UZBEKISTAN

UZBEKISTAN

UZBEKISTAN

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Name: Gur-e-Amir
Location: Samarkand, Uzbekistan
The Gūr-i Amīr is a mausoleum of the Asian conqueror Timur in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. It occupies an important place in the history of Persian-Mongolian Architecture as the precursor and model for later great Mughal architecture tombs, including Gardens of Babur in Kabul, Humayun's Tomb in Delhi and the Taj Mahal in Agra, built by Timur's Persianised descendants, the ruling Mughal dynasty of Indian Subcontinent. It has been heavily restored.

Gur-e Amir is Persian for "Tomb of the King". This architectural complex with its azure dome contains the tombs of Tamerlane, his sons Shah Rukh and Miran Shah and grandsons Ulugh Beg and Muhammad Sultan. Also honoured with a place in the tomb is Timur's teacher Sayyid Baraka. The earliest part of the complex was built at the end of the 14th century by the orders of Muhammad Sultan. Now only the foundations of the madrasah and khanaka, the entrance portal and a part of one of four minarets remains. The construction of the mausoleum itself began in 1403 after the sudden death of Muhammad Sultan, Tamerlane's heir apparent and his beloved grandson, for whom it was intended. Timur had built himself a smaller tomb in Shahrisabz near his Ak-Saray palace.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gur-e-Amir
Name: Shah-i-Zinda
Location: Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Shah-i-Zinda is a necropolis in the north-eastern part of Samarkand, Uzbekistan. The Shah-i-Zinda Ensemble includes mausoleums and other ritual buildings of 9-14th and 19th centuries. The name Shah-i-Zinda (meaning "The living king") is connected with the legend that Kusam ibn Abbas, a cousin of the prophet Muhammad, is buried here. He came to Samarkand with the Arab invasion in the 7th century to preach Islam. Popular legends speak that he was beheaded for his faith, but he didn't die, took his head and went into the deep well (Garden of Paradise), where he's still living now.

The Shah-i-Zinda complex was formed over eight (from 11th till 19th) centuries and now includes more than twenty buildings. The ensemble comprises three groups of structures: lower, middle and upper connected by four-arched domed passages locally called chartak. The earliest buildings date back to the 11-12th centuries. Mainly their bases and headstones have remained now. The most part dates back to the 14-15th centuries. Reconstructions of the 16-19th centuries were of no significance and did not change the general composition and appearance. The initial main body - Kusam-ibn-Abbas complex - is situated in the northeastern part of the ensemble. It consists of several buildings.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shah-i-Zinda
Name: Ark of Bukhara
Location: Bukhara, Uzbekistan
The Ark of Bukhara is a massive fortress located in the city of Bukhara, Uzbekistan that was initially built and occupied around the 5th century AD. In addition to being a military structure, the Ark encompassed what was essentially a town that, during much of the fortress' history, was inhabited by the various royal courts that held sway over the region surrounding Bukhara. The Ark was used as a fortress until it fell to Russia in 1920. Currently, the Ark is a tourist attraction and houses museums covering its history.

The first known reference to the Ark is contained in the "History of Bukhara" by Narshakhi (899 - 960). Abubakra wrote "Bindu, the ruler of Bukhara, built this fortress, but it soon was destroyed. Many times it was constructed, many times destroyed." Abubakra says that when the last ruler to rebuild asked counsel of his wise men, they advised him to construct the fortress around seven points, located in the same relation to each other as the stars of the constellation Ursa Major.

When the soldiers of Genghis Khan took Bukhara, the inhabitants of the city found refuge in the Ark, but the conquerors smashed the defenders and ransacked the fortress.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ark_of_Bukhara
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COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO UZBEKISTAN.
FACTS:
Official Languages: Uzbek
Currency: Uzbekistan Som (UZS)
Time zone: UZT (Uzbekistan Time) (UTC+5)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +998
Local / up-to-date weather in Tashkent (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for Uzbekistan travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to Uzbekistan, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
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NON-PERMISSIBLE
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*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO UZBEKISTAN.

The currency of the country is the Uzbekistani so‘m, denoted in Cyrillic as “сўм” (ISO code: UZS).

The currency floats freely, so there is no black market.

10,000 som and 50,000 som notes were introduced in 2017 and are the usual notes which you will get at the exchange counter. Even a 100,000 som note has been in circulation since March 2019 but these are more common with black market money changers and rare to get from banks. The US dollar used to be the foreign currency of choice, but nowadays the euro is also accepted everywhere although at a worse rate.

Since March 2018, it has been illegal to change money outside official currency exchange offices, which are found only in banks and some expensive international hotels. In particular, the money exchange at Chorsu Bazaar has stopped, although you might find yourself being asked by one or the other person on the market if you want to exchange currency with them. Their exchange rate can be much worse than the official one. As of March 2018, it was possible to exchange all sorts of foreign currency at the official exchange offices, even very small bills. The exchange of US dollars and euros appeared to be done at almost the market rate, while Russian rubles were exchanged at 5-10% below the market rate.

