Tourism in Uzbekistan

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Uzbekistan is a country with great potential for an expanded tourism industry. Many of its Central Asian cities were main points of trade on the Silk Road, linking Eastern and Western civilizations. Today the museums of Uzbekistan store over two million artifacts, evidence of the unique historical, cultural and spiritual life of the Central Asian peoples that have lived in the region. Uzbekistan attracts tourists with its historical, archeological, architectural and natural treasures.

According to the Statistical Internet Survey, carried out in May 7-August 27, 2008 by Pagetour jointly with Walter Kafer Fremdenverkehrdienstleistungen, the largest proportion of those surveyed (39%) visit the country because of their interest in the architectural and historical sites of Uzbekistan. The next-largest group (24%) visit Uzbekistan to observe its culture, way of life and customs.[1]

Tourist activities in Uzbekistan range from outdoor activities, such as rock-climbing, to exploration of its rich archeological and religious history.

In 2005, 240,000 tourists from 117 countries visited Uzbekistan. The industry earned US$30 million (90.9% of forecast). Overall, the tourism sector served 621,700 people and rendered services for 40.6 billion soums (73.1% of forecast). The industry earned 598.4 million soums. Each autumn, the Uzbek travel industry holds an International Tourism Fair. Unfortunately the country still has a legacy of complicated, Soviet-style visa requirements, which puts it at a disadvantage in a competitive market for international tourists. The main airport at Tashkent is often cited as one of the worst in the world from the point of view of passengers, who experience hectic conditions, long delays, and bureaucratic frustrations.

Uzbekistan is located on the Great Silk Road and many neighboring countries (including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan) promote their countries based on their location along the Great Silk Road.

The World Tourism Organization's Silk Road Office was opened in 2004 in Samarkand. This office was commissioned to coordinate the efforts of international organisations and national tourism offices of countries located on the Silk Road. Uzbekistan is also member of The Region Initiative (TRI). TRI is a Tri-regional Umbrella of Tourism related organisations. TRI is functioning as a link between three regions----South Asia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe which is also by Armenia, Bangladesh, India, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Tajikistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Ukraine

Climate and natural advantages[edit]

The climate and the natural conditions of Uzbekistan are among the most favorable in Central Asia. For example, the former capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty, which is 502 mi northeast of Tashkent, the average annual temperature is 5-8 degrees[vague] lower. At the same time, 804 mi southwest of Tashkent in Ashgabat, the average annual temperature is 8-10 degrees[vague] higher. The relatively temperate climate, plus the presence of irrigated water, enrich the land of Uzbekistan and increase its agricultural yields. The melons, grapes, apples, quinces, and pears of Uzbekistan are well known for their quality.

The combination of snow and mostly warm, sunny weather makes the Chimgan and Beldersay ski slopes near Tashkent extremely popular.

Mountaineering, hiking and rock-climbing[edit]

Uzbekistan Mountains are an attractive place for those who love active forms of tourism such as mountaineering and rock climbing. Most well known for its ease of access from Tashkent is a highlands Chimgan located in the mountain massive of dominant Greater Chimgan peak (3,309 m) of the Chatkal range at an altitude of 1,620 m. This place serves as a commencement for many routes of hiking, climbing, horse riding, mountain skiing and hang-gliding.

Architectural and historical sights[edit]

Samarkand with its Registan, Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Gur-Emir and Shah-i-Zinda, Bukhara with its Po-i-Kalyan Complex, Ark citadel, Samanid Mausoleum and Lyabi Khauz Ensemble, and of course Khiva with its intact inner city Ichan Kala, mosques, madrasahs, minarets, walls and gates are acknowledged sites of world tourism.

The general conference of UNESCO accepted the decision of inclusion in the list of anniversaries the celebrating of 2750-th anniversary of Samarkand. Samarkand is one of pearls of East. Here are many unique monuments of culture and architecture, which are evidence of high mastery of the ancient architects. The restoration works are carrying out at the memorial complex Shah-i-Zinda. Basic principle of rebuilding of the centre of Samarkand is a preservation of monuments in their integrity. The complex of historical centre of the town is included in the list of a world heritage of UNESCO under the name "Samarkand is an intersection of world culture."

Though Tashkent is often overlooked in the search for the Silk Road oasis towns of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, for the traveler there is much besides this to be seen. Today one can visit such striking sights as Mausoleum of Sheikh Zaynudin Bobo and the Sheihantaur or Mausoleum of Zangiata.

Tourism in Khorezm Province and Karakalpakstan[edit]

Ancient Khiva is one of three most important tourism centers of Uzbekistan with great historical cultural and ethnographic potential. The territory of the Khorezm Province and Karakalpakstan is strewn with plenty of natural, historic, architectural and archeological sites. The Khorezm Province itself possesses near to 300 historic monuments.

