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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Uzbekistan

 

Most often, this is the first question people think of after they’ve decided to visit Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and/or Turkmenistan. Each country, or taken collectively as a region, presents the traveler with a cornucopia of choices and decisions to make before they go. Once those decisions are made, then we come to the best time to travel.

At Five Stans Adventure, we take this question very seriously because the comforts of our clients are our top priority when they visit Central Asia. The geography of the region is highly diverse, possessing high mountain peaks and hot deserts. Equally, the temperatures – which are the most important gauge to a comfortable tour – can be torturously hot to ice age cold. Additionally, much will depend on what type of tour you are planning to do.

For most travelers, the best time to travel in Central Asia is in the spring (March – May) or fall (September – November) months. The chart below will help to explain things a little better:

Month

Avg. High

Avg. Low

Mean

Avg. Precip.

January

42°F/6°C

26°F/-3°C

33°F/1°C

2.20 in/55.9 mm

February

46°F/8°C

29°F/-2°C

36°F/2°C

1.90 in/48.3 mm

March

57°F/14°C

39°F/4°C

48°F/9°C

2.80 in/71.1 mm

April

71°F/22°C

49°F/9°C

60°F/16°C

2.50 in/63.5 mm

May

81°F/27°C

56°F/13°C

69°F/21°C

1.30 in/33.0 mm

June

91°F/33°C

63°F/17°C

78°F/26°C

0.30 in/7.6 mm

July

96°F/36°C

66°F/19°C

82°F/28°C

0.20 in/5.1 mm

August

93°F/34°C

63°F/17°C

78°F/26°C

0.10 in/2.5 mm

September

83°F/28°C

54°F/12°C

68°F/20°C

0.20 in/5.1 mm

October

69°F/21°C

45°F/7°C

56°F/13°C

1.30 in/33.0 mm

November

57°F/14°C

38°F/3°C

46°F/8°C

1.80 in/45.7 mm

December

47°F/8°C

31°F/-1°C

38°F/3°C

2.10 in/53.3 mm



A quick scan of the data confirms what I pointed out earlier as far as the best months to travel. Of course, it’s always helpful to know when the major holidays take place which could effect your plans, particularly Ramadan, which varies from year to year. In 2017, the tentative dates are May 27 – June 24, so this year it happens right at the tail end of the travel season.

Follow Five Stans Adventure on Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin for the latest news in tourism in Central Asia!

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Well, this isn’t the type of news we wanted to see as we greet the new year!

As was proclaimed in our blog of December 14, 2016 (http://www.fivestansadventure.com/blogs/entry/travel-to-uzbekistan-made-easier) it was announced by the Uzbek government that they were going to ease its Uzbekistan visa policy for tourists. People from throughout the world quickly began to make plans to get their Uzbekistan visa to experience all of the wonders this country possesses. Alas, a new announcement was made on January 9, 2017 that rescinded this decree and postponed its implementation to 2021. Apparently they made this decision after taking a closer look at their tourism infrastructure and its capacity to handle the expected influx of tourists. For years, travelers have complained about the onerous procedures to obtain a visa, and for one month it appeared that the doors to enter Uzbekistan would be wider. Unfortunately, this new decree will return things to the way they were before. This doesn’t mean that you are not permitted to visit this country, but you will still need to get your Uzbekistan visa the old way until their infrastructure is updated and improved.

Five Stans Adventure still has the capacity to meet your needs to get an Uzbekistan visa. We can supply you with a letter of invitation that needs to be submitted along with your application. For more information, you can refer to our earlier blog about getting a visa here (http://www.fivestansadventure.com/blogs/entry/getting-an-uzbekistan-visa).

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Great news for tourists this week as Uzbekistan announced new Uzbekistan visa rules! This gesture represents a significant change over previous procedures that left many travelers frustrated in the past. The recently elected president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, issued his decree entitled “Measures to Ensure the Accelerated Development on Tourism in Uzbekistan earlier this week and has taken the tourism industry by storm.

According to the decree, which will go into effect on April 1, 2017, the following rules will apply:

Citizens of these countries will not need an Uzbekistan visa to travel within the country:

   a. Australia

   b. Austria

   c. United Kingdom

   d. Germany

   e. Denmark

   f. Spain

   g. Italy

   h. Canada

   i. Luxembourg

   j. Netherlands

   k. South Korea

   l. Singapore

  m. Finland

   n. Switzerland

   o. Japan

 

2. Citizens of the following countries who are over the age of 55 qualify for Uzbekistan visa-free travel:


   a. Belgium

   b. Indonesia

   c. China

   d. Malaysia

   e. United States

   f. Vietnam

   g. Israel

   h. Poland

   j. Hungary

   k. Portugal

   l. Czech Republic

 

In both scenarios tourists – upon entry into the country – will need to pay a $50 fee. Additionally, tourists are allowed to spend a maximum of 30 days in-country. Any stay beyond this period will require an Uzbekistan visa.

