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Welcome to hospitable Uzbekistan!

Welcome to Uzbekistan!

Today Uzbekistan with its numerous ancient monuments, rich nature,
and the present-day rapid progress attracts the whole world's attention.
For centuries the country was at the intersection of the Great Silk Road
routes along which merchants, geographers, missionaries,
and later tourists traveled. It is striking how the history,
traditions and cultures of the nationalities populating
the present-day Uzbekistan have been entangled with the history of Great Silk Road.
Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, and Shakhrizabs, where cultural and spiritual
values had been long since concentrated, outstanding scientific centers
and schools were established, architecture, craftsmanship, and applied
art were flourishing, played the role of main urban centres.
Creative work and various scientific achievements of the local
scientists, thinkers, and poets have proved to be a valuable
contribution to the development of the world civilization.
Abu Ali ibn Sino (Avicenna), al-Khorezmiy (Algorithm),
Mirzo Ulugbek, Bakhouddin Nakshband (patron of modern Sufism),
al-Bukhoriy, at-Termeziy, Abu Raikhon Beruniy,
Alisher Navoiy - this is but a short list of names of prominent figures of Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan, where monuments of ancient cultures of different ages are concentrated,
is rightly called a treasury of history. Ichan-Kala complex in Khiva,
historical centers of Bukhara, Shakhrizabs and Samarkand are included
in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Many unique monuments and
architectural constructions in these towns have remained in a
good state up to the present day and are of a great significance to the mankind.
The monuments of Samarkand are majestic and wonderful.
In this town one can feel the breath of history itself
as a center of East like Rome for the West. It can be traced
in the ancient ruins as well as in the medrassahs, mausoleums,
which have been decorating the city until now.
In 1370 Amir Timur (Tamerlan) designated Samarkand as the capital
of his great state that spread from Mongolia and Siberia to Syria
and India. From his campaigns he brought many skillful architects
and craftsmen whose works of art have outlasted the ages.
The legendary Samarkand square of Registan has up to now
been considered to be one of the main architectural sights of Central Asia.
Since old times Bukhara was the center of a densely populated oasis.
Archeologists noted that the city was constantly growing,
both in width and in height. Ruins of dwellings, public buildings,
defense structures dating back to different periods of the city's
history were found in the earth stratum at the depth of 20 meters.
There are more than 140 monuments of ancient architecture
in Bukhara altogether. Minaret Kalyan, the striking symbol
of the city, towers over it. Everyone who has seen "Great Minaret"
built in 1127 will long keep in memory the impression of its greatness and original beauty.

Having once visited Bukhara, you will long stay under impression
both of Samanid Mausoleum (original 9th century with elements of
Zoroastrian architecture) and many other monuments of antiquity,
which surround you almost everywhere. Craftsmen-chasers will
reproduce ancient patterns on copper and silver right before
your eyes; jewelers will make replicas of unique adornments,
which the beauties used to wear thousands of years ago.
Involuntarily you ask yourself: how many centuries has this town numbered?   

Khiva is the only town of the period of the Great Silk Road,
which has remained fully undamaged till now. Time seems to
go centuries back here. That is why the town has rightly
gained fame of "the museum in the open". In Khiva with its
narrow alleys where legends of old times seem to have been
reflected in stone and wood, you can easily imagine the life
of former generations which will not repeat itself but has
left us old traditions, legends, and precepts.
Most of architectural monuments of Ichan-Kala complex
in Khiva date back to the late 18th - first half of the 19th centuries.
But the excavations on its territory revealed much more ancient layers
dating back to the 3rd and even earlier centuries B.C.
Ichan-Kala is surrounded by a thick wall which is 2100 meters
long and has several gates. The silhouette of the huge Islam-Khodzha
minaret stands out over the town.          
Shakhrizyabs is the birthplace of Amir Temur where everything,
one way or another, is connected with his name. Having established
the Movarrounnakhr Empire, having become an absolute ruler - emir,
Timur designatied Samarkand as his capital. But he always remembered
and took care of his hometown. In fact, Shakhrizabs was the second
capital of the empire. Many beautiful constructions appeared here
in the times the Timurids. Best architects, construction workers,
masters of architectural decoration were sent here by the emir's orders.
Alongside with the local masters they built majestic constructions
thus realizing the experience and traditions of different countries.

