats with an unhelpful attitude. Baggage claim and customs processes may take up to two hours.

Andijan, Bukhara, Ferghana, Karshi, Namangan, Nukus, Samarkand, Tashkent, Termez, and Urgench all have airports.

Get In - By train

Passenger services are only available to Kazakhstan and through Kazakhstan to Russia and Ukraine. Among them are the following trains:

  • Tashkent – Moscow (3 times weekly): Train 6 Uzbekistan leaves Moscow on Mon, Wed and Fri at 23:15 and arrives in Tashkent at 22:35 on Wed, Fri and Sun. The distance from Moscow to Tashkent by rail is 3,369 km.
  • Tashkent – Ufa (3 times weekly)
  • Tashkent – Chelyabinsk (once weekly)
  • Tashkent – Kharkov (once weekly)
  • Tashkent – Saratov (every 4 days)
  • Nukus – Tashkent – Almaty (once weekly)

In addition, railway lines connect Uzbekistan to Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. However, service to Turkmenistan has been halted.

Get In - By car

There are routes from neighboring nations, however the borders may be closed and there have been security issues. Some border regions are at danger of land mines.

From Afghanistan

The Friendship Bridge, located 10 kilometers south of Termiz, connects Afghanistan with Uzbekistan.

From Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan share just two border crossings:

  • The major road crossing between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan is Gisht Kuprik (Chernyaevka) between Shymkent and Tashkent. A shared cab or marschrutka from the Kolos bus station in Shymkent to the border costs about US$ 4. The journey takes approximately one hour. The border is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Tashkent time). You must cross the border and take a cab from the border to Tashkent, which will cost about UZS 6000. There have been reports of border wait times of up to 5 or 6 hours.
  • Another crossing is located between Beyneu in western Kazakhstan and Kungrad in Uzbekistan.

From Kyrgyzstan

  • Buses from Bishkek to Uzbekistan stop at the border at Gisht Kuprik (Chernyaevka). You will need to take a cab from the border to Tashkent, which will cost you UZS 6000. Kazakhstan requires a transit visa.
  • You may walk over the border after taking a taxi or minibus from Jalal Abad to Khanabad (20som).
  • From Osh, you may take a cab (50som) or a minibus (5som) to Dustlyk (Dostyk) and then a shared taxi to Andijan in Uzbekistan.

From Tajikistan

The distance between Dushanbe and the border at Denau is about 55 kilometers. Taxis leave from Dushanbe’s Zarnisar Bazaar. A cab ride will cost about 8TJS and will take approximately 90 minutes. There are Minbusses that go from the border to Denau. You’ll need to take a shared cab to Samarkand from there.

You must take a shared cab from Penjikent to the Tajik-Uzbek border (5 TJS, 22 km) and then another taxi from the border to Samarkand (about 50 km).

Get In - By bus

Buses run to all neighboring countries when land borders are open.

Get In - By boat

Uzbekistan is landlocked, with the exception of the southern portion of the inland Aral Sea. In reality, it is one of the world’s only two doubly landlocked nations, the other being Liechtenstein.

How To Travel Around Uzbekistan

Get Around - By train

The most convenient method to travel between Uzbekistan’s main tourist cities is via rail. The main line Tashkent-Samarkand-Bukhara is serviced once a day by two express trains called “Afrosiob” and “Sharq”: The Afrosiob is a Talgo-250-type train that travels 2.5 hours to Samarkand, whereas the “Sharq” travels 600 kilometers from Tashkent to Bukhara (with an intermediate stop in Samarkand) in less than 7 hours. A daily overnight train from Tashkent to Bukhara allows you to travel through the night and win one day. Sleeping cars that are comfortable enable for a pleasant night’s sleep.

In contrast to regular local trains, express trains feature three classes: economy (2nd), business (1st), and VIP (expect some free drinks and snacks). The Afrosiob is the quickest and most costly train, costing 51,000/68,000/98,000 soms from Tashkent to Samarkand for 2nd/1st/VIP class. Taking the Sharq saves you approximately 22,000 soms ($7) in each class, but extends the journey duration by almost 1.30h.

Overnight trains operate between Tashkent and Samarkand to Urgench (3 times per week) and Nukus – Kungrad (2 times per week), making it feasible to go by rail to Khiva (30 kilometers from Urgench, taxi/bus available) or the Aral lake (Moynaq, 70 kilometers from Kungrad). On Thursdays, there is an overnight train from Urgench to Bukhara.