With these new rules you can be assured that the number of travelers coming to visit this magical and ancient land will increase beyond belief. Be sure to contact our staff to arrange your itinerary before we are overwhelmed!

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Caravanserai: A roadside inn where travelers could rest and recover from the day’s journey.

By the looks of this definition you might think we were describing a motel! In a few ways there are some similarities, but for the most part the differences were significant. The role that the caravanserais played was a crucial necessity to the survival of the Great Silk Road and its travelers. While it wasn’t unusual for travelers to sleep on the side of the road, it certainly wasn’t a comfortable place being exposed to the elements and potential attacks from thieves. We’re fairly certain that many of them would have preferred to travel from one caravanserai to the next and avoid sleeping outside. To bridge this necessity enterprising entrepreneurs from countries throughout the vast Great Silk Road network built them, and a few have survived to this day.

For the most part the caravanserai had a simple, but practical, architectural design. They were square or rectangular in shape with a single entrance that was large enough to allow camels to enter. The central area, or courtyard, was an uncovered and open space that allowed travelers to maneuver their livestock and merchandise. Inside the walls of the caravanserai were stalls to accommodate the traveler and his goods. While they lacked an ice machine the caravanserai provided water for drinking, bathing, and cleaning, the most precious commodity on the Great Silk Road. Additionally, supplies were made available for purchase, like fodder for the animals or other useful tools that a caravan could use.

While there are a large number of caravanserais in the world, one of the most famous is in Navoi, Uzbekistan. The Rabati Malik was built between 1068 – 1080 A.D. and originally occupied 8,277 sq. m. Inspired by Iranian architectural design, the portal is arch-shaped and complete with Arabic inscriptions. Unfortunately, an earthquake in 1968 demolished what had remained of this beautiful caravanserai. However, many photographs were found which will allow future restoration projects to remain true to its original design.

On January 18, 2008 the Rabati Malik was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List (Tentative).

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Another great traveler of many years ago was Marco Polo (1254-1324). Many of heard of the man and his amazing trip from Genoa to China from 1271 to 1295, but many have asked if it is believable. For starters he never kept a journal throughout his trip, but instead recited it to a friend in prison upon his return. Is it possible he remembered everything correctly? I’ll leave that for you to decide.

However, it’s safe to say that he spent three years in Bukhara. Traveling with his brother and uncle, they arrived in this ancient city around 1260, but this wasn’t the first time Bukhara was visited by the travelers. A few years earlier, Polo’s uncle and father had been there to establish trade and were amazed with its wealth and architecture. Upon their return to Bukhara with their precocious progeny, they spent their time selling their goods and learn the Mongol language. Most scholars believe they were forced to remain in the city due to a civil war in the Caucuses. At the time, Bukhara was reemerging as an essential caravanserai on the Great Silk Road. According to Polo’s account, the walls of the mosques were beautifully decorated with colorful mosaics, and it was one of the busiest trading centers of silk, porcelain, ivory, spices, metal ware, and everything else that was made with the greatest artistry and precision. Since the war continued to linger, the group decided to extend their travels to China as a guest of the Kublai Khan. But before they left Bukhara they visited Samarkand. He described it as a “noble and great city where there are many gardens with fruits in abundance.” Also, he referred that Christians and Muslims were tolerant of their religious differences. This can be attributed to the government that the Mongols had emplaced.

It’s unfortunate that Polo didn’t keep a daily journal of his travels, but instead we are forced to trust his memory of the preceding 25 years. Nevertheless, he was able to re-open the door to the east after the collapse of the Great Silk Road. However, the resurgence of this important economic trade route was temporary once maritime technology reduced the necessity of traveling to China via an overland route.

But that’s another story.

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In more ways than can be counted, Tashkent offers the traveler many things to see and do. Most of the sites are easily accessible by the metro, but if you prefer to hire a taxi this is acceptable, too. Choosing which sites to see are at your discretion, but place I’d like to recommend while you’re on your Uzbekistan tours Independence Square (Mustaqillik Maydoni) in Tashkent.

