In the heart of Central Asia, among several other countries with difficult names ending in "stan" and that we don’t know where to locate on a map, there’s Uzbekistan.
Of course, it’s not the first country that usually comes to mind when you are planning your vacations, at least this was my case. However, since I travelled there, it’s hard for me to understand why it goes unnoticed. We are very familiar with ancient cultures such as the Roman, Greek or Chinese, however we are not aware of the great cultural wealth hidden along the ancient Silk Route.
First of all, I must admit that it’s a unique country: a region where temperatures can rise from over 50°C in summer to less than -20°C in winter, a land of nomadic people and powerful Emirs, of yurts standing on the steppe alongside millennial fortresses, where the main religion is Islam and the national drink is vodka, and where mosques coexist with old-fashioned Soviet buildings.
The national dish also deserves special mention, and not only for its curious name: plov. This rice dish is cooked in more than 50 ways in Uzbek cuisine, and it will surprise you with its pleasant aroma and exotic flavour.
Maybe after this little introduction, Uzbekistan is starting to grab your attention. And I haven’t told you the best yet...
Alleys that will make you feel like Aladdin.
Stunning mosques, madrasas and minarets of intricate blue and green mosaics.
Surprising desert landscapes like the Aral Sea, with its ship graveyard.
Smiling women wearing colourful dresses.
Noisy markets where everyone tastes everything before buying it.
Amazing artisans and craftsmen who work with wood, ceramics, fabrics…
Uzbekistan is hidden gem you will love to discover.