ATMs can be found in larger cities (Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Termez and apparently there is one in Nukus). Some provide som with a 4% commission but all provide USD at a rate of 0-1.5%. These can then be exchanged painlessly for som at any bank. Sometimes black market money changers will give a better rate of dollars and rubles (look for a group of men hanging out by an “Aviakassa”) but for euros the bank is almost certainly a better call. Visa is a better option than MasterCard, ATMs that accept MasterCard are few and far between. Be careful of withdrawing a large number of dollars and then leaving Uzbekistan with more money than you declared when you entered. You have to declare foreign currency above USD1000 at the airport upon arrival.

BY TRAIN:

The most comfortable way to travel between the major tourist cities in Uzbekistan is by train. The main line Tashkent – Samarkand – Bukhara is served once a day in each direction by two express trains named “Afrosiob” and “Sharq”: The Afrosiob is a Talgo-250-type train that makes a respective distance in 2.5 hours – it even meets most definitions of high speed rail at 250 km/h (160 mph) top speed – to Samarkand and the “Sharq” makes the 600-km-journey Tashkent – Bukhara (with intermediate stop in Samarkand) in less than 7 hours. A daily overnight train to and from Tashkent to Bukhara offers the possibility to travel during the night and so a day is not lost travelling. Comfortable sleeping cars allow a good sleep.The timetable is available online. The server is often down, but you can use the Russian Railways website to see timetables.

Unlike to ordinary local trains the express trains have three classes: The economy class (2nd) with 36 persons per carriage and still plenty of space and comfort, the business class (1st) and the VIP class (expect some free drinks and snacks). The Afrosiob is the fastest and most expensive train which costs from Tashkent to Samarkand for 2nd/1st/VIP 51,000/68,000/98,000 soms. Doing the same trip with the Sharq will save you around 22,000 soms ($7) in each class, but increases the travel time for almost 1.30h.

Overnight trains also run from Tashkent and Samarkand to Urgench (3 times weekly) and to Nukus – Kungrad (2 times weekly), so it’s also possible to travel to Khiva (30 kilometers from Urgench, taxi/bus available) or to the Aral lake (Moynaq, 70 km from Kungrad) by train. On Thursdays, there is an overnight train in Urgench that also stops in Bukhara.

There are four types of sleepers:

  • miagki vagon (soft wagon) – 2 berth compartments
  • kupeiny vagon – 4 berth compartments
  • platskartny vagon – closely packed beds in a commonspace
  • obshi vagon – as above but beds used in the seating configuration, therefore used for day trips

BY SHARED TAXI:

The second best option, and an experience. Don’t be put off – these are pretty safe as far as the people go, the roads are a different story – when they exist! But for getting between Nukus and Khiva, or Khiva to Urgench to Bukhara, this is the only realistic way to go.

The taxi driver will have a destination city – so at the ranks ask around for the city you’re headed to. If you match, you then negotiate a rate. Ask around beforehand, you can quite easily get ripped off, because each passenger negotiates separately with the driver, so he can charge locals normal rates and take you for all you have.

Once you’ve done that, you wait. The car only leaves when full, or when the driver gets bored enough. If possible, get the front passenger seat – ‘only a lemon takes the middle seat’. Don’t be polite about this – you do not want that middle seat. When it’s over 50°C in the middle of the desert, with no air conditioning (you pay extra for a car with that), you want to be as close to a window as possible, and with only one person sweating against you!

Also, the roads are slow and sometimes of very poor quality. It takes 6-8 hours from Urgench to Bukhara if you’re lucky. Still, the car will probably make it – when you do this section you’ll understand why you don’t want to risk the bus.

10,000 som per hour in a shared taxi between cities is a good rule of thumb, depending on your haggling skills.

BY BUS:

If you travel any distance on a bus in Uzbekistan, take toilet paper with you and be careful what you eat at stops along the way.

Intercity buses are uncomfortable. No more uncomfortable than other intercity buses in this part of the world, but the constant hooting, bickering locals, tinny Russian music videos and ever-present smell of sausages can make for an irritating journey.

On the bright side, if you’re lucky you might be offered some sausages.

BY CAR:

Drive on the right. International driving permit required. Minimum age: 17. Speed limit: 60 to 80 km/h in urban areas, 90 km/h on highways.

There are several paved highways with two lanes in Uzbekistan:

  • 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)

URBAN TRANSPORT:

During the day the metro (underground train) is the good option. After 12 midnight you are recommended to use taxi services. It is better to call the taxi (car-service) to pick you up in advance. Some car-services can serve the foreign speaking tourists. You can get more information in the hotel.