Sleepers are classified into four types:

  • miagki vagon (soft wagon) – 2 berth compartments
  • kupeiny vagon – 4 berth compartments
  • platskartny vagon – benches in a large car
  • obshi vagon – don’t take that one

Purchase your ticket as soon as possible (booking at the day of departure is sometimes impossible: trains can get full or computer problems can make booking impossible). If you go to the ticket counter personally, you’ll need to present your passport. Some basic Russian may also be useful. Alternatively, you may purchase your trip via an Uzbek travel agent.

Get Around - By shared taxi

The second-best choice, as well as an experience. Don’t be put off – as far as people go, they are fairly safe; the roads, on the other hand, are a another matter – when they exist! However, this is the only feasible route to travel from Nukus to Khiva, or from Khiva via Urgench to Bukhara.

The taxi driver will have a destination city, so ask around at the ranks for the city you’re going to. If you match, you may then work out a price. Ask around ahead of time, since each passenger negotiates individually with the driver, allowing him to charge locals regular prices and take you for everything you have.

After that, you just wait. The vehicle only departs when it is full or when the driver becomes bored. If at all feasible, choose the front passenger seat – ‘only a lemon occupies the middle seat.’ Don’t be nice about it; you don’t want the middle seat. When it’s 50 degrees Celsius in the middle of the desert and you don’t have air conditioning (you pay extra for a vehicle with that), you want to be as near to a window as possible, with just one person sweating against you!

In addition, the roads are sluggish and, at times, non-existent – dirt paths with potholes. If you’re fortunate, it takes 6-8 hours to get from Urgench to Bukhara. Still, the vehicle will most likely make it – after you complete this part, you’ll see why you don’t want to risk the bus.

Get Around - By bus

In Uzbekistan, bus travel is only for the really daring and not for those in a hurry. Except for special excursions, buses are old, dilapidated, overcrowded, terribly sluggish, and prone to breakdowns. If you must travel by bus in Uzbekistan, bring toilet paper with you and watch what you eat at rest breaks.

Get Around - By car

Take the right lane. A valid international driver’s license is needed. Minimum age: 17 years old. Speed limit: 60-80 km/h in cities, 90 km/h on highways.

In Uzbekistan, there are numerous two-lane paved highways:

  • AH5 from Gishtkuprik/Chernyavka on the border to Kazakhstan via Tashkent, Syrdaria, Samarkand, Navoi and Bukhara to Alat on the border to Turkmenistan (680 km),
  • AH7 from the border to Kyrgysztan via Andijon, Tashkent and Syrdaria to Xovos/Khavast on the border to Tajikistan (530 km),
  • AH62 from Gishtkuprik/Chernyavka on the border to Kazakhstan via Tashkent, Syrdaria, Samarkand and Guzar to Termez on the border to Afghanistan (380 km),
  • AH63 from Oazis on the border to Kazakhstan in the North West of Uzbekistan via Nukus and Bukhara to Guzar (950 km paved road, 240 km unpaved)
  • AH65 from Uzun on the border to Tajikistan to Termez on the border to Afghanistan(180 km)

Get Around - Urban transport

The metro is an excellent choice throughout the day. It is suggested that you utilize cab services after 12 a.m. It is preferable to pre-arrange for a taxi (car service) to bring you up. Some automobile services are available to foreign-speaking visitors. More information is available at the hotel.

Destinations in Uzbekistan

Regions in Uzbekistan

  • Ferghana Valley
    The most rich and populated region of the nation, but also the most volatile, with ethnic groups such as Uzbek and Kyrgyz having disagreements.
  • Northern Uzbekistan
    Geographically dominated by the apparently endless red sands of the Kyzylkum Desert, and politically controlled by Qaraqalpaqstan, the large independent republic of the Qaraqalpaqs, Uzbekistan’s North is best known in tourist circles for the historic Silk Road city of Khiva, as well as the fading Aral Sea.
  • Samarkand through Bukhara
    The journey through the Zeravshan River valley through Central Asia’s most significant ancient towns of Samarkand and Bukhara, densely inhabited mostly by ethnic Tajiks, is really the core of the Silk Road.
  • Southern Uzbekistan
    Tajiks predominate in the country’s one hilly region, where Uzbekistan meets the formidable Pamir Mountains.
  • Tashkent Region
    The political and economic heart of the nation, centered in Tashkent, the capital.