Ancient monuments on the territory of the present-day Uzbekistan
are put on the list of the values of the world civilization.
These monuments situated along the Great Silk Road traditionally
attract attention of the general public: both specialists who study
the Orient and international relations of the ancient world and
ordinary people who seek after knowledge of the unknown world.
Tashkent, the capital of the present-day Uzbekistan,
is one of the biggest cities of Central Asia and
is called "Messenger of Peace". These names amazingly reflect
the very essence of the city, which for more than 20 centuries
has been symbolically illuminating with the light of peace and
kindness the lives of both its inhabitants and the road for travelers.
In the past Tashkent had different names: Yuni, Chach, Shash, Binkent.
Its present name was first introduced in the 11th century works
by Beruniy and Makhmud Kashgariy.     

The urge for the ways to protection from hot climate and earthquakes
gave rise to peculiar know-hows in construction. There appeared
interesting types of dwellings with covered yards,
sliding shutters "keshgarcha". Residential areas with a maze
of narrow alleys formed the environment for standing out mosques,
madrassahs, and mazars (cemeteries). Today Tashkent is a large
industrial center with about 300 companies producing almost
everything which contemporary person needs: from aircraft and
tractors to TV sets and toys for children. Here the images of
old times join the modern skyscrapers made of glass and metal,
multilevel overbridges, parks, museums, fountains.
Tashkent is rapidly becoming a modern developed international megapolis.

Many-sidedness of the history of Uzbekistan is brightly reflected
in its geographical location. Termez, located in the very south
of the country can serve a good example of this. It came into
being at the end of 19th century and had the appearance of
a typical semi- Asian semi-European town. It was a one-storied town,
with public buildings made of baked bricks and dwellings made of adobe,
with flat roofs in Oriental style and windows facing the street
in Western mode, in greenery of gardens, with customary acacias,
elms and planes along the pavements. Today Termez is a modern town,
the center of Surkhandarya Viloyat (Province).
Many years of scientific study have revealed that this peaceful
and quiet town has a long and eventful history.
It was in Surkhandarya region that the most famous Central Asian sites
of primitive man were found. The territory of Surkhandarya region was
a part of many states: the empire of Alexander the Great, Bactria,
the empire of Chenghiz-Khan and Amir Temur, sharing with each its fate.
Archeologists use to find the unique traces of their might and power.
Founded on the right bank of the Jeyhun River (the Amudrya River) at
a convenient crossing place, at a crossroads of caravan routes of
the Great Silk Road, 5 km north-west from the present-day Termez,
Old Termez had in centuries time become one of the leading towns.
Later it was destroyed by hostile raids and internal wars.