EAT:

When you go to restaurants, always ask for menu or price if they do not provide one. While some of the well-established restaurants are surprisingly good value by Western standard, some of the random or less popular restaurants try to take advantage of tourists by overcharging up to five times the normal price.

  • Bread – Uzbeks eat lots of bread (non in Uzbek). Round bread is called lepioshka in Russian. You can buy it anywhere, in the bazaar it costs around 1,000-2,500 som. Samarkand is very famous for its bread. The characteristic Samarkand bread obi-non is traditionally baked in clay furnaces. Bread is served with every meal.
  • Chocolate – Not something you associate with Uzbekistan, but the country produces some very good chocolate cake. A slice of rich moist cake can cost 10,000 to 25,000 som in a cafe or restaurant. However if you purchase in a cake shop expect to pay 4,000 to 5,000 som per slice. A slice can cost even less if you are able to charm one from a seller in the wholesale section of the market. Individually wrapped chocolates are also available by the kilogram from mix and match bins in the markets and also in some convenience stores.
  • Chuchvara – similar to ravioli and stuffed with mutton and onions (aka ‘pelmeni’ in Russian).
  • Lagman – thick soup with meat, potatoes, spices, vegetables and pasta. By right, it should include 50 ingredients. Often carrot, red beet, cabbage, radish, garlic, tomatoes, peppers and onions are added. The noodles should be very thin.
  • Manti – lamb and onion filled dumplings, often with onions, peppers and mutton fat.
  • Osh (also known as plov, palov or pilaf) is the national dish. It’s made of rice, carrots, onions, and mutton, and you will eat it if you go to Uzbekistan. Each region has its own way of cooking plov, so you should taste it in different places. According to legend plov was invented by the cooks of Alexander the Great. Plov can also be made with peas, carrots, raisins, dried apricots, pumpkins or quinces. Often spices such as peppers, crushed or dried tomatoes are added.
  • Shashlik – grilled meat. Usually served only with raw onions. Veal or mutton is marinated in salt, peppers and vinegar and eight to ten pieces of meat are grilled on a spit over the open fire.
  • Somsas, which are pastry pockets filled with beef, mutton, pumpkin or potatoes. In spring time “green somsas” are made from so-called “yalpiz” a kind of grass which grows in the mountains and in rural parts of regions. And the amazing thing is people just pick them up for free and make tasty somsas. You can find somsas being cooked and sold on the streets.
  • Mastava. rice soup with pieces of onion, carrots, tomatoes, peas and occasionally wild plums.
  • Shurpa. soup of mutton (sometimes beef) and vegetables.
  • Bechbarmak. a speciality of the nomadic Kazakhs, boiled meat of sheep or ox and pieces of liver, served with onions, potatoes and noodles.

Being a historic crossroads and part of numerous empires, Uzbek food is very eclectic in its origins. Indian, Iranian, Arab, Russian, Chinese and even Korean influences all contribute to Uzbekistan’s unique cuisine.

DRINK:

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

  • Tea is served virtually everywhere: home, office, cafes, etc. Uzbek people drink black tea in winter and green tea in summer, instead of water. If tea is served in the traditional manner, the server will pour tea into a cup from the teapot and then pour the tea back into the teapot. This action is repeated three times. These repetitions symbolize loy (clay) which seals thirst, moy (grease) which isolates from the cold and the danger and tchai (tea or water) which extinguishes the fire. If you are being served tea in an Uzbek home, the host will attempt at all times to make sure your cup is never filled. If the host fills your cup, it probably means that it is time for you to leave, but this occurs really rarely, because Uzbeks are very hospitable. The left hand is considered impure. The tea and the cups are given and taken by the right hand.

A mind-numbing variety of brands of wine and vodka are available almost everywhere.

  • Wine produced in Uzbekistan has won numerous international prestigious awards for a high quality. Although Uzbekistan is predominately Muslim, for the most part the Islam practiced there tends to be more cultural than religious.
  • Beer is available in every shop and is treated as soft drink and does not require any license to sell. There are special licensed shops selling Vodka, Wine and other Drinks. Russian made vodka is available in only few shops.
  • Kumis is fermented mare’s milk, which is alcoholic.

Hotels:

There are many hotels in the country. In Tashkent there are various types of hotels you can stay, it can cost you US$60 and more depending on how much you’re willing to pay for your pleasure in hotel.

Yurt stays:

  • Nurata Yurt Camp, about 500 km (7 hours drive) from Tashkent, 250 km /3 hours drive) from Samarkand and Bokhara, near Aydakul Lake, US$ 60 per person incl. full board and camel trip. The Yurts can accommodate 8 to 10 people.
  • Ayaz Kala Yurt Camp, about 100 km from Khiva, 70 km from Urgench, 450 km from Bokhara and 150 km from Nukus. phone 2210770, 2210707, 3505909, fax 53243-61. Access from Khiva and Urgench is via a pontoon bridge over the Amu Darya River. The yurts are on a hill about 30 meters high, near the archaeological site of Ayaz Kala. The ancient fortresses of Ayaz Kala are nearby. US$ 60 per person incl. three meals. The yurts can accommodate 20 to 25 persons.
  • Aydar Yurt Camp, in the Navoi region in the center of the Kyzyl Kum desert, 10 km from Lake Aydar Kul. The Aydar Yurt Camp is famous for camel safaris.