Cities in Uzbekistan

  • Tashkent is the contemporary capital and biggest city in Uzbekistan.
  • Andijan is the fourth biggest city in Uzbekistan, located in the middle of the lively yet volatile Ferghana Valley.
  • Bukhara is a 2,500-year-old famous Silk Road city whose historical core is a UNESCO World Heritage site packed with outstanding examples of colossal, medieval Islamic, and Central Asian architecture.
  • Khiva is the location of the Itchan Kala.
  • Namangan is the third biggest settlement in the Ferghana Valley, located on the northern border of the valley.
  • Nukus, the capital of Qaraqalpaqstan on the Amu Darya, is home to the Savitsky Gallery’s avant-garde art collection and is surrounded by an area ravaged by the environmental deterioration caused by the drying of the Aral Sea.
  • Samarkand – the country’s second biggest city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and home to the most renowned Silk Road landmark of them, the Registan.
  • Shakhrisabz is a tiny city whose historical core is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its magnificent Timurid Dynasty structures.
  • Termez — the southernmost city on the Afghan border, called by Alexander the Great’s troops for the high temperatures they encountered

Accommodation & Hotels in Uzbekistan


There are many hotels across the nation. There are different kinds of hotels in Tashkent where you may stay, and it can cost you US$60 or more depending on how much you’re prepared to spend for your enjoyment at a hotel.

Yurt stays

  • Nurata Yurt Camp, near Aydakul Lake, approximately 500 km (7 hours drive) from Tashkent, 250 km (3 hours drive) from Samarkand and Buchara, US$ 60 per person with full board and camel ride. The Yurts can sleep 8 to 10 people.
  • Ayaz Kala Yurt Camp, about 100 kilometers from Khiva, 70 kilometers from Urgench, 450 kilometers from Buchara, and 150 kilometers from Nukus. Phone 2210770, 2210707, 3505909, fax 53243-61. A pontoon bridge over the Amu Darya River connects Khiva with Urgench. The yurts are located on a 30-meter-high hill near the ancient site of Ayaz Kala. Ayaz Kala’s historic fortifications are close. US$ 60 per person, which includes three meals. The yurts can sleep 20 to 25 people.
  • Aydar Yurt Camp is located in the Navoi area of the Kyzyl Kum desert, 10 kilometers from Lake Aydar Kul. Camel safaris are popular in Aydar Yurt Camp.

Things To See in Uzbekistan


Uzbekistan has a rich architectural history that has been maintained. The creation of massive structures was seen as a matter of prestige, highlighting the authority of the reigning dynasty, prominent families, and higher clergy. The exterior look of cities was greatly influenced by their defenses. Semicircular turrets surrounded the walls at regular intervals, while darwazas denoted town entrances (gates). These gates were typically flanked by two massive towers and featured a lofty vault and a gallery for observation.

The doors were locked at night and in the event of an emergency. Rows of stores specializing in various products lined the major streets, and many talented artisans established their workshops in these stalls. The most prominent covered marketplaces are known as tag, tim, or bazaars (shopping passageways), as well as charsu (crossroads, literally “four directions”). The ark (fortress) served as the administrative hub of large cities. It housed the emir’s palace, the chancellery, the Treasury, the arsenal, and the prison for high-ranking inmates. The towns also featured enormous public centers, which consisted of a maydan (open square) surrounded by massive civic or religious structures.