In the last few years, the tourism potential at the region was improved with some new facilities and attractions. One of them is the Savitsky Museum in the town of Nukus, which houses a collection of unique works of avant-gardism. The museum also has amazing regional collection. A number of ecological tours[2] are organized to the ship cemetery located in Muynak area along what has once been the coastline of the Aral Sea.

In 2005 Khorezm was visited by 43,000 tourists, of which foreigners accounted for 19,700. The majority of them came from countries such as France, Germany, Israel, Great Britain, Australia and Japan. The visitors of Khiva were mostly at the age of 50-70 (46%); about 21% of tourists were of the age 30-40. 32% of the visitors of Khorezm was independent travelers, that received visa support from local travel agencies.

After the modernization of the airport in Urgench it received international status. Now it corresponds to the first category of ICAO.

Wildlife areas in the desert and other attractions on nomadic ways[edit]

Desert fauna of Kyzyl Kum includes many kinds of rare animals. There is a Kyzyl Kum nature reserve at the flood-land (tugai) drained by the Amu-Darya. Another reserve (eco-centre)"Djeyran" is located 40 km to the south of Bukhara.

The region of the Aydar Lake is an area of great potential for fishing, yurting and camel-back riding tourist activities.

In addition to fauna common for Kyzyl Kum, there are many kinds of water birds migrating from Aral Sea that make their homes around the lake. Many sorts of fish were introduced to the Aydar Lake, which nowadays works as a source of industrial fishing.

Another point of interest the Sarmish Gorge (Better known as Sarmishsay) is located on the southern slopes of the Karatau mountain range, 30–40 km to the north-east of the city of Navoi (Kermine) in Uzbekistan. This place is famous for various ancient monuments of anthropogenic activity concentrated in an area of about 20 km². The sights include flint quarries, mines, old settlements, burial mounds, crypts and petroglyphs, including monuments of the Middle Ages, early Iron Age, Bronze Age and even Stone Age. There are over 4,000 petroglyphs still intact in Sarmishsay. Since ancient times this territory has been a sacred zone, where locals performed their sacred ceremonies on holy days.

Religious tourism[edit]

A large number of tourists have been visiting Uzbekistan because of their religious-based interest. The followers of Sufism know that dozens of historical sights of Islam such as Mausoleum of Sheikh Zaynudin Bobo, Sheihantaur and Mausoleum of Zangiata in Tashkent or Bakhauddin Ensemble, Bayan-Quli Khan Mausoleum, Saif ed-Din Bokharzi Mausoleum and many others monuments in Bukhara are related to Sufism. Uzbekistan is a country with predominantly Islamic roots.

There are more than 160 Muslim relics located in Uzbekistan.

Dental Tourism[edit]

Lately many modern dental clinics were established in Uzbekistan. They provide patients with high quality dentistry services. But for all that, prices here much cheaper in comparison with Western and Russian clinics.

Uzbekistan dental clinics use high quality dentistry equipment (such as panoramic pantomograph, which allows taking the shot of all 32 teeth, making a digital x-ray, which can be immediately shown on the computer monitor), high quality materials and effective anesthetics.

The clinics provide prophylaxis, treatment, cleaning, polishing of teeth, irrigation and massage of gums, treatment of tooth canal under the control of digital x-ray apparatus. As a result of restoration, practically any defect can be removed: the color and form are identical to original healthy tooth. The prosthesis of teeth is done using primarily metal-ceramic and effective clasp dental prostheses that use special joints.

List of dental tourism companies in Uzbekistan: www.dentaltourism.uz

Accessibility of the country[edit]

Most travel involves entering and leaving Uzbekistan through Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan. The city is serviced by an international airport, a domestic airport, two Vokzals (railway stations), and numerous bus stations. Experienced travelers try to avoid Tashkent International airport. Tashkent is serviced by Uzbekistan Airways, Korean Air, airBaltic, Asiana Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Transaero, Aeroflot, [Czech airlines], [Iran air], [air Astana], [S7 airlines] seven more airports of Uzbekistan have international status. Those airports are of Samarkand, Bukhara Urgench Namangan airport, Namangan, Anzizhan airport [Andizhan], Fergana Airport [Fergana] and Nukus Airport [Nukus] Besides local flights and some regular international flights, almost exclusively to Russia along with occasional tourist charters to Samarkand, Bukhara, Nukus and Urgench. The tickets for domestic flights can be reserved or purchased outside of the country at Uzbekistan Airways offices or agencies or via a number of online websites. Uzbekistan Airways transported more than 1.7 million passengers in 2005

Currently, Uzbekistan Airways works on updating its aircraft fleet, changing old dated Soviet-made aircraft.

Uzbekistan Airways has 13 western-made aircraft, including seven Boeing aircraft, three A-310 and three RJ-85.

At the end of 2005, the Tashkent airport had put in operation a new arrival hall for local airlines, with the new addition meeting modern requirements. Its technical equipment allows to serve up to 600 passenger per day. The new automatized registration system supposedly offers improved quality and comfort to travelers.

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