Bazaars:

In Uzbekistan people traditionally buy goods at bazaars. Prices are fixed in department stores only. In bazaars, private shops and private souvenir stores haggling is part of the game. Bazaars are the best place to observe the daily life of the locals. The Alayski Bazaar is one of the oldest and most famous bazaars of Central Asia. You will find beautiful rugs, silk, spices, handicrafts and traditional clothes in the Eski Djouva and Chor Su bazaars in the Old City of Tashkent.

Typical souvenirs are:

  • Babaichik, figurines
  • Tubeteika, traditional Uzbek caps
  • Shiljait, Shilajit means “Conqueror of mountains and destroyer of weakness”. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine as an herbal rejuvenator, nerve tonic and natural stimulator
**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Uzbekistan
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Name: Gur-e-Amir
Location: Samarkand, Uzbekistan
The Gūr-i Amīr is a mausoleum of the Asian conqueror Timur in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. It occupies an important place in the history of Persian-Mongolian Architecture as the precursor and model for later great Mughal architecture tombs, including Gardens of Babur in Kabul, Humayun's Tomb in Delhi and the Taj Mahal in Agra, built by Timur's Persianised descendants, the ruling Mughal dynasty of Indian Subcontinent. It has been heavily restored.

Gur-e Amir is Persian for "Tomb of the King". This architectural complex with its azure dome contains the tombs of Tamerlane, his sons Shah Rukh and Miran Shah and grandsons Ulugh Beg and Muhammad Sultan. Also honoured with a place in the tomb is Timur's teacher Sayyid Baraka. The earliest part of the complex was built at the end of the 14th century by the orders of Muhammad Sultan. Now only the foundations of the madrasah and khanaka, the entrance portal and a part of one of four minarets remains. The construction of the mausoleum itself began in 1403 after the sudden death of Muhammad Sultan, Tamerlane's heir apparent and his beloved grandson, for whom it was intended. Timur had built himself a smaller tomb in Shahrisabz near his Ak-Saray palace.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gur-e-Amir
Name: Shah-i-Zinda
Location: Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Shah-i-Zinda is a necropolis in the north-eastern part of Samarkand, Uzbekistan. The Shah-i-Zinda Ensemble includes mausoleums and other ritual buildings of 9-14th and 19th centuries. The name Shah-i-Zinda (meaning "The living king") is connected with the legend that Kusam ibn Abbas, a cousin of the prophet Muhammad, is buried here. He came to Samarkand with the Arab invasion in the 7th century to preach Islam. Popular legends speak that he was beheaded for his faith, but he didn't die, took his head and went into the deep well (Garden of Paradise), where he's still living now.

The Shah-i-Zinda complex was formed over eight (from 11th till 19th) centuries and now includes more than twenty buildings. The ensemble comprises three groups of structures: lower, middle and upper connected by four-arched domed passages locally called chartak. The earliest buildings date back to the 11-12th centuries. Mainly their bases and headstones have remained now. The most part dates back to the 14-15th centuries. Reconstructions of the 16-19th centuries were of no significance and did not change the general composition and appearance. The initial main body - Kusam-ibn-Abbas complex - is situated in the northeastern part of the ensemble. It consists of several buildings.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shah-i-Zinda
Name: Ark of Bukhara
Location: Bukhara, Uzbekistan
The Ark of Bukhara is a massive fortress located in the city of Bukhara, Uzbekistan that was initially built and occupied around the 5th century AD. In addition to being a military structure, the Ark encompassed what was essentially a town that, during much of the fortress' history, was inhabited by the various royal courts that held sway over the region surrounding Bukhara. The Ark was used as a fortress until it fell to Russia in 1920. Currently, the Ark is a tourist attraction and houses museums covering its history.

The first known reference to the Ark is contained in the "History of Bukhara" by Narshakhi (899 - 960). Abubakra wrote "Bindu, the ruler of Bukhara, built this fortress, but it soon was destroyed. Many times it was constructed, many times destroyed." Abubakra says that when the last ruler to rebuild asked counsel of his wise men, they advised him to construct the fortress around seven points, located in the same relation to each other as the stars of the constellation Ursa Major.

When the soldiers of Genghis Khan took Bukhara, the inhabitants of the city found refuge in the Ark, but the conquerors smashed the defenders and ransacked the fortress.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ark_of_Bukhara
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