Religious buildings

  • The town is home to the Friday Mosque (Masjid Al Jumu’ah). It featured a large courtyard with a gallery around it and a maqsura (screened-off enclosure) in the main axis. The Kalan Mosque in Bukhara is a good example.
  • The Oratory Mosque (Namazgah) is located just outside of town. Public prayers were held during two major Muslim holidays. Worshippers congregated in an open area in front of the structure, where the minbar (imam’s pulpit) was located.
  • The Neighbourhood Mosque was a modest structure that had a covered hall with the mihrab and an outside gallery with columns. They were constructed with contributions from the residents of the neighborhood and are often ornately adorned. The Baland (Boland) Mosque in Bukhara is an example of this style.
  • The Madrasa is an institution for ulama higher education (Islamic scholars). The madrasa has a courtyard with two or four aywand (arched gateways) on the axis that used as classrooms during the summer, a series of cells on one or two levels, darsakhanas (lecture rooms) in two or four corners, and a mosque for daily prayer. The main façade features a lofty entrance with two or four minaret-like towers at the building’s corners. Madar-Khan, Abdullah Khan, Kukeldash, Nadir Divan Begi, and Abdul Aziz Khan at Bukhara, Shir-Dor and Tilla-Kari at Samarkand, Kukeldash and Baraq Khan in Tashkent, Said Ataliq at Denau, and Mir Rajab Dotha at Kanibadam are among the 16th and 17th century madrasas that have been maintained. Narbuta Bi in Kokand, Qutlugh Murad Inaq, Khojamberdybii, Khoja Moharram, Musa Tura, and Allah-Quili Khan in Khiva are examples of 18th and 19th century madrasas.
  • The Khanaqah was once a guest house for traveling Sufis near their pir’s home (spiritual masters). Under the Timurids, these became gathering places for Sufi order members, visited by representatives of the governing class, and often a zikr-khana (chamber for exposition and Sufi rituals) was built. Khanaqas from the 16th and 17th centuries include Zaynuddin, Fayzabad, Bahaudin, and Nadi Divan-Begi in Bukhara, Mulla Mir near Ramitan, Qasim Shaiykh in Karmana, and Imam Bahra near Khatirchi.
  • In the 14th and 15th centuries, memorial structures were built for Temur and his family, such as Gur-Emir and Shah-i Zinda in Samarkand and Shakrizabs. Fewer mausoleums were constructed in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Qafal Shashi Mausoleum in Tashkent is an example from this era. Monumental structures were often built around sacred graves. A magnificent kanaqah was constructed near the Naqshbandi order’s founder, Bahauddein, in Bukhara, as well as at Char Bakr, the family necropolis of the prominent Juybari shaykhs. Mauseoleums for kings were no longer constructed after the 16th century. The Shaybanids of Samarkand were buried at the Abu Said Mausoleum on the Registan, Ubaydullah Khan of Bukhara in the Mir-i Arab Madrasa, and Abdul Aziz Khan in the Abdul Aziz Madrasa.

Civic architecture

  • Market buildings (Charsu, Tim, Taq) are the beating heart of every oriental town. The charsu is a structure with a central dome that stands at a crossroads and is flanked by stores and workshops with lesser domes. The tim is a trade route, while the taq is a smaller-scale domed structure constructed at the junction of main streets. The Taq-i Zargaran (Goldsmiths’ Dome) in Bukhara features an octagonal center chamber capped by a dome supported by 32 intersecting arches. Small domes top the stores and workshops that surround the center area.
  • Caravanserais – Along the commercial routes, caravanserais played an essential role. A caravanserai is a rectangular structure with a wide courtyard, galleries for animals and luggage, accommodation for travelers, and a mosque, according to the traditional design. The outside walls were tall and strong, the entrance was carefully guarded, and there were defensive towers at the corners. Rabat al-Malik is the finest place to practice. A few caravanserais have remained, some in ruins, such as the caravanserai at Qaraul Bazar on the route from Bukhara to Karshi and the Abdullah Khan caravanserai on the road from Karshi to Termez.
  • Bathhouses from the 16th and 17th centuries have survived at Samarkand, Sahrh-i Sabz, Bukhara, and Tashkent. They are heated via a system of ducts under the floor that distributes heat evenly throughout the structure. Some of them feature dressing rooms, hot and cold rooms, massage rooms, and water closets. Bathhouses are covered with domes, which give them their distinctive look.

