To get out of the XXI century in the era of «Thousand and One Nights» and at the same time have a good rest – go the place where it is warm, sunny and tasty.
Women in bright dresses sweep streets, men in skullcaps drink tea, sitting in Turkish on a couch in a teahouse, bread smells in tandoor (clay oven), tiles of mosques glitter in the sun. Such a pleasant, interesting and ambiguous Uzbekistan vacation awaits you. Unlike other rich former Soviet republics, Uzbekistan, having left the socialist past, does not rush into a cosmopolitan future. Buildings are not built by starry foreign architects; there are no many network restaurants and shops. This, probably, lack of success Uzbeks could turn into dignity.
Over the past few years, Uzbekistan has evolved from a large museum into a place where old times can not only be seen, but also felt: to stew in a medieval bathhouse, to buy ceramics and fabrics in a bazaar built during the Great Silk Road. No wonder more and more hotels are opened in the restored old houses, restaurateurs prefer local products, and designers in their collections use traditional fabrics ikat and adras.
In Uzbekistan there is a completely not touristic Ferghana Valley with a luxurious Khan palace in Kokand, cheap silk in Margilan, green and blue ceramics in Rishtan, and ski resorts in the mountains. But if the time is only a week, then it is best to concentrate on ancient cities. Fly to Tashkent and drive through Samarkand and Bukhara towards Khiva.
The capital, as it should be by its status, is the most cosmopolitan. There is a metro, wide avenues, coffee with croissants, several European clothing stores and large hotels.
In Tashkent there is also an unadapted exotism. It is better to get acquainted with crafts in the Museum of Applied Arts, there are also expensive, but high-quality embroidered bedspreads suzane, which can be bought. For authentic food, generously flavored with fat, go to the Chorsu bazaar or to the “center of pilaf”.
A couple of hours on a high-speed train — and you are in Samarkand. It cannot be missed. In the former capital of the Tamerlan Empire there are the main sights of Uzbekistan: the Gur-Emir mausoleum with the grave of the great conqueror, the necropolis of Shakhi-Zinda, the Bibi-Khanum mosque and the Registan square. The real eastern atmosphere is preserved in the mahallas — residential quarters. You should certainly walk here, or better to stay in one of the several old houses turned into hotels.
The next city on the route is Bukhara. It was much more fortunate than Tashkent and Samarkand that suffered from the elements of Soviet buildings. The historical center in Bukhara looks about the same as many years ago.
Stay in the house of a Bukharian merchant or the caravansary of the XIX century. Wander through the labyrinths of streets. Enter craft shops, forgetting about time, looking at how women weave silk or embroider.
After a long day, give yourself in the hands of a bathhouse attendant in the hamam of Bozori Kord. At sunset, drink green tea on the roof with a view of the oldest minaret of Bukhara — Kalyan. In the evening, dine near the pond Lyabi Khauz in the restaurant with the same name, or watch the defile of traditional Uzbek clothing in the restaurant «Adras». And before going to bed again drink tea with dried fruits in the courtyard of the hotel.
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