Tourism in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan has rich history that dates back to the depth of Millennia. As archeologists witness, it is one of the most ancient places inhabited by humans whose age exceeded 1 million years. Just during the last half a century the scientists have detected several settlements of people of Stone Age. The most ancient Kulbulak and Obi Rakhmon settlements as well as Teshiktash and Amankutan are particularly famous among them.
Productive lands, goods water sources, abundance of heat contributed to development of farming. Large areas of deserts and steppes being situated next to farming district served as the pastures for cattle. With their evolution the inhabitants of these regions established various relations with neighbors. Based on the trinity of geographical, economic and social factors formation of ancient states of Sogdiana, Bactria, Khorezm and other took place in the Central Asian between of two rivers.
Located in the core of Great Silk Road, at the crossroad of people migration and commercial routes, Uzbekistan was a cradle of original cultures born in result of contacts between the settled and nomadic people. All main world religions and cults developed here like nowhere else: Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Uzbekistan, where there are many ancient and beautiful architectural monuments of history and culture, attracts tourists from all over the world. There are more than 4000 architectural monuments on the territory of Uzbekistan. The whole world knows historical cities of Uzbekistan such as Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Shakhrisabz, Termez as the pearls of the Great Silk Road.
Once Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991, the urgent need has appeared to establish and further extend the world class tourism in the country, which at the same time incorporates features of national history, way of life, traditions and customs, as well as the all-time feature of Uzbek hospitality.
The main body in charge of tourism issues is “Uzbektourism” National Company which was founded upon the resolution of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on July 27, 1992. It is the biggest tourism company in the country, which administers more than 96 enterprises and organizations. Besides “Uzbektourism” there are more than 450 tourist firms in the country.
On the 10th session of World Tourism Organization General Assembly which took place in Bali, Indonesia in 1993, the National Company “Uzbektourism” joined this organization. The WTO’s office on development of tourism on the Silk Road was opened in Samarkand in 2004. From 1995 the “Great Silk road” program initiated by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan is implementing. Within the framework of this program numerous measures have been implemented in the main tourist destinations of Uzbekistan – Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva and Tashkent. Considerable concessions were granted to foreign investors interested in establishing joint ventures in these cities.
The law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On tourism” was adopted in 1999. The Decrees of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On state program for the development of tourism till 2005” and “On the training of qualified personnel for the sphere of tourism” were signed. Uzbekistan, where monuments of ancient cultures of different ages are concentrated, is rightly called a treasury of history. Ichan-Kala complex in Khiva, historical centers of Bukhara, Shakhrizabs and Samarkand are included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Many unique monuments and architectural constructions in these towns have remained in a good state up to the present day and are of a great significance to the mankind. In the years of independence the number of modern hotels have been constructed and modernized in these cities, among them - Intercontinental Hotel, Sheraton, Radisson SAS, Le Meridian, Afrosiyob, Bukhoro Palace, Shodlik Palace, President Hotel. Furthermore, more than 170 private hotels were built. Most of foreign tourists are traveling to Uzbekistan with National Air Company “Uzbekistan Airways”.
“Uzbekistan Airways” was founded on 28 January 1992 by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Today “Uzbeistan Airways” is the second largest air company in the countries of CIS after Russian “Aeroflot”. “Uzbekistan Airways” upon entering the world market of international aviation aimed at increasing its international destinations, establishing its regular flights to more than 20 international destinations. The capital of Uzbekistan – Tashkent, along with some regional cities of Uzbekistan, has direct links practically with many major European cities, USA, Japan, South-East Asian countries. All international routes use western produced liners including Boeing-767/757, A-310 and RJ-85. Annually Uzbekistan welcomes about 150.000 foreign tourists, coming from all over the world.
Great Silk Road
Great Silk Road — an original phenomenon of the history of developing of humanity, its aspiration for union and exchanging cultural wealth, conquest of the living spaces and markets for goods. In the East they say: “sitting man is a mat and walking man is a river”. Motion is a life, and traveling, learning of world always was a driving force of progress.