Nature Reserves

  • Jeyran Ecological Centre (40 km from Bukhara). Men in jeeps and helicopters chased the jeyran (Central Asian gazelle) in the past century. The Uzbek jeyran is now listed as endangered in the Red Book of Endangered Species. The Jeyran ecological center, which was established in 1985, is the only one of its type in Central Asia. Originally, 42 jeyrans were transported here, but now 700 distinct creatures dwell in a fenced-in area of 5000 hectares. The reserve also breeds Prezhevalskiy horses and koulans in addition to jeyrans.
  • Kitab State Geological Reserve.  
  • Kyzylkum Tugai and Sand Reserve (in the north-west of Bukhara Province). The reserve was established in 1971. It encompasses the floodplains of the Amu Darya River as well as the nearby sand-dune desert. The riverbank vegetation covers 3177 hectares, whereas the sand covers 2544 hectares. The ideal season to visit the reserve is in the spring. The reserve is home to 190 bird species, including herons, river terns, wild ducks, sandpipers, and turtle-doves, according to ornithologists. The reserve’s flora is rich, with poplars, silver oleasters, and riverbank willows. The tugai forests are home to deer, wild boars, wolves, jackals, foxes, hares, and reed cats, and the jeyran population is being recovered.
  • Nuratau-Kyzylkum Biospheric Reserve. The Nuratau-Kyzylkum Biospheric Reserve is being implemented by the government of Uzbekistan, the Global Ecology Fund, and the United Nations Development Program, and is being co-financed by the German Union for Nature Protection. The reserve is located between Central Asia’s desert and mountain systems. It comprises of the southern portion of the Kyzylkum Desert, the lakes Aydarkul and Tuzgan, and the Nuratau and Koitash mountain ranges. On Lake Tuzgan, the current Nurata Reserve and Arnasay Ornithological Reserve will be incorporated into the new Nuratau-Kyzylkum Biospheric Reserve. The Severtsev ram or Kyzylkum ram, golden eagle, bearded and black griffon-vultures are among the species included in the Red Book of Endangered Species. Rare varieties of walnut trees, Central Asian juniper, Bukhara almond trees, pistachio trees, wild vines, apricot trees, apple trees, and different dog roses may be found in the reserve. The Nuratau-Kyzylkum Biospheric Reserve will be included to the UNESCO list of worldwide biosphere reserves. The lessons learned will be used to the establishment of biosphere reserves in the Central Kyzylkum Desert, the Southern Ustyurt Desert, and the tugai forests of the Amu Darya River.
  • Ugam-Chatkal National Park (in the spurs of the Western Tien Shan, about 80 km from Tashkent). Ugam-Chatkal National Park, established in 1947, is one of Uzbekistan’s oldest natural reserves. The Western Tien Shan is home to 44 species of animals, 230 species of birds, and 1168 plant species, including many endemics. White-claw bears, wolves, Tien Shan foxes, red marmots, stone-martens, Turkestan lynx, snow leopards, wild boars, badgers, Siberian roes, mountain goast and Tien Shan wild rams, wild turkeys, mountain partridges, golden eagles, bearded and eagle vultures, and bearded and eagle vultures The Pskem ridge’s slopes are densely forested with walnut trees, wild fruit trees, and wild shrubs. Archaeologists have taken up residence on the river’s banks (Central Asian juniper). The 100,000-hectare Chimgan-Charvak-Beldersay Resort Zone has three health-recreation complexes: ‘Charvak,’ ‘Chimgan,’ and ‘Beldersay.’

Food & Drinks in Uzbekistan

Food in Uzbekistan

If a restaurant does not offer a menu or a pricing, always ask for one. While some well-established restaurants are unexpectedly excellent value by Western standards, other random or less known eateries attempt to take advantage of visitors by charging up to five times the usual price.

  • Osh (also known as plov, palov or pilaf) is the national dish. It’s composed of rice, carrots, onions, and mutton, and it’s something you’ll consume if you visit Uzbekistan. Plov is prepared differently in each area, therefore you should try it in various places. Plov was created by Alexander the Great’s chefs, according to mythology. Plov may be prepared with peas, carrots, raisins, dried apricots, pumpkins, or quinces as well. Spices such as chiles, crushed or dried tomatoes are often used.
  • Chuchvara – filled ravioli with mutton and onions (also known as ‘pelmeni’ in Russian).
  • Manti – a dumpling-like dish stuffed with lamb and onions, frequently with onions, peppers, and mutton fat.
  • Somsas, are pastry pockets that are filled with meat, mutton, pumpkin, or potatoes. In the spring, “green somsas” are prepared using “yalpiz,” a kind of grass that grows in the highlands and rural areas. And the wonderful part is that folks just pick them up for free and use them to create delicious somsas. On the streets, you may find somsas being cooked and sold.
  • Lagman – Lagman is a hearty soup made of beef, potatoes, spices, veggies, and noodles. It should have 50 components by rights. Carrots, red beets, cabbage, radishes, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, and onions are often included. Noodles should be very thin.
  • Shashlik – Shashlik is a kind of barbecued meat. Typically served with just onions. Eight to ten pieces of veal or mutton are marinated in salt, peppers, and vinegar before being cooked on a spit over an open fire.
  • Bread – Uzbeks consume a lot of bread (known as non in Uzbek). Lepioshka is a kind of round bread. It is available everywhere, however it costs about 400 sum in the bazaar. Samarkand is well-known for its bread. The traditional Samarkand bread obi-non is cooked in clay ovens. Every meal includes bread.
  • Mastava. Mastava is a rice soup with onion, carrots, tomatoes, peas, and, ultimately, wild plums.
  • Shurpa. Shurpa is a mutton (occasionally beef) broth with vegetables.
  • Bechbarmak. A nomad Kazakh specialty, boiling sheep or ox meat and liver chunks eaten with onions, potatoes, and noodles

As a historic crossroads and a part of many empires, the roots of Uzbek cuisine are very diverse. This one-of-a-kind cuisine incorporates Indian, Iranian, Arab, Russian, and Chinese influences.

