Last updated: 12:00 AM ET, Tue January 01 2013
Ezgulik Arch on Independence Square in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan (photo via Leonid Andronov / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Uzbekistan

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Western gate (Ata Darvoza) to ancient town of Itchan Kala at night with stars. Khiva, Uzbekistan (photo via mihtiander / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Western gate (Ata Darvoza) to ancient town of Itchan Kala at night with stars. Khiva, Uzbekistan (photo via mihtiander / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Located in Asia, and surrounded by the beauty of the Tien Shan Mountains and the red sands of the Kyzyl Kum Desert, Uzbekistan is an adventure waiting to be had; full of history, different cultural discoveries and magnificent natural beauty. Some of the oldest cities in the world can be found here along with rural villages, temples, tombs and several ancient settlements.

If eco-tourism is your thing, you’ll fall in love with what Uzbekistan has to offer. Hike through the national parks system, ski down mountains, go river rafting or take a tour through the desert. No matter what your outdoors delight may be, Uzbekistan is sure to have it. This country is a four season vacation spot and only a flight from a major airline carrier away.

The ancient cities of Khiva, Samarkand and Bukhara are full of stunning architecture definitely worth a look. From elegant arched portals to turquoise domes and beautiful tile work and architectural patters to the different floral patterns and calligraphy these cities shine with picturesque landscapes and stunning beauty. Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan is home to an ancient market, Chorsu, (meaning crossroad), it’s a famous bazaar residing inside seven large domes covered in the country’s traditional ceramic tiles.

Blue domes of the Madressa through open wooden door in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. (photo via Ozbalci / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Blue domes of the Madressa through open wooden door in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. (photo via Ozbalci / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Samarkand is over two thousand years old and in 2001 was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are several historical sites to see in Samarkand such as Registan Square; home to impressive turquoise and carved stone buildings. The center of Khiva’s is said to be a living museum where the buildings reflect all the characteristics of the traditional Khivan style; colors of deep and light blues mixed together with vine and floral patterns. Wooden carved columns and doors can also be found throughout the city.

The master craftsmen of Uzbekistan create impressive pieces of jewelry in sliver, gold and semi-precious stones, embossed sliver, brass and copper. They are also known for their silk embroideries and carpets full of different geometric shapes and beautiful colors. All these items can be found at one of the local markets along with the aroma of pilaf and the sounds of the dombra and tambur.

Vibrant colors, impressive architecture, interesting history and breathtaking natural beauty are waiting for you in the majestic country of Uzbekistan.