hat does this Central Asian enigma have up its sleeve for travellers? A surprising amount. Here’s everything you need to know…
It’s a snippet of the Silk Road’s best bits…
If you’re intrigued by the ancient Silk Road but don’t have the time to travel its length from China to Turkey, you’ll find three of the route’s most important cities in Uzbekistan. Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand were key stop-offs for traders, and have all been painstakingly restored to their former glory – think glittering minarets, voluptuous domes and hypnotic mosaics. With a little planning you can squeeze them all into a week (handily, Uzbekistan Airways’ Heathrow-Tashkent service departs on Friday evenings and returns a week later), making this the perfect bite of Silk Road splendour.
…with some Soviet-era muscle
Tashkent – Uzbekistan’s capital – was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1966, while the country was under Soviet rule. 300,000 people were left homeless, but with matchless Soviet muscle the entire city was rebuilt and restored – indeed, it is said that construction work started the day after the quake.
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