Drinks in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan has two national drinks: tea and vodka (result of more than a century of Russian domination of the land).

  • Tea is offered almost everywhere: at home, in the workplace, at cafés, and so on. Instead of water, Uzbeks drink black tea in the winter and green tea in the summer. If tea is served traditionally, the server will pour tea into a cup from the teapot and then back into the teapot. This action is carried out three times. These repeats represent loy (clay) sealing thirst, moy (grease) isolating from the cold and danger, and tchai (tea or water) extinguishing the fire. If you are given tea in an Uzbek house, the host will make every effort to ensure that your cup is never empty. If the host refills your cup, it is usually time for you to go, although this happens very infrequently since Uzbeks are extremely friendly. The left hand is seen as unclean. The right hand is used to offer and receive tea and cups.

A dizzying array of wine and vodka brands are available nearly everywhere.

  • Wine – Uzbekistan’s wine has received many worldwide renowned prizes for its excellent quality. There’s nothing to be concerned about, since the sun shines nearly every day in this nation. Although Uzbekistan is mostly Muslim, the Islam practiced there is more cultural than religious in nature.
  • Beer – Beer is sold in every store and is regarded as a soft drink, thus no license is required to sell it. There are specially licensed stores that offer Vodka, Wine, and other alcoholic beverages. Only a few stores sell Russian-made vodka.
  • Kumis is a kind of alcoholic mare’s milk.

Visitors should be aware that tap water in certain areas is hazardous to drink, while water is safe to drink in Uzbekistan’s capital. In any situation, bottled water is recommended.


There are many nightclubs and restaurants in Tashkent. They typically work till late at night or early in the morning. Bring enough of cash since beverages and snacks are much more costly than at daytime establishments. There are also nightly Uzbek “chill-out” restaurants where you may eat traditional Uzbek cuisine while lying on big wooden couches (tapchans/suri). After 11 p.m., it is not advisable to linger around on the street or in parks. Even if you don’t have any issues with criminals, you will undoubtedly draw the unwelcome attention of local police (militsiya) patrolling the neighborhood.

Money & Shopping in Uzbekistan


Uzbekistan is less costly than neighboring Kazakhstan, but likely more expensive than Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan. A street snack will set you back around USD0.80. The cost of a decent double room is USD40.


In October 2014, the official exchange rate for the Uzbekistani so‘m (cм in Cyrillic script and symbolised as UZS) was USD1 = UZS2,358.

However, Uzbekistan is in the unusual position of having a large trade surplus (because to its energy exports) while simultaneously having a parallel black market exchange rate. As of August 2015, the black market exchange rate was about 4,500, making it worthwhile to bypass official exchange bureaus. Because the UZS1,000 notes are the most common, you will be lugging around blocks of money, therefore ask for the UZS5,000 notes, which are readily accessible on request. The US dollar was undoubtedly the preferred foreign currency, but the euro is increasingly widely recognized. The greatest location to exchange money in Tashkent is Chorsu Bazaar, but currency exchange may be done everywhere.

ATMs accept international cards, but only at the official exchange rate and are typically empty. As a result, it is preferable to save enough money to prevent a scenario like this. Some cash machines do accept US dollars; nevertheless, be cautious about withdrawing a significant sum of money and then departing Uzbekistan with more money than you reported when you arrived.


Bazaars are where people in Uzbekistan typically purchase their products. Only department shops have set prices. Haggling is part of the game at bazaars, private shops, and private souvenir stores. Bazaars are the greatest places to watch people going about their everyday lives. The Alayski Bazaar is one of Central Asia’s oldest and most renowned bazaars. The Eski Djouva and Chor Su bazaars in Tashkent’s Old City include exquisite carpets, silk, spices, handicrafts, and traditional clothing.

Festivals & Holidays in Uzbekistan

New Year’s Day, January 1st (Yangi Yi Bayrami)

International Women’s Day is observed on March 8th (Xalqaro Xotin-Qizlar Kuni)

Navroz (Persian New Year) (Navro’z Bayrami) is celebrated on March 21.

May 9 is Remembrance Day, Peace Day, or Liberation Day (Xotira va Qadirlash Kuni), commemorating the participation of Uzbek troops in the Soviet army and the death of 500.000 Uzbek soldiers during World War II.