This, the biggest transcontinental trade road in history of humanity had been binding Europe and Asia and in the old time was stretching from antic Rome to ancient capital of Japan Nara. Of course, trade between East and West was from time immemorial, but it was a separate piece of future Great road. For beginning of trade relations in many respects assisted working of in mountains semiprecious stones — lapis lazuli, nephritis, cornelian, turquoise valued in the east. There was “lapis lazuli” road by which they delivered this stone from Central Asia to Iran and Mesopotamia and even to Egypt. At the same time with it appeared nephritis road, which had connected regions Khotana and Yarkent with Northern region of China. Moreover, to the countries of Minor Asia from Sogdiana and Baktria had been exported cornelian and from Khorezm turquoise. All this routs in the end jointed with Silk Road.
Real start of great road, bounded caravan’s way, laid from Central Asia to the west and the South, and routs coming from China to East Turkistan, belong to the second century B.C., when for Chinese people for the first time was opened West Side - countries of Central Asia.
We should say that this road was not only one arterial road; it included different itineraries, which formed several branches, like a crown of big three. One of the main roads, crossing Asia from east to west, started at ancient capital of China Chanane and continued until its northwest boundary along desert Gobi, through Tien Shan, part of caravans went to Fergana valley and Tashkent Oasis to Samarkand — capital of Sogdiana, Bukhara, Khorezm, further to the shores of the Caspian Sea. Part of the caravans from Samarqand headed to Baktria and through Kashkadarya valley got out to Termez, from where crossing the Amudarya river, headed to the South to Baktria and India.
Another branch of way from Tarim rounded Takla-Makan desert from South and trough Khotan and Yarkent leaded to Baktria (North Afganistan) and Merv, from where through Persia, Syria reached the Mediterranean, and part of goods by sea got the Rome and Greece.
Downright from name, main subject of trade on caravan ways was silk, very valuable in all sublunary worlds. For example, in the early middle ages silk was most popular calculation unit, forcing out even gold. In Sogdiana price of horse was equated to the price of ten length of silk. With silk paid for finished works, for maintenance of mercenaries, with silk could be paid off for crime.
For the first time to caravan’s road the Silk Road name was given by Venetian merchant Marko Polo, who was the first European that reached the boundary of Chinese empire. And to the scientific turn term “Great Silk Road” in 1877 entered German researcher Ferdinand Rihtgofen in his fundamental work “China”.
Although silk was a main, but not unique goods that was transported on transcontinental road. From Central Asia were exported horses, camels, very estimated in China, military equipments, gold and silver, semiprecious stones and glass wares, leather and worst, carpets and cotton fabrics, gold-embriodery clothes, exotic fruits — watermelons, melons and apricots, fat tail sheep and gun dogs, leopards, lions. From China caravans brought chinaware and iron dishes, furnished wares and cosmetics, tea and rice. In a traveling bag of merchants you could find elephant’s tusk, rhinoceros’s horn, tortoise’s shell, spicery and many other things.
On Great Silk Road moved not only trade caravans but also disseminated cultural achievements of nations, cultural wealth and religious ideas. Buddhism was in a row other religion of Kushan kingdom and from here extended to China. In the first centuries from Asia Minor penetrated Christianity. Unbleached warriors of Arab Caliphate in VII century brought Islam doctrine. Hordes of Timuchin rolled past from way laid by merchants and preachers, from Mongol deserts to European plains. From the heart of the Silk Road — Samarqand started his campaigns great commander of medieval Eeast Temur.
At last, during hundred years, scientists and researchers had traveled from caravan road. From traveling notes and scientific works of Chinese monk Soan Czan and Venetian merchant Marko Polo, Arab traveler — merchant Ahmed bin Fadlana and Bavarian warrior Shiltberger, Hungarian researcher Armini Vamberi and Sweden geographer Svena Hedina, Russian scientist Aleksey Fedchenko and French journalist Ella Mayer, American geologist Rafael Pampelli and French traveler Joseph Martin, we know about history of nation, lived in countries, laid along the Great Silk Road, about their traditions and manners.
As live memory of nations, laid this unique road connected East and West, can serve ancient Uzbek cities like Samarqand, Bukhara, Khiva, Shaxrizabs, Termez, Tashkent with their architectural monuments, that personifies centuries — old history of Great Silk Road.