The name "Pearl of Central Asia" has been positively attributed
to rich and picturesque Fergana Valley, which always played
a significant role in the history and culture of Central Asia.
Fergana Valley is truly a unique part of the Orient. In ancient
times the valley was the center of various civilizations,
which is proved by evidence of antic settlements and monuments
of the Middle Ages.
Today Fergana Valley is the most flourishing region of the country.
The astonishing nature enchants with a variety of colors.
The Sirdarya River, formed by the Karadarya and the Naryn River,
flows along the northern border of the valley.
These rivers feed main canals: the Big Canal, the Northern Canal
and Southern Canal, which appeared on the map of the region as
a result of national construction projects of the 20th century.
Fergana Valley, the big and flourishing oasis with the most
fertile land in Central Asia, where the towns of Fergana, Kokand,
Andizhan, Namangan are situated, is rightly called "Golden Valley".
Uzbekistan comprises an autonomous republic Karakalpakstan most part
of which is the territory of the Kizyl-Kum desert, plateau Usturt,
the delta of the Amudarya River and the southern part
of the Aral Sea. The most ancient settlements here date back to the Stone Age.
The Karakalpaks belong to the Central Asian ethnic groups with
bold Mongoloid features. Earlier they led semi-nomadic life,
practiced agriculture, cattle breeding and fishing. For the most
part they lived in yurtas (nomadic temporary houses). In spite of
the fact that today the native customs are being kept only by the
old generation, the signs of ancient traditions can be traced in
the house interiors, clothing, food, peculiar applied art.
Nukus, the capital of Karakalpakstan, is a beautiful modern town,
the center of economic and cultural life of the republic.
Everyone who is visiting Nukus should certainly see Karakalpakistan
State Museum of Art named after its founder, the famous artist
Igor Savitskiy. The museum displays not only works of painters
but also a wide variety of local artifacts found in the region,
which attest to continuity of cultures.
Karakalpakistan truly proves to be a vivid example of times correlation.
Beautiful and tempting, promising surprising meetings and discoveries,
it is ready to impart its mysteries and share its legends.
Uzbekistan today is the country where thousands-old antiquity exists
in harmony with modern civilization. Harmonious correlation of times
is seen everywhere. Ancient monuments, Old Town houses made of adobe
bricks stand next to many-storied sky scraping buildings constructed
in accordance with the unique designs worked out by architects
of the 20th century. The traditions of the people are being carefully preserved.
Arts and crafts have been developing here throughout the centuries;
their secrets have been passed from generation to generation
as great treasure. The unique works of unknown masters strike
you dumb by the flight of fancy. In the present-day Uzbekistan
traditional cultural values are being treated with great care,
the state supports revival of the arts and crafts, contributing
to their further development. Uzbek ceramics, embossing,
wood carving, golden embroidery, carpets, varnished miniature,
jewelry are well known far outside our country.

Non-material heritage is not less unique and has been acknowledged by UNESCO.
For example, the folklore singing of Baysun district, Surkhandarya Province,
Uzbekistan, is included as a cultural object in UNESCO list to
be protected by the international community.
Melodiousness and oriental rhythms of ritual songs and musical
compositions sung and played in other regions of the country are amazing too.

The institution of family remains firm in Uzbekistan.
It is considered one of the most important values of life.
Uzbekistan is notable for the world's lowest divorce rate.
As a rule, Uzbek families have many children, especially in
the rural areas, where women are mostly housewives.
They combine housework with arts and crafts such as hand-spinning,
embroidery, carpet weaving. Their works are common in any local house,
which Uzbek women usually decorate with great love.
The settled way of life made people look after their houses very carefully.
Inner yards and even the streets next to houses are kept very clean.

Nowadays, along with the clothing of European style the Uzbeks
wear national clothing, especially on holidays. Men usually wear
striped quilted robe, belted with a beautiful sash, and a skullcap
to cover their heads. Women wear loose bright dresses made
of traditional fabrics: khan-atlas, bekasam, kalami.

The dishes of National Uzbek cuisine are notable not only for
their practicability but for certain skills required for their cooking.
Unique Uzbek pilaf (uzbek rice), aromatic transparent shurpa (soup),
juicy manti made of dough bags and meat, shashlyk with its smack
of smoke and spices are famous all over the world. It would be
unthinkable to have a dastarkhan (table-cloth) without greens,
vegetables, fruit, sun-fed melons and bunches of grapes.
Melting on the tongue sweets, nuts and almonds cooked by
grandmother's recipes complement the dastarkhan. Green tea
is a favorite drink of the Uzbeks. It quenches thirst on a sultry day.

Uzbekistan is truly an amazing land with original national culture
where the heritage of ancient times is being carefully preserved
and a society with modern economy and developed science and art
is being simultaneously built.
In the present-day Uzbekistan a lot is being done so as
to restore the unique monuments - witnesses of the
country's past; owing to these programmes of restoration
and preservation work many of these monuments have been given second birth.