Independence Day (Mustaqillik Kuni) is celebrated on September 1 to commemorate the declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Teachers’ Day (O’qituvchi va Murabbiylar Kuni) is celebrated on October 1.

Dec. 8 is Constitution Day (Konstitutsiya Kuni), commemorating the promulgation of Uzbekistan’s first constitution in 1992.

Culture Of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is home to a diverse range of ethnic groups and cultures, with Uzbeks being the majority. In 1995, about 71% of Uzbekistan’s population was Uzbek. Russians (8%), Tajiks (5–30%), Kazakhs (4%), Tatars (2.5%), and Karakalpaks (2.5%) were the most numerous minority groups (2 percent ). However, the number of non-Uzbeks residing in Uzbekistan is reported to be reducing as Russians and other minority groups depart and Uzbeks return from other areas of the former Soviet Union.

When Uzbekistan achieved independence in 1991, there were fears that Islamic extremism would spread across the region. The assumption was that a nation that has long denied religious freedom would see a dramatic rise in the expression of its dominant religion. In 1994, more than half of Uzbekistan’s population was claimed to be Muslim, but according to an official study, only a small percentage of that number had any genuine understanding of the religion or understood how to perform it. However, there is an increase in Islamic adherence in the area.


Shashmaqam, or Central Asian classical music, originated in Bukhara in the late 16th century, when the city was a regional center. Shashmaqam is linked to Azerbaijani muqam and Uyghur muqam. The name, which translates as “six maqams,” alludes to the music’s structure, which includes six parts in six distinct musical modes, akin to classical Persian traditional music. Interludes of spoken Sufi poetry break the music, usually starting in a lower range and gradually rising to a climax before returning to the initial tone.

The endurance of listening and the consistent crowds that attend events such as bazms or weddings are what make folk-pop music so popular. In Uzbekistan, classical music is quite distinct from pop music. During a morning or evening meeting of guys, most men listen to solo or duet performances. The primary component of classical music is shash maqam. The strong backing of musicians from upper-class households meant that the Shash maqam was to be prioritized above everything else. Some of the music is inspired by poetry. In certain cases, the two languages are even blended together in the same song. Folk music became less popular in the 1950s, and it was banned from radio stations. They did not entirely eradicate the music, but the term was changed to feudal music. Despite the prohibition, folk musical ensembles continued to perform and disseminate their music in their own unique ways. Many people claim it was the most liberating musical experience they’d ever had.


Uzbek cuisine, like that of most other countries, is inspired by local agriculture. Uzbekistan has a lot of grain cultivation, thus breads and noodles are important, and Uzbek cuisine has been described as “noodle-rich.” Mutton is a popular kind of meat in Uzbekistan owing to the quantity of sheep in the nation, and it is used in a range of Uzbek recipes.

Palov (plov or osh), a main course usually prepared with rice, chunks of meat, and shredded carrots and onions, is Uzbekistan’s trademark meal. Oshi nahor, or morning plov, is given to large groups of guests in the early morning (between 6 and 9 a.m.), usually as part of a continuing wedding celebration. Shurpa (shurva or shorva), a soup made of large pieces of fatty meat (usually mutton) and fresh vegetables; norin and langman, noodle-based dishes that can be served as a soup or a main course; manti, chuchvara, and somsa, stuffed pockets of dough served as an appetizer or a main course; dimlama, a meat and vegetable stew; and various kebabs, usually served as

Green tea is the national hot beverage used throughout the day, and teahouses (chaikhanas) are culturally significant. In Tashkent, black tea is favored, although both green and black tea are consumed on a regular basis, without milk or sugar. Tea is always served with a meal, but it is also a drink of hospitality that is always given to every guest: green or black. Ayran, a chilled yogurt drink, is popular in the summer, although it is not a substitute for hot tea.

Although alcohol consumption is lower than in the West, wine is rather popular for a Muslim country due to Uzbekistan’s secularism. The oldest and most renowned winery in Uzbekistan is the Khovrenko Winery near Samarkand (established in 1927). The Samarkand Winery makes dessert wines from local grape types like as Gulyakandoz, Shirin, Aleatiko, and Kabernet likernoe (literally Cabernet dessert wine in Russian). Uzbek wines have gained worldwide recognition and are sold to Russia and other nations.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Uzbekistan

Stay Safe in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan’s border regions with Afghanistan should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Extreme care is also advised in parts of the Ferghana Valley that border Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. A number of security events have occurred in this area, as well as numerous exchanges of gunfire across the Uzbek/Kyrgyz border. Some border regions are mined as well. Travelers should avoid these locations and only cross at approved border crossing points.

