Central Asia is not a typical tourist destination, and therefore, everyone who goes here is enchanted by the local nature, people, history and especially the Silk Road. Cities like Bukhara and Samarkand smell of adventure. If you want to start in Central Asia, Uzbekistan is the right gateway to a charming world.
Samarkand – What To See
Samarkand is the second largest city in Uzbekistan and lies on the legendary Silk Road. It will surprise many with its magnificence and beauty of Central Asian exotics. Registan Square is one of the most beautiful in Central Asia. The square is surrounded by three madrasas, which is an Arabic term for a religious school. Restaurants where you can enjoy local specialties are located in the wider area of the square.
Bukhara – a city on the Silk Road
In general, Samarkand is a very clean and beautiful city with many monuments and parks where you can relax. You can visit the Bibi Chanum Mosque and the ancient necropolis of Shah-i-Zinda, where the rulers of the Timur dynasty are buried. At the Siab market you will find excellent fresh and dried fruits, the best nuts, sweets from the whole region, as well as a rich selection of spices and teas.
Samarkand – Transportation
Transportation between larger cities is absolutely hassle-free. There are almost always several options to choose from.
Bus lines connect mainly large cities such as Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara. It is not so common and popular, but they are very cheap. The most common, cheapest and most popular mode of transport in Uzbekistan are mashrutkas, which mostly travel short distances. Traveling by mashrutka is not the most comfortable, but it is definitely an experience.
A “shared taxi” or shared taxi is the fastest alternative, but a bit more expensive than a marshal. He starts and leaves only when the taxi is full. On the Tashkent – Samarkand route, the fastest and most modern train in Uzbekistan, Afrosiyob, runs. The train runs from Tashkent every single day.
The capital Tashkent even has its own metro.
Samarkand – Food and drinks
Uzbek cuisine is dominated by meat of all kinds. The most typical dish here is shashlik, a meat on a skewer served with Uzbek bread in several ways. Plov represents “risotto”, the basis of food, ie it consists of rice, oil, onion, carrot, meat and spices, sometimes other ingredients such as chickpeas or raisins are added. Popular soups include lagman, vegetable soup with lamb and pasta, and thick sour soup shuva. Manti, meat-filled sachets or chats, salty pancakes, which can be filled with cheese, meat or vegetables, are also typical. Bread is one of the key dishes in Uzbek cuisine. It is fragrant, fresh and incredibly good. Served with soups, shashliks, floats, almost everything.
Since Uzbek cuisine is rich in meat, vegetarians and vegans will not have it easy. However, you can get salad almost everywhere and fortunately there are markets everywhere, where you will always find fresh fruits and vegetables.
Even though it is a Muslim country, the Soviet heritage is not denied even in gourmet food, and you can drink food, beer, cognac or vodka. The national drink is tea, which is drunk here per liter. The favorite is more green than black. The bowls in which it is usually served are called pilas. Uzbek sugar (looks like candy) or jam (apricot, plum and rose flowers) is used for sweetening, but it is most often drunk unsweetened. Drinks such as compotes or fresh fruit juices are also popular. If you love quality coffee, you will find it in cafes, otherwise they will offer you a brewed one.
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