Occupying a space of 12 hectares in the city center, this location was once the center of government of the Kokand Khanate. When the Russians conquered Tashkent in 1865, the khanate was dissolved and the buildings were razed. In its place the Russians built a residence for the governor-general to live. Accompanied with a large garden and parade ground for inspecting troops, this location was named the “white house.” When the Soviets came to power they restructured the square and adorned it with a statue of Lenin. Through the years fountains and trees were added to give it more of a park-like appearance. In 1991 Uzbekistan declared its independence from the Soviet Union and by 1992 the Lenin statue was torn down and replaced with the statue you see today – the Independence Monument. It is in the form of a globe with Uzbekistan prominently displayed on it.

Today Independence Square remains the center of the nation. All major events and holidays take place here, including New Year’s Day, Navruz, and Independence Day (of course!). A few years ago an Indian video crew was seen filming a scene for their movie, so there’s really no limit to the uses of the Square.

While you are conducting your Uzbekistan tours, be sure to visit the numerous statues and monuments that recognize the heroes and heroines of this great land. Nearby is the Uzbek Senate Building, Arch Ezgulik, Memory Lane, and the Cabinet of Ministers. Set aside some time to casually stroll along the Ankhor River and enjoy a cola or a cold beer, too!

An Uzbekistan tours must include a stop in Tashkent. It’s a dynamic, energetic city that has something to offer for everyone!

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Recently my partner in Tashkent, Rakhmadjon, alerted me to watch a video that was televised on one of Russia’s top television stations. There are many videos on the internet about Uzbekistan, but very few of them are able to capture simultaneously the country’s deep history, fascinating culture, and modern, vibrant life. I believe that the more videos that are produced about this country to encourage people to go on an Uzbekistan tours, I’m all for it. Equally important, if Rakhmadjon wants me to watch a video, I will watch it.

And watch it I did. Entitled, “Pearl of the Desert” the video captured my attention right from the beginning. What sets this one apart is the high-quality cinematography and timely narration. I have to take my hat off to the Russians for producing an outstanding video!

Unfortunately, the video is in Russian without English language subtitles. However, this shouldn’t stop you from watching it. The breathtaking photography and video shots alone make this a great video. If anything will inspire you to go on an Uzbekistan tours, this video will do it!

Here’s the link to the documentary – and happy viewing to you!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gb4aGIYmrM

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It was just one of the “right time at the right place” moments for me. I was working in Tashkent and rode the Metro just about every day to get around. On this particular day I was sitting in the front wagon when the driver opened the door, stuck his head out, and motioned for me to come and sit with him while the train was riding the rails. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity and had the ride of my life as we buzzed around underneath the streets of Tashkent. What prompted this invitation I’ll never know, but I can say that this is just another example of the unaccounted friendliness of the Uzbek people.

For anyone who’s spent time in Tashkent it becomes quickly apparent that the key to survival comes from learning about – and using – the Metro. From a practical standpoint the system is highly reliable and the cars are clean; also, it provides a brief respite from the summer heat. But from the tourist’s view, it’s the stations that set it apart from every urban metro system in the world. The Metro is the pride and joy of Tashkent and you should make every effort to ride on it at every opportunity. If your Uzbekistan tours itinerary includes a stop in Tashkent – which it most likely does – pay a visit to the Metro!

Planning for the Metro began soon after the earthquake of 1966, and construction started in 1968. However, it wasn’t until 1977 when the first line (red) was opened. A second line (blue) was opened in 1984, and a third (green) opened in 2001. A fourth line (yellow) is currently being constructed and will be completed in the near future. Today, there are 29 stations dotted throughout the city along 36.2 kilometers (22.5 miles) of track.

Let me start by saying I’ve ridden on many Metros throughout the world and all of them had their own special charm, but when it comes to efficiency and beauty nothing compares to the Tashkent Metro. It is simply the best I’ve ever encountered. The stations all represent the theme that their named for. Unlike the boring “cookie-cutter” style that most metro stations in the world have adopted, Tashkent dedicated a lot of time and thought to make each Metro station have its own style. The beauty of the artwork certainly makes waiting for the train to arrive a much more enjoyable experience. You may be tempted to miss your train just to observe the artwork a little longer!

Sadly, photography and video are forbidden at the Metro because it’s considered a military installation. However, there are books about the Metro loaded with pictures available at bookstores around the city.

For many tourists, Tashkent is their point of entry and the first city of their Uzbekistan tours visit. If you have a few hours after you get settled at the hotel, be sure to visit the nearest Metro station and ride the rails. You will always remember this great experience!

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