Uzbekistan is usually safe for tourists, which may be a byproduct of a police state. There have been many anecdotal (and a considerable number of recorded) claims of an upsurge in street crime, notably in major cities such as Tashkent. There has been an upsurge in violent crime as a result of this. Because the state-controlled press seldom, if ever, covers street crime, information about crime is mainly accessible solely via word of mouth – both among residents and among the expat population. As Uzbekistan’s economic situation worsens, street violence is on the rise.

Normal care should be taken, just as they would in any other nation. Be cautious after dark, especially in cities (few travelers would spend much time overnight in tiny towns), avoid unlit places, and don’t wander alone. Even during the day, avoid publicly displaying large sums of money. Wallets should be kept in a front pocket for males, while purses should be kept in front of them with a strap over an arm for ladies. Avoid wearing showy or expensive jewelry that may be readily stolen.

Scams are not uncommon. One of the most frequent (and not unique to Uzbekistan) includes a stranger approaching the victim and claiming to have discovered cash on the street. They will then attempt to recruit your participation in a complex plan that will result in you “sharing” the money – but only after you have put up some of your own. The whole situation is absurd, yet it seems that enough selfish foreigners fell for it that it will continue. If someone approaches you with the “found cash” technique, tell them right immediately (in whichever language you choose) that you are not interested and go away.

Also, be wary of those who promise to show you the “nightlife.” This should be avoided at all costs, but some tourists seem to have left their common sense at home.

While all of these measures should be taken while traveling elsewhere in the globe, many visitors in Uzbekistan seem to relax their guard. They should not do so.

It is also likely that you may be questioned for papers by the police (Militsiya). This doesn’t happen very frequently, but it may happen, and they have the legal authority to do so. By law, you must take your passport and visa with you in Uzbekistan; nevertheless, it is preferable to create a color scan of the first two pages of your passport and your Uzbek visa before arriving. Carry the color copies with you when you go out, and keep the originals in the hotel safe. Scanned papers are nearly always sufficient. If not, inform the Militsiya officer that he must come to your hotel to view the originals. Unless they have anything unusual in mind (such as a bribe), they will nearly always grin and urge you to follow along. Always be courteous, yet forceful, while dealing with the Militsiya. While nearly all of them accept bribes, the majority of them accept them from locals. They realize, for the most part, that going too far with a foreigner would only bring them difficulties, particularly if the foreigner is not aggressive or terrified.

One thing to keep in mind regarding locals wanting to show you around: It is typical for younger Uzbeks (mainly men) who speak English to “meet” tourists at local hotels and volunteer to act as interpreters and guides. This is done in broad daylight, typically at or near some of the smaller but nicer hotels. Both the local and the tourist may benefit from this. The native is generally attempting to improve their English or French (sometimes other languages, but mainly English) while also earning a few dollars/euros. If you are approached by a clean-cut person offering such services and are interested, ask them about their background, what they propose to do for you, and how much they want to charge you (anywhere between $10 and $25 a day is reasonable depending on their services and how long they spend with you). The majority of genuine proposals will come from young individuals who have studied in the West on exchange programs and/or at Tashkent’s University of World Diplomacy and/or Languages. You should think about it if everything appears to match, their language skills are excellent, and they seem eager and courteous, but not aggressive. They should offer to show you museums, historical places, cafés, bazaars, cultural advice, and general directions. They should inquire as to what you want to see and/or do. This often works out nicely. However, do not try to participate in any kind of political debate for your or their safety.

Again, if they offer “night life” (or similar) services, DO NOT TAKE THEM UP ON THEIR OFFER.

Due to deteriorating ties between the United States and Uzbekistan in recent years, the US State Department has strongly discouraged American citizens against traveling to Uzbekistan.

Stay Healthy in Uzbekistan

Unlike many Western nations, Uzbekistan does not have a no-smoking regulation in pubs and restaurants. As a result, confined places, particularly in cold weather, may be extremely uncomfortable for nonsmokers.

Before eating fruits and vegetables, they should be peeled. Drinking Uzbek (locally made) vodka is not recommended. The majority of Uzbek vodkas are not only bad for you, but also hazardous to your health.



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Tashkent ( meaning “Stone City”) is Uzbekistan’s capital and biggest city. It is an old city on the Great Silk Road, which connects China and Europe....